City of Lancaster seeks community input for their 2040 Comprehensive Plan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 21, 2022

For More Information, Please Contact:
Louis Streater
Director of Building, Planning, Zoning & Licensing
Lstreater@lancastercitysc.com.

Lancaster, SC – The City of Lancaster is seeking public feedback as it prepares for a new comprehensive plan, which will guide development for the next 10 to 20 years. There is an online survey available at www.PlanRedRose.com, where community members can offer their vision for the City and reflect on what a high quality of life will mean for future generations in Lancaster.
The City has hired Benchmark Planning of Charlotte to work with the Planning Commission to prepare the plan. The City’s planning consultant, Jason Epley of Benchmark Planning, stated “The City’s comprehensive planning process, Plan Red Rose, is an opportunity for the community to develop a collective vision for the future. The Comprehensive Plan is the policy document that provides a long-range guide for how the City should grow and development over the next 10 to 20 years.” South Carolina law requires communities to maintain an up-to-date comprehensive plan in order to administer zoning, development regulations, impact fees, and related development matters. Mr. Epley also commented, “this City has a great opportunity to coordinate growth on its borders as Lancaster County is currently developing their comprehensive plan as well.”
The “Plan Red Rose” Comprehensive Plan serves to represent the community’s collective vision for the future. It will include recommendations specific to land use, transportation, housing, environmental resources, and a range of other important topics. Plan Red Rose will be the City’s first standalone comprehensive plan. Historically, the City has been included in Lancaster County’s Comprehensive Plan. As the City develops its Plan, an opportunity exists to coordinate growth areas with the County as the County is in the process of developing their comprehensive plan – Lancaster 2040.
“This is a Plan about diversity. Community differences provide choice.” stated Director of Building, Planning, Zoning & Licensing Louis Streater. “Choice allows residents and employers to select the community or neighborhood that best suits their needs and preferences within the Planning Area of the City of Lancaster.”

While not a legally binding “ordinance” in the degree of decision conferred by the adopted plan, the Plan does inform land use and development ordinances, particularly as the Planning Commission and City Council carry out their duties in guiding and facilitating the growth of the City. “With the recent annexations and proposed new developments, it is very important that Lancaster develops and implements a new comprehensive plan. What I love about comprehensive plans is that it is unique in not being an ordinance or a set of rules but gives guidance to Council and staff to move the City in the direction that the people want to go. This is one of the few times where one can see participatory democracy in action at the local level. The residents will have a direct say on Lancaster’s future land use policy and what the community vision is for the next twenty years. Because of this, we are encouraging citizens to actively participate by taking the survey, attending workshops, and prioritizing our objectives.” says City of Lancaster’s Administrator, Flip Hutfles.
The City can coordinate growth areas as the County is developing their comprehensive plan. The City has the infrastructure capable to facilitate new growth in and around its municipal boundaries. Also, the City can build off the momentum from the Downtown Revitalization Plan.
The City of Lancaster’s Comprehensive Plan, Plan Red Rose, will be developed over a twelve-month period and include the following:

Planning process Time-period of planning process

Background ResearchOctober-December 2022
Community SurveyDecember 2022-January 2023
Planning Commission Workshop #2February 2023
Public Input MeetingsFebruary and March 2023
Planning Commission Workshop #3April 2023
Planning Commission Workshop #4May 2023
Public Drop-in Meetings to Review Draft PlanJune 2023
Planning Commission WorkshopJuly 2023
Final Draft presented to Planning CommissionAugust 2023
Plan AdoptionSeptember and October 2023

Planning Commission Chair, Dr. Richard Van Hall stresses the importance of the City’s efforts to plan for future developments with citizen input. “Successful plans are based on extensive citizen input. The more citizens who participate, the better the chances of success. The City of Lancaster is determined to maximize Citizen input throughout the process and this survey is just the beginning. So, please take the time to respond to this survey. The collected responses will be a key factor in shaping the Plan.” stated Dr. Hall
The online survey is one of the first opportunities for the public to engage in the planning process. Future opportunities include community workshops, public input meetings, public drop-in meetings, and Planning Commission workshops. The online survey can be found at planredrose.com, in English and Spanish. The City will have iPads available at the Utility Billing and Building & Zoning Departments for the public to take the survey. The community survey will close on January 31, 2023.
Streater emphasizes that “the Comprehensive Plan is a valuable community development tool. Each area in the City of Lancaster has a different physical form and character. “These differences contribute to a community’s uniqueness, strengths, and opportunities.”
For more information about the Plan Red Rose Comprehensive Plan, visit planredrose.com or contact Louis Streater, Director of Building, Planning, Zoning & Licensing at Lstreater@lancastercitysc.com.

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