With Lowe’s gone for the time being, what have we really accomplished?
May 22nd, 2005
The Georgetown Times - Editorials
The Waccamaw Neck community gathered together in an amazing display of public participation in the political process, and was able to stop Lowe’s dead in its tracks. We came out to oppose the project, and we proved that we can have meaningful impact into what our community looks like. If only all planning and zoning decisions were always made this way — with input from the affected public.
We can expect other projects to come up, and in fact some have already been approved and constructed with little or no public input, that do not represent the type of growth this community wants to see. We also know that the owners of the Lowe’s property promised something worse if we turned down Lowe’s. What are we going to do about this and future proposals that will be knocking on our door, promising to change our community and its landscape forever?
The Georgetown County Comprehensive Plan, the guide to future development of the county is out of date, flawed, and currently under revision. All components of the plan have been revised by County Council, with little public input, except the most controversial, and most important, component — the Land Use Element.
How the new Land Use Element is written will be critical in future zoning decisions. It is essential that we have a thoughtful, far-sighted plan that will preserve and improve our quality of life. The only way this will happen is if we build on the momentum we started by opposing Lowe’s, and continue to show the commissioners and council members what we want our community to look like.
To do this, we have to be willing to participate in the hard work of reviewing and improving our Comprehensive Plan, and then to work for needed improvements in our Zoning Ordinance. I hope that those who opposed Lowe’s before the Planning Commission will follow through with their desire to see our community protected, and be part of this process.
To help those new to this type of community effort, the South Carolina Environmental Law Project will present an educational workshop aimed at providing the public with the tools necessary to have meaningful input into the planning process.
The workshop, entitled “A Primer on the Georgetown County Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance and How Citizens Can Be Involved,” is free and open to the public, and will be held on Wednesday, May 25, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Coastal Carolina University’s Waccamaw Campus, 160 Willbrook Blvd., Pawleys Island.
Ms. Armstrong is a staff attorney with the Pawleys Island-based S.C. Environmental Law Project.