Lexington County officials are looking at slightly enlarging the landscape buffers required in many commercial areas.
The goal is to increase protection for nearby homes from noise and other disruptions associated with the operation of nearby businesses.
Major changes suggested by landscape officials in recommendations to County Council include:
▪ Natural areas required generally would increase up to 25 feet, depending on the type of commercial activity.
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▪ Greenery planted as screening generally would have to be at least six feet tall.
▪ Browns, tans, grays, greens and reds should be favored for commercial building exteriors.
▪ Require irrigation sensors in commercial landscape to conserve water during heavy rain.
The package includes “almost wholesale changes in some areas,” council chairman Todd Cullum of Cayce said.
No immediate action on the recommendations is likely as council members await reaction from developers, business groups and neighborhoods.
It’s time to update many development standards, some of the nine council members say.
Some standards have been in place more than two decades while others were adopted as recently as two years ago.
One major change is proposed for quarries.
Councilman Larry Brigham of Batesburg-Leesville is seeking to widen buffers significantly around stone mines to 2,500 feet, or nearly a half-mile.
That’s more than four times what’s currently required, with smaller buffers allowed if no building is close.
A larger buffer is needed because noise, dust and blasting associated with quarries “can be very invasive,” Brigham said. “We need something, because there’s still a lot of undeveloped land out here.”
If adopted, his proposal apparently won’t apply to the bid of Vulcan Materials to open a quarry in the western half of the county. The project is opposed by nearby residents.
Other changes proposed would exempt live music, festivals, school sports and cultural events outdoors from many noise controls but set varying deadlines when those activities must end at night.
Tim Flach: 803-771-8483