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Roads and growth; Spartanburg County considers new zoning method

Road-oriented zoning transformation.

Roads and growth; Spartanburg County considers new zoning method


As upstate cities and counties continue to witness rapid population growth, Spartanburg County is exploring an innovative form of zoning regulations to handle the growth effectively—by orienting it towards roads and traffic patterns.

Taming the Blessing-Curse of Growth

“Greenville, Anderson, Spartanburg—we have been tremendously blessed and sometimes cursed with growth,” says David Britt, a Spartanburg County Council member. Britt firmly believes that the challenges are already prevalent, with subdivision growth becoming increasingly problematic.

Developers, enticed by the potential return on investment in land, are buying up property and creating subdivisions, all while the county has limited control over where these divisions occur. A few years ago, the county’s leadership attempted to establish a traditional zoning method—parcel-by-parcel restrictions—but met with resistance from the residents who now express concern over rampant growth. “It’s critical to find a balance between private property rights and controlled growth,” emphasized Britt.

Performance Zoning: The Path Forward

The key lies in Performance Zoning, a zoning method where roads take the lead. Highways such as 290 or 296, would be classified as Arterial roads, designated for industry or commercial growth. Meanwhile, Collector or Local roads would include residential options. The concept is designed to better manage how new development impacts the land surrounding it—maintaining compatibility between new and old development while adapting to traffic patterns.

To help residents understand this approach better, the county has developed an informative video about Performance Zoning. “We aim to grow in an intelligent and balanced manner,” said Britt.

Since 2019, Performance Zoning has already been successfully implemented in one part of the county. The next step would be to hire a planning director before proceeding further with this zoning method across the county.

Looking Ahead

In a prevailing era of rapid urbanization, innovative and strategic methods such as Performance Zoning may be the key to achieving balanced growth. However, much will depend on the approach’s successful implementation and acceptance from residents, which will ensure not just the right to private property but also controlled, sustainable growth.

Spartanburg County’s exploration of this new zoning method serves as an interesting case study that could offer valuable insights for other cities and counties grappling with similar challenges. As always, time will tell how effective this change will be. And although many questions remain unanswered, one thing is clear: for Spartanburg, the road ahead is one of transformation.

Script written by HERE News Network.

Roads and growth; Spartanburg County considers new zoning method Spartanburg SC

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