Blight prevention controls will be in place soon for a much larger part of Lexington County.
County Council settled Tuesday on a significant increase of areas in which the home upkeep standards apply, with final approval expected as soon as Oct. 25.
The expansion adds neighborhoods in unincorporated areas east of I-20 as well as those in Red Bank and Dixiana The only major suburban area omitted is around the town of Lexington.
Momentum for expansion developed after a one-year test of the idea on the north side of Lake Murray produced cleanup results popular with neighborhood leaders there.
The requirements are similar to those in nine of the county’s 14 cities and towns that mainly police overgrown yards and home exteriors in disrepair.
Many neighborhoods “have some real issues with appearance,” Councilman Ned Tolar of West Columbia said.
Nearly three-fourths of complaints – 141 of 197 – during the initial test are resolved, county community development officials said. By far, most involved unkempt lawns.
The standards apply solely to neighborhoods, not rural areas where landscaping that may seem overgrown elsewhere is common. That exempts the southern and western parts of the 758-square-mile county.
“It’s too strong for my area at this point,” Councilman Larry Brigham of Batesburg-Leesville said.
A last-minute bid to switch to expansion phased in piecemeal over the next few years failed. “I’d rather go slow on this even though it has been very successful,” Councilman Jim Kinard of Swansea said.
The plan received tentative approval 7-2, with Kinard and Councilman Kent Collins of Lexington opposed.
Collins is concerned that the requirements will lead to conflict among neighbors with different approaches to landscape.
Tim Flach: 803-771-8483