§ 156.054  IMPACT ASSESSMENT.
   (A)   Purpose and intent. The purpose of an impact assessment shall be to provide a basis for assessing a proposed major development project's favorable or unfavorable impact on the town's overall environment and infrastructure, with an emphasis on transportation, drainage and service provision.
   (B)   Minimum threshold requirements.
      (1)   New development of land.  An impact assessment shall be required when one or more of the following conditions are met:
         (a)   The proposed development is comprised of residential uses that are projected to generate more than 75 peak hour vehicle trips.
         (b)   The proposed development is comprised of 40,000 square feet or more of nonresidential area, and is projected to generate more than more than 75 peak hour vehicle trips.
         (c)   The proposed development is comprised of a combination of residential and nonresidential uses such that the residential component only is projected to generate more than 75 peak hour vehicle trips, and the nonresidential component consists of 40,000 square feet or more of area.
         (d)   Projected peak hour vehicle trips shall be determined by the Zoning Administrator in consultation with the Transportation Director.
         (e)   Calculations of total square footage of open venues for entertainment, recreation, and civic uses, such as but not limited to, playing fields, amphitheaters, or concert lawns, shall include the open area square footage.
      (2)   Redevelopment of improved property.  An impact assessment shall be required for redevelopment projects when the net increase in both peak hour vehicle trips and building square footage meets the threshold requirements as noted above. The impacts assessed shall be predicated only upon the net increase of peak hour vehicle trips and building square footage.
   (C)   Zoning requests.
      (1)   Requests for zoning of property proposed for annexation or rezoning requests for property located within the municipal limits that are in compliance with the future land use recommendation of the Comprehensive Plan, and for which no specific development plan is contemplated, do not require submittal for impact assessment approval in conjunction with the zoning/rezoning request.
      (2)   However, if a specific development plan is contemplated that will require impact assessment approval, the impact assessment may be submitted in conjunction with the zoning/rezoning request.
   (D)   Project phasing.
      (1)   The subdivision of a project into development phases, or any staging proposals (irrespective of ownership), shall not void the requirement of an impact assessment for the overall project.
      (2)   In phased development projects, additional impact assessments may be required, if the proposed development phase meets any of the minimum threshold requirements.
      (3)   The determination for additional impact assessment submittals shall be made by the Zoning Administrator at the time of the developer's additional plan approval request.
   (E)   Data submission requirements. The assessment shall be prepared by qualified professionals pursuant to checklist forms devised and provided by the Department of Planning and Development, and shall include, but is not limited to, the following information:
      (1)   Conceptual plan.  The impact assessment shall be submitted with a conceptual plan, the requirements of which shall be compiled in a checklist by the Department of Planning and Development, and may be subject to alteration from time to time, as deemed necessary.
      (2)   General description of proposed major development project. Provide a general written description of the proposed major development project. Include in this description the proposed phases of development or operation and facility utilization, target dates for each of these, and date of completion. In addition, indicate the site size, development staging, and appropriate descriptive measures of the proposed project.
         (a)   Describe the relationship of the proposed development to the Town Comprehensive Plan's objectives and policies.
         (b)   Also indicate the relationship to existing or proposed plans for public facilities, such as parks and recreation, schools, transportation, wastewater treatment, and the like.
         (c)   Describe the relationship of the proposed project to any of the town's special area management plans.
      (3)   Specific impacts.
         (a)   Public facilities; water supply and wastewater management.  Identify projected average daily potable water demands at the end of each development phase, and specify any consumption rates that have been assumed for the project, and provide a description of the volume and characteristics of effluents.
         (b)   Public facilities; drainage.  When the proposed project equals or exceeds ten acres of land as described herein above, provide the following minimum requirements to adequately determine the impacts from changes to the stormwater characteristics of the land:
            1.    Current drainage pattern of the property, which shall include topographic information represented with one-foot contours;
            2.   Sub-watershed map identifying significant drainage features within the nearest receiving waterbody drainage basin;
            3.   When repetitive flood losses have been documented on FEMA reporting forms within the sub-watershed basin, provide a hydrology analysis that demonstrates no change in conditions upstream or downstream from the proposed development;
            4.   Water quality plan describing how the impairment will be addressed during and after construction, when the receiving waterbody contains a total maximum daily loading (TMDL) restriction, or when an impaired monitoring station that is identified on the SCDHEC 303d list.
         (c)   Public facilities; transportation. The following procedures shall be used to identify traffic impacts and mitigation strategies associated with the proposed development project and may be referred to as the “Traffic Impact Assessment Process.”
            1.   Purpose.  The purpose of this division is to establish a process allowing town staff and officials to better understand the relationship between new development and the existing and proposed transportation infrastructure. It will provide a highly detailed analytical tool for the identification of transportation deficiencies and corresponding mitigation strategies addressing the impacts related to new development. The described analysis and resulting mitigation strategies are predicated upon an accepted operational Level of Service D for suburban population areas, as recommended in the town's adopted Transportation Plan as included in the current Comprehensive Plan of the town.  It is not intended to provide justification for the denial of individual development projects, per se, based solely upon the inability to provide an operational Level of Service D to all roadway segments identified as the transportation influence area described herein.
            2.   Project initiation.  To engage in the formal traffic impact assessment review process, the developer must obtain a Traffic Impact Assessment Application package from the Town Transportation Engineer, schedule a pre-application meeting, and ultimately complete the application. The package will contain a description of the review process, a checklist of required information, and a Transportation Impact Assessment Data Form.
            3.   Pre-application meeting and Preliminary Staff Review.
               a.   Prior to the submission of a development application, a developer shall meet with staff. It is not necessary for the developer to complete the Transportation Impact Assessment Data Form prior to the pre-application meeting, but having the requested information readily available will make the meeting more productive.
                  (i)   During the pre- application meeting, the developer must identify the type of development and size; access requirements; land use types and densities; project phasing; and the anticipated build-out year for the proposed development. The developer shall also present any available construction plans, concept drawings or figures of the proposed development.
                  (ii)   Developers shall also request any needed clarifications of the remaining process. Town staff shall provide guidance concerning the transportation impact assessment process and assist in identifying any additional information that is required.
               b.   In addition to the pre-application meeting, submittal of an Impact Assessment for Preliminary Staff Review is required on or before the deadline date specified on the Annual Meeting Schedule.
                  (i)   Incomplete submit- tals shall be returned to the Applicant without acceptance by the Town for review. Impact Assessments submitted for Preliminary Staff Review are not required to include a complete traffic study, but traffic summaries and anticipated mitigation should be provided for review.
                  (ii)   Department of Planning and Development staff shall review the Impact Assessment and provide written comments to the Applicant prior to the next Planning Commission application deadline. Staff shall also schedule a meeting with the Applicant to review these written comments, with such meeting to occur prior to the next Planning Commission application deadline.
            4.   Transportation Impact Assessment Data Form.
               a.   Once the pre-application meeting is complete, the developer must submit a complete Transportation Impact Assessment Data Form to town staff. The purpose of the Impact Assessment Data Form is to provide town staff with sufficient information regarding the proposed development to determine if an impact assessment is required, and what the general impact of the development may be on the transportation system. The Impact Assessment Data Form will include, at a minimum, the following information:
                  (i)   Name, address, and phone number of the owner, agent and developer of the property;
                  (ii)   Name, address, and phone number of the qualified transportation professional conducting the transportation impact analysis;
                  (iii)   Name of the proposed development;
                  (iv)   The location of the development (including a location map clearly showing the roadways adjacent to the proposed project);
                  (v)   A description of the proposed project, including a site plan, total developed area, types of land uses, and land use densities (i.e. gross square footage of building space, dwelling units, employees);
                  (vi)   A brief narrative describing the project, including phasing of the project, anticipated build-out year, and access requirements; and
                  (vii)   Trip generation characteristics.
               b.   The layout and content of the form may be periodically modified to ensure that town staff is requesting and obtaining the data that is necessary for the preliminary impact assessment review.
               c.   Town staff shall determine if the Transportation Impact Assessment Data Form is complete and notify applicants appropriately. Only proposed developments that have submitted complete impact assessment data forms at least eight weeks prior to the anticipated Planning Commission meeting will be carried forward in the current batch of projects.
            5.   Preliminary impact assessment review.
               a.   Review process.
                  (i)   For those projects that are carried forward in the process, town staff shall conduct a preliminary review of the proposed development and provide the applicant with the results.
                  (ii)   Applicants will not only receive the preliminary review results from their own proposal, but also those for other proposals currently under review for approval.
                  (iii)   This will enable applicants to address the impacts of other proposals currently under review for approval in their traffic impact study reports.
               b.   Travel demand models and capacity spreadsheets.  Town staff shall use travel demand models and capacity spreadsheets in conducting the preliminary impact reviews, using the travel demand modeling computer program known as QRS.
               c.   Process.
                  (i)   Using QRS travel demand models, town staff shall estimate traffic volume changes on the surrounding road network resulting from each proposed development. The surrounding roadway network is comprised of the major transportation facilities, as identified in the adopted Transportation Plan, and consists of 76 separate roadway segments. Using the land use densities (i.e. dwelling units, square footage, employment data) and/or estimated vehicles trips included with the Transportation Impact Assessment Data Form, town staff shall modify the travel demand model to include the proposed development. Staff shall have QRS estimate the number of trips based on socioeconomic data or, if data is provided on the data form, define the proposed development as a point generator and enter the total number of trips originating from that point. Based on the location of the proposed development, staff shall modify the data for the appropriate Traffic Analysis Zone (TAZ) within the model. The model can then estimate the number of trips and distribute/assign the trips onto the surrounding road network.
                  (ii)   Once staff has modified and run the travel demand models, modeled volumes will be imported into a capacity analysis spreadsheet. The capacity spreadsheets indicate the maximum capacity of roadway segments and track the consumption of capacity by existing volumes and volumes attributable to approved or proposed developments. Maximum capacities shall be calculated using Highway Capacity Manual methodology.
                  (iii)   Volumes used for capacity evaluation are calculated by applying modeled growth percentages to existing counts. Modeled volumes for the most recent year for which counts are available shall serve as the base values for estimating modeled growth percentages. To assess the impacts of proposed development on the road network, it is necessary to compare modeled volumes to those estimated for developments that have been approved but not yet constructed. Growth percentages shall be calculated for two conditions, approved projects and proposed projects. (Proposed developments that are pending approval by the Planning Commission or Town Council will be considered as approved for reviews of the group of projects undergoing preliminary impact reviews.) The percent growth in modeled volumes shall then be applied to existing traffic counts and converted to p.m. peak hour volumes, using existing peak hour factors and directional splits. These volumes will then be compared to existing roadway capacities in order to identify any potential roadway deficiencies resulting from the proposed development.
                  (iv)   After reviewing the results of the capacity analysis spreadsheets, town staff will define the minimum area of influence to be used in conducting a detailed Traffic Impact Study for the proposed development. The minimum area of influence shall be defined by identifying all road segments with volumes attributable to the development exceeding 2% of the road segment's available LOS D capacity.
                  (v)   Staff will notify the developer as to the limits of the Traffic Impact Study Area, and any other analysis requirements to be included in the traffic impact study prepared by the developer. An example of other analysis requirements could include a.m. peak period analysis in the vicinity of a school site to address operational and safety concerns, such as signal provision/coordination or turn lane additions.
            6.   Traffic Impact Study.
               a.   Study area/minimum requirements.  The Traffic Impact Study Area shall be comprised of all areas with adverse links. ADVERSE LINKS are defined as roadway segments in which the projected trips added to the existing volume and committed trips (E + C) exceed the LOS D capacity  for that link. Based on the limits of the Traffic Impact Study Area and any other requirements specified by town staff, the developer shall conduct a detailed traffic impact study for the proposed development. The methodology and procedures used in the traffic impact study must be in accordance with accepted engineering practices of the state and approved by town staff. At a minimum, the Traffic Impact Study must include a summary of the trips the development will generate, capacity analysis of the intersections and roadway segments contained within the study area, identification of any roadway deficiencies caused by the development, and proposed improvements for mitigating transportation network deficiencies, if applicable.
               b.   Application timeframe.
                  (i)   Once the Traffic Impact Study has been completed, it shall be submitted, along with other required documentation, to the town as part of the Transportation Impact Assessment Application package.
                  (ii)   The Transportation Impact Assessment Application package will not be accepted earlier than 14 days from the time staff provides reports from the preliminary impact reviews.
            7.  Traffic Impact Assessment Application.
               a.   The Traffic Impact Assessment Application package must include a completed Transportation Impact Assessment Data Form, site plan/construction drawings, a description of land use types and densities, access requirements, the Traffic Impact Study Report, and other information discussed in the pre-application meeting.
                  (i)   Application packages will be reviewed in the order they are received, based on time stamps that will be applied upon confirmation of receipt of a complete package.
                  (ii)   Town staff shall determine that the developer has submitted a complete application package.
                  (iii)   Only proposed developments that meet established deadlines for completed application packages will be carried forward in the current batch of projects.
                  (iv)   Projects that meet deadlines for the transportation impact assessment data form, but fail to meet application package deadlines, shall begin the impact assessment process from the start.
               b.   A complete application package will include estimates of the number of trips generated by the proposed development, including, if appropriate, the estimated amount of vehicle trips generated by the proposed development for each phase of the development and at build-out. The estimated number of vehicle trips must be calculated for total daily and p.m. peak hours, using the procedures outlined in the ITE Trip Generation Handbook.
                  (i)   Vehicle trips will be estimated using either ITE trip rates or formulas contained in the latest edition of the ITE Trip Generation Manual.
                  (ii)   Any other methods used for estimating vehicle trips must be approved by the Town Transportation Engineer prior to submitting the application package.
               c.   The application package must include a detailed summary of the proposed land use types and associated densities, ITE land use codes, ITE trip rates/formulas, a table summarizing the total daily and p.m. peak hour vehicles trips generated by the proposed development by phase and build-out.
                  (i)   A distribution of the number of vehicle trips entering and exiting the development must be provided for the p.m. peak hour.
                  (ii)   A table summarizing assumed internal trip capture rates and pass-by trips, if applicable, should also be provided by the developer.
                  (iii)   A brief narrative describing any assumptions made regarding the estimation of vehicle trips, distribution, internal capture, and pass-by trips will be included with the application package.
            8.   Staff review period.
               a.   While town staff shall estimate the impacts of proposed developments individually during the preliminary impact assessment review, recommendations to local officials shall be based on the aggregate effects of all projects in the current group of projects under review. (For the aggregate analysis, only projects that have been previously approved by the Planning Commission are considered “approved.”) Staff recommendations must be developed, considering the information contained in the completed application packages and the analysis of the aggregate impacts. Town staff must analyze the current proposed projects as a group, using QRS models and capacity spreadsheets, according to the following significance and adversity testing methodology.
                  (i)   Significance. The significance level is defined by the general use of 2% of LOS D capacity for a given roadway link. When projected trips on any given link exceed the 2% threshold, trips on the link are considered significant. Provided, however, that trips on a link that already exceed the LOS D capacity shall be exempt from consideration for mitigation, other than site-specific safety and operational features, such as the provision of turn lanes and/or signalization improvements.
                  (ii)   Adverse.  Adversity on any given roadway link is achieved when project trips added to the existing volume and committed trips (E+C) exceed LOS D for that link.
                  (iii)   Mitigation.  Mitigation will be considered when project trips are both significant and adverse with respect to each affected roadway link, as illustrated in the following scenarios:
                     aa.   Scenario 1.  Project trips do not exceed the 2% threshold, but with the addition of project trips the link becomes adversely affected. This represents adversity, but not significance. This will likely happen when a link is already very close to the LOS D capacity with the E+C trips. Mitigation is not recommended;
                     bb.   Scenario 2.  Project trips exceed the 2% threshold, but adding them to the E+C trips does not exceed the LOS D capacity. This represents significance, but not adversity. Mitigation is not recommended;
                     cc.   Scenario 3.  Project trips exceed the 2% threshold (significance). The E+C trips do not exceed the LOS D capacity, meaning the link is currently not adverse with existing plus committed trips. However, when project trips are added to the E+C trips, the LOS D capacity is exceeded and the link becomes adverse due to the project trips. Mitigation is recommended;
                     dd.   Scenario 4.  Project trips exceed the 2% threshold (significance). The E+C trips already exceed the LOS D capacity, meaning the link is already adverse with existing plus committed trips. Mitigation shall be limited to site- specific safety and operational features (such as the provision of turn lanes and/or signalization improvements).
                  (iv)   Other mitigation circumstances.  It is important to emphasize that, since the analysis is predicated upon each link in the roadway network, it may be that certain links in the area of influence are already deficient (LOS E or F) and may only require mitigation to remedy site- specific operational and safety concerns, but at the same time, other links in the area of influence may become deficient as a direct result of additional project trips and, therefore, require additional mitigation improvements.
               b.   Town staff shall review the application and present recommendations to the Planning Commission. Staff shall review the traffic impact study and compare it to the results of its own analyses. Based on their review, staff will determine if any additional analysis is required. If the town determines that additional analysis is required, the developer may be requested to revise the application and/or the traffic impact study accordingly. Once town staff has completed their review, they will evaluate the need for mitigation projects to address impacts as a result of the development.
            9.   Mitigation projects.
               a.   Based on staff's review of the development and recommendations contained in the traffic impact study, town staff may recommend transportation improvements necessary to mitigate identified negative impacts. If improvements are required, town staff can provide a list of roadway segments that were identified as being below LOS D due to the proposed development. The town will enter negotiations with the developer to identify transportation system improvements that mitigate the impact of the proposed development on the identified set of roadway segments. Site-specific mitigation efforts, such as additional turn lanes or storage modifications, may also be required, even though the project may not cause a LOS failure on roadway segments.
               b.   On individual roadway links where existing volumes currently exceed the Level of Service D capacity, or on individual roadway links where existing and committed demand volumes exceed the Level of Service D capacity, mitigation improvements shall be limited to remedy site-specific safety and operational concerns.
               c.   The provision of all or a portion of mitigation improvements shall be limited to the proportionate share of demand generated by the proposed development. When mitigation embodies improvements identified in the town's current Transportation Capital Improvement Plan, an appropriate credit will be given towards the development project's transportation impact fee.
               d.   If town staff and the developer agree on a set of improvements, such agreements will be documented and included in the application package.
                  (i)   If an agreement cannot be reached regarding what improvements should be implemented with the development, the developer may request to present the development proposals to the Planning Commission.
                  (ii)   Town staff will also present their recommendations and findings to the Planning Commission.
            10.   Graphic illustration of process.
               a.   The following figure illustrates the Transportation Impact Assessment approval process:
               b.    The graphic illustrates the anticipated approval timeframe for the Transportation Impact Assessment process.
                  (i)    Submittal deadlines for complete Impact Assessment Data Forms and Impact Assessment Applications must be met to keep the review process on schedu le.
                  (ii )    Staff review timeframes are predicated upon best estimates, but are tentative and may be extended, based upon such factors as project size, complexity of analysis, and similar factors.
                  (iii)   The rationale is that the applicant controls the scope of development, and staff must be allowed sufficient time to conduct and review analysis and mitigation alternatives.
            11.   Development approvals and construction/denial. Development approvals and construction shall be in accordance with divisions (H) and (I) below, and the following:
               a.   Once the project has been approved, the developer will follow established town development procedures for construction projects, including obtaining permits;
               b.   Development approvals may be contingent upon the developer making certain transportation improvements.
                  (i)   In order to obtain a building permit, the developer may post a financial guarantee suitable to the town, in an amount of one and one half times the amount of the cost of construction of the improvements.
                  (ii)   The certificate of occupancy may be withheld until all contingent transportation improvements are completed.
            12.   Provisions for phasing required improvements.  Include a description of how phased improvements will occur during the development process, identifying when specific improvements will be accomplished and the entity responsible for the same.
         (d)   Police, fire, recreation and public services.
            1.   Provide a description of how the proposed project will affect basic town services in general;
            2.   To the extent possible, relate service provisions to appropriate standards, i.e. personnel, service area, facilities and equipment and the relationship to adopted plans (e.g., Recreation Master Plan), if applicable. Examples include such analysis as police officers per 1,000 population, nearest fire station, the necessity for additional garbage trucks to serve the development, and the like;
            3.   Indicate method of solid waste collection, either public or private, in text, and describe pertinent factors such as aggregated individual receptacles or common collective receptacles. Graphically depict location on conceptual plan and address applicable access requirements.
         (e)   Education.  Provide an assessment of impact on the school system, to include projection of school age children by type of school and attendance zone.
         (f)   Cultural, archeological and environmental resources.
            1.   Describe the impact of the proposed project on relevant cultural, archeological and environmental resources, particularly as it relates to displacement or alteration of the same as a result of drainage improvements and land disturbance for development.
            2.   Indicate tree removal on conceptual plan.
         (g)   Fiscal/economic considerations.
            1.   Provide an analysis of the estimated average annual ad valorem tax yield from the proposed project during each phase of development. Indicate assumptions and standards utilized, including but not limited to, assessed value, exemptions, millage rate, and the like.
            2.   Provide totals for other applicable fees, such as impact fees, permit fees and plan review fees.
         (h)   Housing.  Provide a breakdown of the proposed residential units, by price or rental range; and the type of unit, such as single-family, duplex, townhouse, and the like, and assess the potential of the proposed development to meet local housing needs.
         (i)   Letters of coordination.  Based upon the necessity of addressing particular concerns of a given project, letters of coordination from various departments, agencies or other entities referenced herein may be required to adequately assess specific impacts. This determination will be made by planning staff at the pre- application meeting.
   (F)   Verifiable results.
      (1)   The Planning Director shall review the impact assessment and all supporting data for accuracy, verification, and completeness. Toward this end, he or she may conduct field investigations and “in-house” studies, including verification of pertinent material by independent consultants, if deemed appropriate.
      (2)   Upon a finding that the required data and information are complete, accurate, and in proper form, the Planning Director shall refer the assessment for further consideration by the Planning Commission and the Town Council, as required by ordinance. If it is found the survey is incomplete with respect to data and information requirements or that the data and information submitted contains significant errors of fact, the assessment shall be returned to the applicant with an itemized statement of the deficiencies and/or inaccuracies to be corrected.
   (G)   Unacceptable negative impact.
      (1)   Where negative impacts are identified, the Town Council shall, upon the report and recommendation of the Planning Commission, determine if, given the goals of the Comprehensive Plan,  these impacts are acceptable and in the public interest.
      (2)   The Council may request the developer to mitigate negative impacts that are deemed to be unacceptable.
      (3)   If satisfactory mitigation cannot be achieved, the town may deny the impact assessment approval request as submitted.
   (H)   Acceptable impact.
      (1)   The finding of an acceptable impact is a prerequisite to approval of major development project as defined by this section.
      (2)   Such finding shall be noted on the approved site plan.
   (I)   Time limitation.
      (1)   Vested rights.  Impact assessments shall be vested for a period of two years, subject to the rights and restrictions contained within § 156.049 (Vested Rights). Should the property owner fail to exercise these provisions or allow the vested right to otherwise lapse, the following provisions may apply.
      (2)   Residential projects.  Approval of an impact assessment for residential construction shall become null and void if site work predicated upon an approved preliminary plat has not commenced within the two-year timeframe, or if the preliminary plat approval authorizing the installation of improvements should become void pursuant to § 155.023(E).
      (3)   Nonresidential projects.  Approval of an impact assessment for commercial, mixed use, or multi- family development shall become null and void if a building permit predicated upon an approved site plan has not been issued within the two-year timeframe. The issuance of a building permit, in and of itself, shall not be deemed to fulfill the time limitation requirement, but must be followed by construction progressing in a timely manner toward project completion.
      (4)   Notwithstanding the provisions of divisions (2) and (3) above, if a valid wetlands disturbance permit that has been filed with the proper authorities, pursuant to and at the approximate same time as impact assessment approval is pending a final decision; the time limitation shall be tolled until the final decision has been rendered.
      (5)   If construction improvements lapse for a consecutive period of six months or more from the initial date of commencement, the Director of the Department of Planning and Development may require an update of the impact assessment. The duration of a lapse in construction improvements shall be determined by the Director of the Department of Planning and Development.
('81 Code, § 155.24) (Ord. passed 8-13-79; Am. Ord. 93066, passed 2-8-94; Am. Ord. 99012, passed 4-21-99; Am. Ord. 99068, passed 1-11-00; Am. Ord. 01013, passed 5-8-01; Am. Ord. 02024, passed 6-11-02; Am. Ord. 02068, passed 1-14-03; Am. Ord. 05035, passed 6-14-05; Am. Ord. 11049, passed 7-12-11; Am. Ord. 12080, passed 12-11-12; Am. Ord. 14047, passed 8-12-14; Am. Ord. 16082, passed 10-11-16)  Penalty, see § 156.034