rural building at dusk

Modernizing Zoning Laws as Population Expands

Michael Lens, associate professor of urban planning and public policy, spoke to the Post and Courier about land use and zoning ordinances at the center of a dispute over a South Carolina turkey-shoot business. A neighbor’s complaint about the business — which invites customers to shoot at targets, with a turkey awarded to the best marksman —prompted a review of zoning decisions made decades ago. The turkey shoot was found in compliance with the law, which did not require a buffer between the gunfire and other properties and did not regulate hours of operation. But officials were left to ponder how to preserve the county’s character amid a rapidly growing population. The episode casts light on recurring frictions over land use ever since the U.S. began to rapidly suburbanize in the 1940s and 1950s. Governments have grappled with how to modernize zoning regulations to accommodate more development, Lens said. “It just involves a lot of trade-offs.”


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