SUMMERVILLE -- A Dorchester County voter redistricting plan that would have at least four County Council members represent large numbers of voters who are new to them won preliminary approval Tuesday.
Plan 7 was approved unanimously with no discussion. Council Chairman Larry Hargett said earlier the option had won general support from council members and the residents who contacted them.
Council members generally concede the plan is the fairest way to split up new voters.
It is one of six options to redraw the seven districts whose voters elect specific council members. The redrawing is required to maintain a population balance among the council's seven districts as reflected in the 2010 Census.
The census showed Dorchester County to be the fastest-growing county in the state, due largely to the boom in Summerville and the areas surrounding the town. But the district forcing the changes is the rural District 1, the minority-majority district mandated by the U.S. Justice Department.
All of the options leave council members a little on edge. In the plans, District 1 would nearly encircle the other six districts, dramatically redrawing some other district lines.
The district would stretch from the Brownsville neighborhood in Summerville near the Berkeley County line all the way around to the Clubhouse neighborhood to the south near the Charleston County line.
In plan 7, Councilman George Bailey's District 3 -- now largely around St. George in the upper county -- would include neighborhoods along the boundary line of the lower county.
Hargett's District 4 would lose the Archdale neighborhood in the far lower county and pick up all of Wescott Plantation off Dorchester Road nearer to Summerville. Councilman Jay Byars would lose part of Wescott and pick up Legend Oaks.
The plans already went to public hearing in Summerville. They will go to public hearing in St. George on Oct. 3. A final vote is tentatively set for Oct. 17.
Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744.