The New Elite

Recently I read a new book from UGA Press, GUTEN TAG, Y’ALL: GLOBALIZATION AND THE SOUTH CAROLINA PIEDMONT 1950-2000 by Marko Maunula. Maunula’s coming to speak this fall at the Spartanburg County Library, and his visit should prompt a lively discussion. A strange result of reading Maunula’s book about Spartanburg is that it started me thinking that maybe opposition to land use...

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...

Closing the Land-Use Frontier

In 1893 the American frontier was declared officially closed in an essay written by Frederick Jackson Turner. Back then, the East was civilized and settled, and the West was the frontier, “another name for opportunity,” a place with free land, little law or government, and no regulation. By 1893 there was little farmland not claimed in the East and much of what was claimed had been...

True Believers

A few weeks ago I sat through a Spartanburg County Council meeting about land use planning. It was a special session to hear ideas from other communities. The guest that day was a former administrator from Berkeley County who had successfully guided it through a transition to zoning and planned growth. I sat quietly in the back and took notes. Many of those surrounding me were developers, true...

Paw-Paw Action Alert

I understand special interest groups are hard at work alerting their membership about the series of meetings on zoning possibilities and changes to our Spartanburg County land use ordinances. I’d like to offer a few talking points of my own and focus on a small part of the changes under discussion with our county ordinances: stream-side buffers. I’d like to let my stomach vote for...

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