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The development code rewrite steering committee will help advise the process as the code is rewritten. 

A new committee is going to kick off on Wednesday in North Augusta, focused on rewriting a document that dictates how things are developed in the city.

The development code rewrite steering committee will act in an advisory role on the project. The committee will have its first meeting virtually on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

The city has contracted with Orion Planning and Design for the project.

Libby Hodges, director of planning and development for the city, said the intent of the committee is to be the first run-through on a lot of the issues that will be tackled during the rewrite.

“So it seems like a simple thing just to say we’re just going to rewrite this development code, but there are going to be a number of big questions we’re going to have to ask,” she said, such as whether things go along with the city’s comprehensive plan, or how certain things affect people or their work.

“It can be some really big questions and take some deep consideration,” she said.

Hodges said those working on the project will likely look at the code both topic by topic and comprehensively.

City Councilman David McGhee is on the committee and said he hopes rewriting the code will create “the flexibility and ability for people to develop and do things with their land that’s appropriate for the area.”

McGhee and City Councilman Kevin Toole, also on the committee, each mentioned flexibility and simplification of the code.

“I think in general we have a matrix that you have to manipulate through that’s a little difficult and maybe a little cumbersome and not easily understood by most people. So I’m hoping we can clarify or simplify that,” McGhee said.

Toole said he’s going into the committee with an open mind and would like to see a code created that works for everyone, reflects where the city is as a community and where he believes people want the city to go.

“I do have not only some personal perspective but perspective based on feedback from the community,” Toole said.

“I don’t know that I have an agenda going in, other than trying to make sure that the code accomplishes a couple of things.”

He mentioned easy navigation and compliance with the comprehensive plan.

There are 12 members on the committee. Four members are ex-officio members, two are on City Council, two are on Planning Commission and the others are community members.

Eddie Butler is a member of the committee and said some things of particular interest to him are the Greeneway and linear parks.

“I think that going forward for my perspective … thinking further than 10 or 15 or 20 years and looking way out to what’s really going to make communities unique and attractive in the future are things that … I personally am interested in,” Butler said.

The committee will meet at least monthly and meetings will be open to the public.

“For me, it’s just really important for the public to understand the committee isn’t doing all of the rewriting, they’re helping guide us through the process, but public participation is just so, so important,” Hodges said.

She said public participation can be done in a number of ways: Attend the meetings, write emails or call on the phone.

“This is a public process and it can be a little awkward at a times and you know, it’s hard to find a way to reach everybody, but you know this process is there for them,” she said, adding this is the way of checking in with folks in the city to find some common ground on big ticket items that are talked about a lot.

Members on the committee are: McGhee; Toole; Dr. Christine Crawford, planning commission; Bob Clark, planning commission; Liz Pearson; Dave Sam; Rett Harbison; Butler; Hodges, ex-officio; Tom Zeaser, North Augusta engineering and public works director, ex-officio; Rachelle Moody, assistant North Augusta city administrator, ex-officio; and Terra Carroll, president and CEO of the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, ex-officio.

Follow Lindsey on Twitter at @LindseyNHodges. 

Lindsey is the North Augusta reporter at the Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star. She graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2017, and grew up in Hodges, SC.