What Is the One Berkeley Comprehensive Plan?
As a comprehensive plan, One Berkeley will provide a blueprint for the future. Developed by the Planning Commission through a public process, then adopted by County Council, One Berkeley will document the community’s vision and provide a roadmap to get there.
One Berkeley and other comp plans, as required by the State of South Carolina, are reviewed and validated every five years and fully updated every ten years. The 2010 Berkeley County Comprehensive Plan and the 2015 Review are available here.
Why Are We Creating the One Berkeley Comprehensive Plan?
The State of South Carolina requires all jurisdictions that regulate land development to develop a comprehensive plan that is reviewed every five years for changes in demographics and development and every 10 years for a full update.
Clearly, Berkeley County has changed over the last decade and today faces new challenges related to growth, infrastructure, housing and more.
The SC Legislature also prescribes elements that must be incorporated into comprehensive plans. Counties must include an inventory of current conditions, identify long-range needs and goals for these elements and, lastly, strategies to achieve these goals. Currently, there are nine required elements:
- Cultural Resources
- Natural Resources
- Community Facilities
- Land Use
- Priority Investment
While mandated by law, the One Berkeley Comprehensive Plan is much more than a plan to be completed per state law and put on a shelf. A regular Comprehensive Plan update provides opportunities for our community to create a shared vision, identify strengths and weaknesses and develop a sound strategy for the future.
What Does the One Berkeley Comprehensive Plan Do?
The One Berkeley Comprehensive Plan provides for an opportunity to capture the history of Berkeley County and express the shared community vision of what the county means now and what it should be in the future.
This long-range strategic planning document provides a framework for county elected leaders, appointed officials and staff to develop policies that realize the community’s vision. It is the county’s goal for the One Berkeley Comprehensive Plan to be a living document that will be easy-to-read, interactive and a valuable reference tool for officials and alike. We hope you will offer your voice and opinions as the county engages in this community conversation.
Why Should I Care About the One Berkeley Comprehensive Plan?
Simply put, because “the world is run by those who show up.” A comprehensive plan like One Berkeley should be representative of all community members, which means public participation is integral to a mutually beneficial outcome. The next 10 years are quite possibly Berkeley County’s most important decade. If you ever have concerns, ideas or suggestions about important topics in your community, such as housing, land use, economic development, transportation and more, this is the time to bring your thoughts to the public forum and have your voice included in the final plan.
Will the One Berkeley Comprehensive Plan Change Zoning?
No, the plan itself will not change zoning in the county. However, this long-range strategic planning document provides a framework for county elected leaders, appointed officials and staff to develop policies that will guide zoning decisions to support realization of the community’s vision.
What Role Does the Planning Commission Play in the One Berkeley Comprehensive Plan?
The Planning Commission consists of eight members appointed by County Council to make recommendations on land development proposals in unincorporated areas of the county. The commission also has a duty to engage in a continuous planning program for the physical, social and economic growth, development and redevelopment of the area within its authority. That’s why the Planning Commission leads the Comprehensive Plan process and makes a recommendation on the final plan to County Council for its adoption!
How will the One Berkeley Comprehensive Plan be used after it is created?
In itself, One Berkeley will not be regulatory; it won’t change zoning for instance. However, the Plan will serve as a guide for land development and infrastructure decisions that are made by the Planning Commission and County Council in the future. The Plan can be amended between its adoption and the five year review to address the rapid pace of changes that are occurring.
How is COVID-19 impacting the One Berkeley Comprehensive Plan process?
In Berkeley County, COVID-19 presents the opportunity to leverage digital outreach platforms, in addition to in-person outreach, the latter of which is being undertaken in a socially distant and responsible manner.
What is the timeline for the One Berkeley Comprehensive Plan?
Although every Comprehensive Plan addresses each of the nine elements, the planning process used is unique to each community. One Berkeley will be developed using a Scenario Planning process, giving the community an opportunity to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of different vision plans.
Phase I: Data Gathering
In late 2020, the One Berkeley Team began collecting data and information on changes in demographics and other conditions since 2010. More importantly, the team worked with agencies that provide critical public services and facilities to document current capacities and anticipated future needs.
Phase II: Visioning
In 2021, those ideas were compiled and analyzed. Participant priorities and development trends have been compared with the capacity of existing and planned infrastructure, facilities and services.
In early 2022, the public will have an opportunity to compare how various scenarios achieve the vision and goals that were identified earlier in the process. The input in 2022 will help to inform a preferred vision for Berkeley County’s future.
Phase III: Plan Construction
A draft plan based on the preferred vision will be prepared by the Planning Commission and presented to the public in early 2023. Following a review period, the plan will be presented to County Council for its consideration.
What Is Scenario Planning?
Scenario planning is a process that considers multiple futures for a planning area based on competing physical, policy or financial scenarios. Scenarios contemplated for the area are not forecasts or predictions, but possible futures that might occur based on physical features, community desires, infrastructure investments, or policy-decisions in the area. They represent possible futures based on what already exists, emerging trends and opportunities or community desires to change the future.
The essential requirement for any growth scenario is that it is plausible, within the realm of what exists today or what could be in the future.
Each growth scenario contemplated for One Berkeley will include a theme, story and map to convey big ideas or important decisions facing the community. Their roots will be in a series of community meetings in the fall of 2020, which will be further refined by the project team to incorporate additional thoughts and ideas evaluated for the new comprehensive plan.
Detailed information about the alternative growth scenarios will be posted to the project website as it becomes available.
Ultimately, the scenarios themselves will be fictitious stories about the future and offer an objective view of the trade-offs associated with competing growth alternatives. Information presented for the Scenario Planning and Likely Impacts Analysis will be almost entirely data-driven, and the findings and conclusions presented from the analysis will respond to the data considered. It will be important to put this information in the context of the overall planning process for the Comprehensive Plan, and weigh recommendations from the analysis against the community vision and guiding principles created for the new Comprehensive Plan.