North Augusta City Council gave final approval Monday night to the city’s Comprehensive Plan, a document required by the state that the city is nearly two years late in delivering.
Comprehensive plans are supposed to be updated every 10 years. The city’s last update was due in late 2015. The state requires them from local governments in exchange for letting them make their own planning and zoning rules.
Without a plan on file with the state, someone who got turned down on a zoning matter, for example, could use that against the city to try to make it reverse its decision, City Attorney Kelly Zier has said.
In February, council gave first-reading approval to a draft plan, prepared by contractor Stantec Inc., to head off potential rezoning challenges by invoking the “pending ordinance doctrine.”
City Council and the city Planning Commission held a joint meeting on the plan and a public hearing was held before it got second-reading approval.
The draft plan included a list of recommendations, but council members edited some of them and made them “action items,” or goals to be accomplished.
Those include connecting the Greeneway to downtown, managing infrastructure upkeep, improving code enforcement and creating a parks master plan, among others.
Monday night’s final approval was unanimous, with all council members and the mayor present.
Also Monday, council approved participation in a solar power initiative with SCE&G that is expected to reduce the city’s power bills by about $60,000 a year for the next 20 years.
The utility is constructing solar arrays in other parts of the state and inviting its customers – residents as well as governments – to subscribe to a share of the power produced. Participants pay a fee and get rebates. The utility gets federal tax credits for building the arrays.