Greenville County septic, waterway rules get final approval | Greenville News

GREENVILLE – Greenville County now has strict rules on septic tank use and regulations to protect waterways.

The new requirements are intended to curb uncontrolled growth and protect natural resources as the region’s population continues to grow. The Greenville County Council gave final approval to the ordinance on Jan. 2. Councilman Chris Harrison was the lone dissenting vote.

Going forward, developers are now prohibited from building large projects in unzoned parts of Greenville County unless the development density is no more than one home per one and a half acres. The restriction does not apply to developments with 10 apartments or fewer.

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The new rule effectively bans housing construction in large parts of southern Greenville County, where infrastructure has lagged far behind the rapid development.

By 2040, the county’s population is expected to increase by more than 200,000 people. In an area that is still largely rural and unzoned, the septic tank restrictions are intended to slow rampant growth in less developed parts of the county and direct it to where the infrastructure is already in place.

Project developers across Greenville County also must create 50-foot riparian buffers — strips of land planted with vegetation — between new construction and natural waterways and wetlands.

A 100-foot buffer is required on a small number of properties in the county, depending on drainage volume. These changes do not apply to development in municipalities or to projects already in the county’s approval pipeline.

Environmental groups and established residents concerned about subdivision sprawl in unincorporated Greenville County praised the move as a common-sense way to manage the influx of new people and protect natural resources.

Sales of new homes in the north of the country are rising due to tight inventory and increased interest rates

But the development community has pushed back against the measures, arguing they would curb production of new homes and drive up housing costs as supply in the area struggles to keep up with rising demand.

To address those concerns, the county council amended the ordinance last month to include a sunset clause that requires the board to vote within two years to reauthorize or repeal the ordinance.

The rule change also includes a provision requiring the Planning Commission to annually evaluate the impact of the policy.

Greenville County septic tank restrictions and waterway protection overcome major hurdle with tweaks

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