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Testing Growth Scenarios

Lexington County has potential to grow in the future and the community has a choice on how and where growth will take place. Your input will help guide our choices.

The Purpose of the Growth Scenarios

Input from Idea Week in October 2020 informed the development of three growth scenarios for Lexington County. These scenarios consider different patterns of residential and nonresidential growth in the County between now and the year 2040. They each have different outcomes in terms of land use patterns, open space protection, transportation, and fiscal health.
This is an opportunity to provide feedback to help collect information from the community about the preferred development pattern for the future of Lexington County. The input collected will be used to generate the Future Land Use and Character Map for the County.

How to Read the Scenarios

There are three scenarios.

Scenario 1
Current Trends

Scenario 2
Rural Transition

Scenario 3
Town Clusters

Each scenario has three components that show the assumptions and outcomes.

Map. A color-coded map of the county to indicate the development categories of future growth and where they would occur. The scenario maps do not show existing development on the ground today. Existing development is assumed to continue without change in all three scenarios.

Metrics. A table that shows measurable outcomes including total land area developed and the location of that development. Each scenario allocates net new future households (H) and employment (E) on the map in different ways. The total new net residential households and employment counts are constant in all three scenarios.

Performance. A qualitative assessment of how the scenario performs with respect to community priorities that were identified during Idea Week. The matrix identifies whether the scenario improves or hinders the ability of the County to achieve the priority.

Development Categories Definitions

The scenario maps show various development categories applied to the County. Each development category includes assumptions about land use and intensity, infrastructure, open space, residential and commercial growth, and other attributes. The categories are:

Very low density development with homes on or near working farms or large unimproved tracts of land.



Land in this category includes small neighborhood business centers near small lot houses or attached houses such as patio homes or townhomes, with rings of succesively larger lots or sparser development within the surrounding neighborhoods and homesteads. The nodes and the surroundings form a rural transition between suburban development and agricultural lands.
Growth occurs with the approximate intensity and mix of uses currently in Lexington County’s municipalities. Existing land use patterns for individual towns guide new growth in nearby areas. Specifically in the Town Clusters Scenario, more development is allowed with more intensity than is currently in the County’s municipalities. It is municipal and not “urban” in the sense of a large city.
Areas where the majority of future development is expected to be commercial or industrial, and where there may be a combination of large headquarters, business parks, industry clusters, and some retail destinations. Pockets of residential in this area may include a high proportion of apartments, attached houses (i.e. town homes), and small lot residential to take advantage of access to jobs and transportation.
Low density development, either in new estate subdivisions or developing along existing rural roads. Though these areas may have a rural aesthetic or “feel” the new development is not working farms and does not have the surrounding fields associated with farms.
Neighborhoods or subdivisions developed primarily as exclusively residential areas, where lot size may vary by the individual neighborhood or subdivision (from 5 to 0.25 acre lots). Much development occurs as whole subdivisions or large phases.
Mix of uses including homes, shopping, and employment areas. Density varies similar to current pattern in the areas of the County closest to Columbia. While most individual parcels will not be “mixed use” on their own, the suburban mix of uses presumes a pattern where residential and nonresidential uses are closer together.

Metrics table definitions

New Households. This section describes the number and percent of new households in each development category, followed by the number and percent of new acres needed to accommodate that pattern.

Common Open Space. This section includes open spaces held by a neighborhood association, park, plaza, or protected open land. It does not include farmland, yards, or lawns.

New Employment. This section describes how many new employees are in areas of the map designated “Predominantly Employment,” a category used in areas that include business and industrial parks or major employment areas. The rest are dispersed in other categories.

Avg. Trip Length indicates wear and tear on roads. A longer trip can mean more traffic and more need for maintenance.

Potential For Transit indicates whether growth is occurring in clusters that could be stops on a bus line like the COMET or similar service in the future.

Mixed Use Growth can help take some new trips that would be in cars an allow people the option of walking or biking instead.

Trip Starts or Ends Near Towns can help describe the pattern of new development and whether it is occurring near existing development and destinations.

20-Year Capital Expense is the total modeled cost of County capital improvements through 2040 (such as fire, sheriff, or EMS stations; libraries; courtrooms; or newly paved roads). This is what fiscal modelers call the “cumulative fiscal impact.”

Stable Year Net Fiscal Impact is the net revenue or budget surplus that is expected in a year once all modeled growth has occurred. It measures ongoing impacts.

Gravel to Paved Road Miles is based on where significant growth is expected on unpaved roads. More miles indicate a higher cost and more road conversion projects.

Scenario 1: Current Trends

In this scenario, current development trends continue. There is more growth expected along major transportation corridors throughout the County. Development generally spreads from east to west over time, and much of that growth is in single family subdivisions not necessarily connected to the location of jobs or amenities and services.

Scenario 2: Rural Transition

In this scenario, a more rural character is achieved in areas that have not yet been developed outside Chapin, west of Lexington, and south of Pine Ridge through a pattern of small nodes of rural neighborhood centers each surrounded by larger homesteads. While it has the most land used of the scenarios it also holds the most of that land in a rural character.

Scenario 3: Town Clusters

In this scenario, much of the growth occurs at opportunities within or near municipalities. This can target growth toward places with existing infrastructure. Implementing the scenario would likely require coordination with the towns in areas of common interest. The Suburban Mix of Uses and Municipal Mix of Uses allow residential and nonresidential development to occur near to each other.

Provide feedback

Growth Scenarios Feedback

Scenario 1 Current Development Trends (1/7)

Please review scenario 1 and indicate whether you agree with the following statements that describe it.
1. Growth in the County over the last several years has worked well, and accommodating market demand with that pattern should continue.
2. I support the broadest possible options for places to build new homes, even if new residents travel farther to grocery stores, restaurants, and jobs