PICKENS CO., (WSPA) — Many counties across the Upstate have seen a large amount of growth in just a few years, Pickens County is no different. Pickens County Council is looking at the Unified Development Standards Ordinance to keep up with the rapid growth in the community.
According to Pickens County Administrator, Ken Roper, the six pillars of the UDSO are housing, real costs of development, community impact, conversation, traffic and infrastructure.
“County council has spent a lot of time studying what can we do as the local government in reasonable regulations to try to slow that growth and make that growth happen in a more managed way, something that we can handle over time and something that preserves the unique nature of our county,” said Roper.
Turning vacant textile mills into attainable housing is just one example of how the UDSO is addressing the growth while keeping the historical aspects of the building intact along with a tax incentive.
“The folks that ultimately live there in theory is their rent would be lower because the developer would not have had to spend so much money or had so much in property taxes for redeveloping that location,” said Roper.
John Blackburn and his wife moved from the lowcountry to the Upstate and said living in a historical building not only gave them the opportunity to find a place to live, but have access to things nearby.
“Being able to reuse these historic buildings is super cool. We were excited about the fact that it was right here in downtown Easley. Easy walking to a lot of different things,” said Blackburn.
Using a building that is already there helps balance the growth.
“You can get several families there together in a good, safe and new environment. And so that’s a good thing as opposed to just continuing to sprawl outside the city limits and impacting our otherwise natural farmland and mountain areas,” said Roper.
County Council is currently working on plans to expand Highway 183 to help with traffic levels, the other biggest pillar of the UDSO. County Council passed the second reading of the UDSO. A third reading will happen before the end of the year.