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krazeeboi

Progressive South Carolina?

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Recently, there have been several developments statewide that lead me to believe that we may be turning a corner as a state when it comes to smart growth, alternative fuels, environmental issues, and the like. There was the article we discussed in another thread about Jasper County leaders embracing smart growth, and in today's edition of The State, there's an article which talks about how Kershaw County wants to get ahead of development by steering population growth to an area of the county that will have the infrastructure to deal with such growth. Recently, Gov. Sanford has recently formed a climate change commission, the 2nd such commission in the South, to study the problem of global warming in South Carolina during the next year and discuss possible solutions to combating the problem (the commission will issue a report in June 2008 on how the state can address the problem), and he also sponsored a conference in Charleston to look for ways to implement smart growth policies statewide. In addition, we have proposed legislation that is the basis of this thread that would make South Carolina a leader when it comes to LEED-certified buildings, particularly those funded with state dollars (including schools). South Carolina is already a leader when it comes to providing alternative fuel options, and we are positioned to be a leader in the new "hydrogen economy."

So with all of this in mind (and I'm sure these examples aren't exhaustive), is it possible that our state is truly seeing progress and could actually serve as a model in terms of sustainability?

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I've noticed the same thing Krazee. It does make you wonder if we're doing something right. And while it seems great, I wonder that when it's put in perspective if we're really doing all that much...? When we compare our 'good' growth to our actual growth, if we're making an impact on our practices at all...

Though, whether we are doing as much as we could or not, every little bit helps and it's a great first step toward the future. :thumbsup:

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Your concerns are definitely valid, and I've had those thoughts too. Like what we see happening in Kershaw and Jasper counties is good, but what about the major counties of the state? That's where we'd REALLY see a difference.

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There was an interesting opinion editorial in yesterday's Greenville News about this very issue in the metro Greenville area. It was written by Greenville County Council Chairman, Butch Kirven. He speaks of a plan that was implemented in 1999 (I mentioned this in another thread), and how the time to update that plan is nearing. He titled the editorial: "Growth will come -- with or without plan." Much has been happening around the state lately and I think there are leaders out there effectively working to develop and implement sustainable planning. That said, much more regulation is needed in most areas.

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^I agree, but I think that at least conceptually, we're off to a good start.

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It seems to me developers give lip service to smart growth, but then go where there is no ifrastructure, because the land is cheaper. IMO that's what fueled the boon in the NE and now in Lower Richland. I think they are trying to get services in there after they've bought the land at cheaper prices.

If you can't get the builders on board, it may be a losing fight.

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This is worth a read about environmental issues. Here's South Carolina's research funds doing some good: Greenvilleonline.com

Two Architecture professors at Clemson have created a smog-eating sponge.

While automobile manufacturers work on cutting emissions, which will take some time, "this seemed like something we could do right away," Hecker said.

Their idea was a runner-up in the recent 2007 Metropolis Next Generation Design Competition, which addressed environmental issues.

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Thats where planning and government regulation comes into play. If the rules are in place for quality development that gives incentives to developers who build quality projects, then you start to see more change.

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Here's a blurb from this week's edition of Columbia's Free Times newspaper that seems to confirm what I'm getting at here:

After an unusual visit to South Carolina and stop at the state Capitol on April 24, the Sierra Club

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I posted this in another thread but Anderson County is investigating green, agri-industries like organic farming, etc.... I think that kind of stuff bodes really well for the area. :thumbsup:

But everytime I get optimistic another strip mall gets going. :dontknow: I think SC's cities need to loose the inferiority complex which causes us to court any and all investment. High development standards and forced density with the trade off of a really kick butt park system in cities like G'ville, Spartanburg and Anderson would really increase the quality of life in the upstate. G'ville's current downtown success (in terms of livability) is a good example. My fear though is that upstate residents value NOT living on top of each other more than we value actual quality of life, or the environment or sustainability.

Hope I'm proved wrong.

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The City of Greenville has hired an "environmental ombudsman" to monitor greenhouse gases. This makes me wonder about how much impact this will have. Someone should probably be monitoring this stuff to preserve the quality of life we have, but is monitoring in the city which sits somewhere around 26 sq miles going to do much when the municipality is so small?

Link: The Greenville News

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Maybe it would work better for the county versus the city because that doesn't seem like a very big impact for 26 sq miles

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Yeah if it were the County, it woudl make much more sense. The City is already somewhat progressive towards that end. They could use that money in better ways, IMO.

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I think it would be better to have this position under the regional council of local governments.

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Hopefully it will force SC to be more proactive about air quality. We're still going to see lots of development, but we're not going to have the federal funding to build the necessary infrastructure to accommodate it.

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The article says we're in danger of companies here not being able to expand and of prospective companies selecting locations that not only meet but are more likely to continue to meet mandated air quality standards in the future. We have got to stop sprawling for one thing.

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I'm waiting to see how Obama changes things up. He is going to be more apt to enforce and strengthen the Clean Air Act, but if other cities/metros are experiencing the same problems then there will probably be political push back so that businesses can grow.

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The attached article is about the ghost suburbs of California. When I was in Sacramento three years ago I went to San Francisco for the day and drove through about 50 miles of carbon-copy suburbia where row upon row of brand new look-alike houses sat in neighborhoods draped across hill after hill after hill. Those houses still sit empty and are destined to be the next huge California slums. To what degree has South Carolina and other southern states escaped the same situation with its exurban housing developments?

http://www.newsweek.com/id/211382

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South Carolina got off the hook pretty easy. California, Florida, and Nevada by far had the worst situations. I'd say that in Carolinas, Charlotte caught the brunt. There are new cookie-cutter subdivisions that are abandoned by the developer or left half built, leaving residents to deal with what's left over. Its still nothing compared to California though.

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I'd say that in Carolinas, Charlotte caught the brunt. There are new cookie-cutter subdivisions that are abandoned by the developer or left half built, leaving residents to deal with what's left over.

Where in particular? I'm curious.

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The worst areas are in the northwest suburbs. Windy Ridge is built but mostly vacant (like 70-80%) and Peachtree Hills is only partially built. These are the most often referenced subdivisions, but any of them off of Brookshire, Freedom, Mt Holly-Huntersville Rd, Sunset Rd can potentially fall in this category. There are other places too. Just look at the foreclosure map on the Observer and you'll get a feel for it.

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Hmmm, interesting...thanks for that info. Might venture into a few of those subdivisions and check them out.

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