Growth is often welcome when it comes to young cities. But managing this growth is also an important aspect to ensure quality of life for residents and sustain necessary systems and infrastructure like health care, schools, roads and more.
Since incorporating 60 years ago, the City of Goose Creek has grown from a small town to the eighth largest municipality in South Carolina, adding more than 10,000 residents in a 10-year span. Adding to its list of accolades, the City placed #38 in the United States as one of Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live” in 2020.
This rapid growth means this year’s 10-year Comprehensive Plan is even more critical, as it provides the framework for the City’s future. And that future, explains Mark Brodeur, Goose Creek’s Director of Planning and Zoning, may look a little different than the quiet suburb of years past.
Brodeur and the City Council aim to build a new, more appealing municipality that would give Goose Creek a greater sense of place. “It [the plan] also carefully guides us away from being simply a lovely bedroom community to a place that has its own unique identity,” Brodeur said. “Places in Goose Creek like Carnes Crossroads are where today’s buyers are relocating,” he said, adding Summerville’s Nexton to that list. These communities center around a live-work-play model centered around a bustling village-like atmosphere with all kinds of amenities, preferably within walking distance.
“Our new Comprehensive Plan suggests building several ‘village nodes’ or mini downtowns,” Brodeur said. He notes that the way people work, shop and move around has changed. The new plan, which recommends mixed-use zoning districts for the first time, helps cultivate this lifestyle. Mixed use blends residential, commercial, cultural and institutional uses into one space and integrates pedestrian connections.
Traffic was cited as the number one quality-of-life issue by residents during the preparation phase of the plan. “Traffic can absolutely kill the desire to live somewhere,” said Brodeur, who moved from Orange County, CA, for that exact reason. City officials know that along with mixed-used zoning, they want developers to literally pave the way by incorporating major arterials into their development plans that accommodate traffic in their planned communities as well as city-wide connectivity.
To provide more recreation space and contribute to Goose Creek’s sense of place, the plan calls for two key projects: a “Central Park” and a “Reservoir Park.” Plan respondents cited existing parks as one of Goose Creek’s finest assets. Creating recreational spaces and opportunities helps improve the health and well-being of its residents, and parks also increase property values.
Planning for a Bright Future
As Goose Creek is fairly young when it comes to the lifespan of a municipality, the community was pleased to get any kind of new development in recent years. “I believe Goose Creek is passing that threshold now,” Brodeur said. With the plan in place, the City hopes to attract developers who embrace this new model of growth. The Council has also created a set of economic development incentives meant to bolster infill, redevelopment and adaptive re-use of the City’s older commercial core.
City Council votes on the 10-year Comprehensive Plan on April 13 following a Council Workshop to be held on March 23 where the plan will be discussed in greater length. The City Planning Commission voted unanimously to endorse the Plan on March 2.