Greenville County is growing rapidly, with more than 160,000 new residents projected by 2040. What’s more, we are consuming land at an unprecedented rate. If we continue on our current land use trajectory, nearly 206,000 acres of land in Greenville County will 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.
The community is facing other urgent issues as well, including an affordable housing crisis. Our public transportation system is under-utilized and under-funded and cannot operate efficiently due to low-density development. And the land use policies we currently have in place often perpetuate these issues by continuing to encourage sprawling development patterns.
Greenville City and County are scheduled to kick-off their comprehensive plan updates – which only happens every 10 years – in 2018. 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.
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