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Our View: The County's most important ordinance, maybe ever

967 will go to. public hearing on a day nobody expects the Laurens County Council to meet


The most important ordinance that the Laurens County County will enact - maybe ever - will be considered on a day when nobody expects the County Council to meet. This is what we’re talking about:

                  NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

Notice is hereby given by the County Council of Laurens County, South Carolina, of a public hearing relating to the proposed enactment of Ordinance 967 entitled:


The public hearing will be held in the Laurens County Voter Registration/Veterans Affairs Building, 105 Bolt Drive Laurens, South Carolina, beginning at 6:00 P.M., THURSDAY, JULY 18, 2024.

Subject to the rules of County Council regarding appearances, members of the public are invited to attend and make comments concerning the proposed Ordinance 967.


This Comprehensive Plan is years overdue, and months in the making. The County, to its credit, has spent time and money bringing it to the point of final consideration - it is an exhaustive document. Many of our neighbors in the northern end have fought tooth and nail related to what has happened to them and their property investments, their farms and ranches wrecked by overzelous residential development. We, in Clinton, can only wish we had that problem - we, in Clinton, have 800 acres that we would LOVE a forward-thinking developer or six to take a look at. Yes, we have some “fish on the line” - Bush River Resort, DR Horton, Clinton Commons, the land between Ingles and Westminster Presbyterian Church and we HAVE ZONING.

Laurens County has NO ZONING, and doesn’t want any. That’s why it is imperative for the County to have a Comprehensive Plan, and it is on the County Website in draft form. It has survived one reading last Monday evening by that infamous Title Only - code words for “we’ll tell you later what’s in it” (ie Project Onward, that was on the June 24 meeting agenda).

The Comprehensive Plan will guide the embattled Laurens County Planning Commission in making informed decisions about what kind of development should be steered where - Chicken Houses in the chicken house section, Meat Packing Plants in agriculture, Multi-Family in areas designated for High Density - the subdivision going up within a walk of ZF Transmissions on the rolling hills of Northern Laurens County, as an example - River Front Recreation Resorts, on the banks of our beautiful rivers and streams -- and don’t even get us started about RV Parks on the shores of Lake Greenwood.

Slowly, Laurens County has come to grips with almost all of these. The Planning Commission’s minutes are filled with give and take about these issues, with questions and answers about county staff following their own guidelines and, a persistent problem, when a development is proposed NOBODY is aware of it until it’s too late (ie signs and public notification).

It’s not really our problem, in Clinton. We “regulate” our development - in the case of Bush River Resort, we regulate it practically to death. But a lot of this - not nearly enough to save our city’s tax base but some - takes place right outside our city limits. Sometimes, inside - we guess somebody realized that an industry, Renfro, was surrounded by the city limits but was not actually in the city - but, guess who would have to put out a fire on its roof!

The Comprehensive Plan should be a concern for us because of development just outside our reach AND because “we pay county taxes, too” -- sometimes we forget that, sometimes when we get a new library we are reminded. (Side Note: what a great time it is when we see the Capital Projects Sales Tax, from 2020, produce buildings rising from the ground, playground equipment, and newly paved streets!!)

This Plan is heavy reading. It has text and maps and charts, and a summary. It is a guidepost for at least the next decade in Laurens County. If we don’t at least know it exists, and lean on it to help our community excel, then Shame On Us. Lots of folks have done lots of work to bring it to fruition, while we (Clinton) have just kind of sat back and watched it happen. It wasn’t too long ago that Laurens County was begging for development - remember those days when we used to ask, “why can’t we get a Cracker Barrel” and the answer always was, “Rooftops.” Well, now there are rooftops - and still no grocery store in Western Laurens County. 

We have, or will have, rooftops - the County’s financial situation proves it. They’re so flush with cash they can offer competitive Community Grants. Clinton, meanwhile, just raised its Water and Sewer Rates as part of its budget-balancing, and there’s almost no end in sight from the past two years’ finances, $3.6 MILLION added to our municipal budget - a measure that seemed to be sanctioned by the city council’s Finance Committee, whenever and wherever they met. Just being aware of what the County can do if we are their partners can only help us. We will be in the game, or we will be left in the dust. That starts with planning.

There’s no reason some North End developers can’t look our way. At a LCWSC board meeting, it was said that a new development, Coachman Reserve, has lots so big they will have septic tanks, not sewer lines. We have a place that can accommodate that - we just need someone or something that can hook ‘em. Hmm, If only we had A Plan.     

If you want to see what the Laurens County Comprehensive Plan looks like, here it it:

(With a thank you to the County Attorney’s Office for pointing us in the right direction.)