Residents Sway ‘Imagine Greenville’ Debate

February 15, 2010

Investigative Reports

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The NerveJan Williams
Citizen Reporter

By making their voices heard, Greenville County residents have been able to influence discussion regarding the Greenville County Comprehensive Plan.

Through a written petition and addressing concerns to the county council, a group of citizens was able to get wording added to the plan that better protects private property rights.

The Greenville County Planning Commission has spent more than $200,000 over the past 18 months and included six citizen committees in a process called “Imagine Greenville.” Their main goal was to gather as much citizen input as possible.

More than 200 people were on hand for the latest reading, held Dec. 1, and a petition was presented to the council. At a prior reading in mid-November, nearly a dozen individuals spoke against the plan at the public hearing largely because it did little to protect private property rights.

It was pointed out then that each of the six citizen committees had members from local environmental groups (e.g. the group UPSTATE FOREVER had a paid employee on each committee).

There were eight speakers who favored the plan, of which five served on a citizen committee that developed the plan and two were from UPSTATE FOREVER.

There were two amendments made by council members to help clarify some references in the plan and can be seen in the minutes on their website.

At the Dec. 1 meeting, the county council unanimously approved changes that strengthened private property rights and it was ensured that the plan cannot be implemented until each item is reviewed, debated and voted on again individually.

Jan Williams is a former Navy supply corps officer and a retired automotive fabrics development engineer from Milliken and Co. who lives in Greenville.