Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Sarah Hanson is hard at work in her office going through a two-page checklist on a recent afternoon.
Ryland Homes has submitted a subdivision plan for their next phase. Hanson is reviewing the plan to make sure the lots are the size they’re supposed to be and the open space, buffers, required setbacks and minimum street lengths so fire trucks can turn around match up.
The city’s new planning director also checks on area wetlands, which are protected and restricted. Hanson calls the wetlands a great natural resource that gives the Lowcountry personality and character.
The section of property she’s reviewing will go toward the Brick Hope, Liberty Hall Plantation and Brick Hope Greens subdivisions on Adler Drive, Montague Plantation Road and Henry Brown Boulevard.
Hanson started working with the city of Goose Creek in 2008 as a planning technician and last year moved into the new position of zoning specialist. She became the acting planning director late last year after the position became open and earlier in February she was named full time planning director.
“They asked me if I wanted this position,” Hanson said. “Who would say no?”
Hanson grew up in North Carolina, went to Appalachian State University and worked for a real estate development company focusing on residential property, hotels and malls throughout the southeast.
Her husband and two children – who grew up in Goose Creek – moved to the area in 2002, when Hanson sold real estate in Goose Creek and joined the city’s Architectural Review Board.
“It’s a great place for a family,” she said. “We want to keep it that way . . . a small, family town. All of that laid the groundwork for being able to do this and have a vision for what to do from here on out.”
She worked closely with immediate past planning director Daniel Ben-Yisrael, whom she said started his own real estate consulting and planning business in the private sector.
“We are looking for someone to come in as a planning and zoning specialist to review all building permits and design, review and approve all of our residential communities,” Hanson said. “The most delicate thing I do is working as a zoning administrator, working with businesses and residents to help them adhere to our zoning ordinances.
“I serve as the staff member that facilitates our Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals and the Architectural Review Board. I work closely with engineers, architects and builders. I’m the contact when people have questions on permits.”
People often ask Hanson questions that involve trees – and when it’s permissible to take one down – or other zoning inquiries.
“We get a ton of phone calls from our businesses and residents,” she said. “I work with our boards to tweak zoning ordinances.”
Hanson researches other municipalities and finds out what works for Goose Creek.
“The thing I’m most excited about is the start of Carnes Crossroads,” she said. “It’s been on hold a few years because of the real estate dip.”
Carnes Crossroads has been permitted and approved, she said. There are three model homes from three builders on the property by the intersection of U.S.-176 and U.S.-17A.
“They’re plotting the next section in full force,” she said. “The whole concept of Carnes Crossroads is a mixed-use, thoughtfully-conceived community. We’ve been waiting for several years and it’s happening now. It’s springing to life.
Hanson is also happy with the recent improvements to the downtown business section.
“I’m excited to be part of such a good team here shaping what Goose Creek is going to be for the next 10 years or so,” she said. “Having been here for so long, that’s exciting to me. This is fun for me.
“So much of what we do is to walk people through the processes involved in certain things and make it easy on them. That’s part of our customer service.”