Edgefield County passes ‘Rapid Response’ incentive benefiting developers, promotes economic growth

EDGEFIELD COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – Edgefield County is starting the new year with new incentives to promote economic growth.

Time is money that’s why Edgefield County leaders are expediting the application process for developers, so they can get to building new subdivisions and creating more job opportunities.

Home for sale signs, double as signs of growth in Edgefield County.

County Administrator Tommy Paradise recognizes getting from a proposed rendering to a completed neighborhood is a paperwork heavy and time-consuming process.To get things moving along, Paradise says county council passed enacting a new ‘Rapid Response’ program.

“We’ll get back with you in 2 days,” Paradise told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “You send in your application and you are going to hear back from us.”

Getting back to developers quickly could be the difference between a new industrial park or one that sits vacant.

“When government gets bogged down, people find somewhere else to go.” Johnston City Mayor Terrence Culbreath told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

Streamlining the process for builders levels the playing field for Edgefield County to compete with surrounding municipalities looking to get in on cyber growth.

“Do you feel like an incentive like this is something developers take a second look at?” Asked NewsChannel 6’s Stefany Bornman.

“I think it’s become an expectation,” President and CEO of the Economic Development Partnership Will Williams said.

The 2 business day reply from county leaders doesn’t mean anyone is cutting corners. Paradise says laws and regulations will still be followed.

“Even if it’s not what you want to hear, even if it is we don’t have the answer right now, [developers will get] some kind of feedback.” Paradise told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

The memorandum will go before the Town of Johnston and City of Edgefield for approval.

The ‘Rapid Response’ program was approved by Edgefield County and City of Trenton.

Press release from Edgefield County Administrator Tommy Paradise: 

Edgefield County Develops ‘Rapid Response’ Program for Economic Development

Edgefield County has unveiled a new incentive in economic development: Providing an answer in two business days to those businesses and industries seeking to create jobs or housing developments.

This change, both in actual time and in a perspective, can give job creators and home builders a quicker path to executing their plans for development.

The Memorandum of Understanding, approved by the Edgefield County Council on January 9th, will now be sent to other entities to join this effort. Current, it includes Edgefield County Administration and Edgefield County Building and Planning Department, but will be sent for consideration to Edgefield County Water and Sewer Authority and the Towns of Edgefield, Johnston, and Trenton. Other utilities say they are responding to economic development needs quickly as well in Edgefield County.

Tommy Paradise, Edgefield County Administrator, noted that all the County and State organizations involved with permitting have always been customer-oriented and responsive. However, this new program provides for better communication between and among the groups, and gives them all a heightened awareness for working through permits and other issues as quickly as possible.

“Each of these organizations, plus others, has stepped up to say they are more than willing to turn around requests even more quickly than normal in Edgefield County to aid in our growth,” Paradise said. “They understand that for subdivision developers, industries, and commercial development, time is money. If we can reduce the time it takes to review preliminary work or questions, it becomes an important incentive to those who want to do business in Edgefield County.”

Each County and State entity has agreed to respond to the job and home creators within two business days, but depending on the size and complexity of the project, that response might be that additional information is needed, additional meetings may be necessary to discuss plans, or a discussion with the Edgefield County Planning Commission may be necessary, for example. The goal is to give answers quickly or tell them the next steps necessary so they can continue moving their projects forward.

Dean Campbell, Edgefield County Council Chairman, said the significance of this new program is that groups that have a direct role in the County’s economic development future now have a clearer focus in responding to those who want to come into our County.

“None of these economic development entities will cut corners or otherwise overlook important laws, regulations, or policies in responding,” Campbell said. “While many answers can be given in two business days or less, it also creates a mindset that Edgefield County is open for business and wants to ensure business and industry can get a running start here.”

While many cities and counties try to develop “one-stop” reviews, that approach is hard when the disparate groups are housed in many different locations, are required to review different topics, and have different laws and policies governing the work they must do.

“We already have a business-friendly environment,” Paradise said. “Now, we have a Rapid Response agreement that makes Edgefield County an even better place to do business.”

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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