Maybank Hwy Improvements (copy) (copy)

Charleston County is updating its comprehensive plan and is seeking input from residents on growth-related issues. Brad Nettles/Staff/File

Providing more affordable housing and better public transit are priorities in a draft version of the updated Charleston County comprehensive plan.

The document, which is a guide for county decision-making, will be the subject of seven public workshops in the coming weeks.

A draft of the plan posted online notes that the county needs less costly housing to attract and retain business. Housing costs are growing at a much faster pace than the median household income, the plan says.

"Housing affordability is a critical issue in the region," it says. "Many areas of the county were unaffordable to households earning less than $60,000."

The updated plan cites the need for a bus rapid transit system on the corridor between Summerville and Charleston. It notes that few people here use local public transportation to get to and from work.

"Dependency on the automobile has led to sprawling development, traffic congestion and higher taxes to build and maintain roads," the plan states.

It recommends amending zoning and land development regulations to encourage renewable energy generation and green building design, and providing standards for solar collectors and wind generators. The plan favors local food production because it burns less fuel for transportation.

County Zoning & Planning staff and the Planning Commission developed the updated comprehensive plan. The next phase is public comment, which will be incorporated into the plan before it is sent to County Council for consideration.

“Public participation in the comprehensive planning process is critical to ensure county growth is consistent with the community’s vision," said Joel Evans, planning director.

The workshops will have a drop-in format where people can view the proposed plan amendments and submit comments and suggestions. The public may also view the plan and leave comments at the county website. 

Council will hold at least one public hearing on the plan amendments before voting on the changes.

State law requires that the comprehensive plan be reviewed every five years and updated every 10 years. Council adopted the original plan in 1999. 

Reach Prentiss Findlay at 843-937-5711.