Pickens County Council votes on standards and limitations for land around Highway 11

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 11:21 PM EST
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PICKENS, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Pickens County Council voted 5-1 on Monday to pass an ordinance that establishes standards and limitations on future developments along Highway 11.

This has been a topic of interest over the last several months, regarding one of the natural gems in the county.

The ordinance creates a 150-foot buffer, allows no heavy industrial, says Commercial Design Standards must fall within the view shed, and more. To read the full draft of the ordinance, click here.

A point of disagreement for many is the balance of keeping the natural beauty without infringing on people’s personal property rights.

“I’ve lived there for 45 years, it’s a beautiful area. I’d hate to see any of the picturesque views marred with any kind of development. But what I hate more is seeing that so many people are willing to give up other people’s rights to save that view,” said one neighbor.

“I believe people wanting to make commercial money on their strip of land on 11 and the big money interest looking to build up there will not put respect for the area or the residents above the dollar,” said another neighbor.

The ordinance passed by a vote of 5 to 1.

Councilman Alex Saitta was the lone ‘no’ vote, saying he believes the ordinance did not do enough to protect the area around Highway 11 and leaves the door open for development.

“People will say and have said tonight that it’s never going to happen up there but I’m looking out over the next 25 years and you really don’t know what’s going to happen. Water systems are built, sewer systems are built, things will change,” he said.

Other councilmembers said they believe there was a need to put some sort of restrictions in place for the future.

“It took 40 years to get this combination of courage and we’re not going to get perfection, but we’re going to take an action that’s going to be meaningful in the lives of our children and our grandchildren and we’re going to do it by again holding the line against stepping on people’s property rights,” said Councilman Henry Wilson.

Before this ordinance, there were no standards or limitations for the land along Highway 11.