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Our Greenville and Spartanburg offices have closed while Upstate Forever staff work from home to help protect the health of each other, our families, and our communities. But while we are not together in the office, we remain together in our continued efforts to protect our region's critical lands, waters, and unique character.
Greenville County is growing rapidly, with 160,000+ new residents projected by 2040. The impacts of that growth will largely be determined by how and where we accommodate it. The important thing to remember is that we have choices.
Greenville County and City have launched the 10-year updates to their comprehensive plans. These plans will set the basis for future land use regulation and zoning, which are powerful tools that influence nearly every aspect of our lives -- expanding, or drastically limiting, opportunities for local residents from housing choices and affordability to transportation options.
Right now, we are consuming land at an unprecedented rate. If we continue on this path, nearly 206,000 acres of land in Greenville County could be converted from farms, forests, and open space to strip malls, parking lots, and low-density subdivisions by 2040. And that pattern of growth will be exorbitantly expensive to serve with the revenues generated by new development unlikely to cover half of the costs to serve it. Watch the video below to learn more about what sprawl is ultimately costing Greenville County.
Too often, local planning and policy-making occurs without effective community engagement, resulting in a blueprint for future growth representing developers and special interest groups alone.
Upstate Forever is working to educate citizens about the impacts of growth choices and empower them to engage in community planning discussions. At the same time, we are working with elected leaders to help them understand the importance of proactive growth management and equip them with the tools they need to address community issues through meaningful land use policy.