Open Letter to Spartanburg County Council

Last week I was among those who received an email from a Spartanburg County government staffer, saying “your County Councilmember … suggested that you may have valuable input about potential improvements to the county’s land development regulations.” I am flattered that you would ask my advice, even in a bulk mail manner. As you probably know if you have read this column...

Real Community Indicators

Last week Mayor Bill Barnet and County Council Chairman Jeff Horton delivered “state of our community” speeches while updating the Spartanburg Community Indicators Project. “The old model and processes won’t work,” Bill Barnet said. Horton agreed, and added that it’s important to be transparent, to make decisions in the public’s view. I don’t doubt...

Land-use so an Alien can Understand it

I was out weeding my wildflower garden this week and, I kid you not, a spaceship landed. It was small and looked a little like an outdoor charcoal grill, all shiny and round. When it spoke I realized it was not an errant flying charcoal grill, but a curious creature from a galaxy far away. “What could you possibly want with us?” I asked. The grill said with a high electric voice that...

Future Shock

The thought of what Spartanburg County will look like decades in the future disturbs my sleep. On my worst nights I see a vision of unregulated surreal sprawl as we cling to outmoded ideas of prosperity and growth. In my vision massive cinder block distribution plants for America’s out-of-control consumption are laid out helter-skelter along the I-85 corridor because no company with higher...

Riding the Hogback Highway

This week we drove U.S. Highway 176 north to Landrum three days in a row to watch our son play in a basketball tournament at the new District 1 high school. We could have driven faster, more sterile I-26, but taking the old highway has its advantages and insights. I like to call this route “the Hogback Highway” because anywhere west of town along its length you might just catch a...

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