LAURENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) — More than 30 property owners in Laurens County have filed two lawsuits against the county and its planning commission regarding the construction of new subdivisions.
The group, Laurens County Residents for Quality Rural Living, is asking that all subdivision developments be stopped until the county can ensure they will be built properly.
“This is a very rural, scenic forested area,” explained Susan Stewart, a property owner. “We are damaging the waterways and damaging wildlife habitats.”
The group is not suing any individual developer. However, they claim that developers are not following county ordinances when building subdivisions.
They also do not believe the rural area of Fountain Inn, where several subdivisions are being built, is equipped to handle the growth.
“Our roads are torn up,” said Stewart. “We do not have sewer in this area yet we’re bringing in these developments that are requiring heavy support for sewer and water.”
Nancy Garrison and her family own Garrison Farm, which is home to horses and cattle and located next to where a subdivision is being built.
“It’s been a big disruption,” said Garrison.
Garrison said noise from the construction is affecting her animals and property.
“As of recent, we’ve had a large amount of runoff and sediment coming onto our property from the adjacent construction,” said Garrison.
Garrison and other landowners also said they were not told these subdivisions were being built.
The group is requesting that the county government “comply with the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act and cease holding closed meetings without specifying the specific purpose for which the secret meeting is being held.”
“We’re getting calls and reactions from people in the community that say they don’t know that a development is coming in until they already see tractors and bulldozers on the property,” said Stewart.
The group said they understand that growth and development is inevitable. They want the county to keep them informed and ensure that their community will not be damaged by new construction.
“We have not had a lot of transparency when it comes to things going on in the county,” said Garrison. “We would love to see more transparency.”
“We want to make sure we are really heard,” added Stewart.
The Laurens County administrator and attorney told 7NEWS they can “not comment on pending litigation.”