PICKENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Pickens County Council members have been discussing the fate of Highway 11 for years.
A decision is set to be made next week and some council members said they’re still not all on the same page.
Highway 11 is a 119-mile roadway that starts in Oconee County and goes all the way down to Cherokee County.
It’s known as the scenic alternative to I-85, surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, state parks, and peach orchards.
Pickens County Council has gone back and forth on what to do with their portion of the road; leave it scenic or allow industrialization.
“Highway 11 is a scenic highway and has to be protected,” Council member Alex Saitta said. “The current plan allows manufacturing anywhere along highway 11, plants up to 200,000 square feet. Things like a storage warehouse or a carpet or rug manufacturer.”
Allowing commercialization in such a unique area of the state, Saitta said would be a mistake.
“The majority of people on highway 11 want to keep it scenic as it is. They’re willing to give up some of their land development rights to do that,” Saitta said.
Others on the council, like chairman Chris Bowers, said they think development can happen, without ruining the character of the highway.
“If a guy or a girl, man, woman, wanted to have an automotive repair shop beside their house, there’s nothing in our ordinance that would prohibit it, and I wouldn’t want to prohibit that in the future,” Bowers said.
Bowers said it can be done in a way that will increase the economy and protect the scenery.
“I don’t want to limit someone. I don’t like the blanket statement ‘no commercial’. I don’t want to do that. But I do believe there is some compromise and there’s some room there to achieve the overall goal,” Bowers said.
A final vote will take place Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Pickens County Administration Building.
Council members said Monday night’s meeting is open to the public.