Saving the Sampit
The Sampit River, one of the shortest in the state, starts in a swampy area of rural western Georgetown County. The river winds east for 10 miles and joins the Black, the Great Pee Dee, and the Waccamaw Rivers, ultimately flowing into Winyah Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
For 80 years, Georgetown County saddled the Sampit and surrounding rural community with one industry after the other. In June 2017, County officials announced plans to do more of the same. They sought to rezone and purchase a 948-acre tract of rural land along the Sampit River. Georgetown County wanted to buy the site and later market, sell or lease it to heavy industry.
The Conservation League and the community have a better plan.
The Conservation League, the engaged local community along Pennyroyal Road and the SC Environmental Law Project oppose this rezoning. To save the Sampit and preserve the landscape of rural Georgetown County, we believe Georgetown County should develop a community-based plan that protects the river, wildlife and residents living nearby.
Our coalition has already made great strides. Initially, County Council unanimously supported the rezoning. In just 90 days, we turned the tide. In October, officials put the project on hold to collect and better understand community concerns and objections.
Our solution is simple.
The Conservation League and our partners suggest Georgetown County Council gather community input on issues like smart growth, traffic, water and air quality, and quality of life. Right now, Georgetown County is participating in a community planning process along the Waccamaw Neck with residents to make decisions about future development.
This type of planning will help unify our community around a common goal: To create a stronger future that honors the community’s unique pride of place. By agreeing on what the future should look like, we can pre-empt ill-conceived development and encourage smarter growth.