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New planning and development director will be at Aiken County Planning Commission meeting

September 20, 2018

Aiken County has a new planning and development director, and he will be at the Aiken County Planning Commission’s meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Aiken County Government Center.

Joel Duke has been on the job since Sept. 4. He formerly served as the planning director for the City of Prattville in Alabama for more than 20 years.

“I came here because I thought here was an excellent opportunity,” said Duke on Tuesday night after County Administrator Clay Killian introduced him to County Council during a work session prior to that panel’s meeting at the Government Center.

“This is an area of high growth and changing demographics, both close to Augusta and farther out into the county,” Duke continued. “After 22 years with the City of Prattville, I was looking for other opportunities and challenges.”

Prattville is about 14 miles northwest of Montgomery in central Alabama.

Duke has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Jacksonville State University.

“I’ve spent the last couple of weeks getting a feel for the county and a feel for the Planning and Development Department,” Duke said.

He added he plans to make “some adjustments and improvements” in how the department operates, but is pleased, in general, with what he has seen so far.

Prior to Duke’s arrival, Vickie Reynolds was Aiken County’s interim planning and development director. Stephen Strohminger left the director’s position last fall after accepting an offer to become the Community Development Director in Gilpin County, Colorado.

According to the agenda for the Planning Commission’s meeting Thursday, the panel will hear information about the impact of tiny houses from the Planning and Development Department’s staff. In addition, the staff will offer recommendations on possible amendments to Aiken County Land Management Regulations to address the issues concerning tiny houses.

Such residences are usually between 100 and 400 square feet in size and seldom exceed 500 square feet.

The Planning Commission also will consider a request for a preliminary plat approval for a subdivision development project known as Hitchcock Crossing Section 6. It would be located on 72.36 acres on Wando Ridge Road between Aiken and the Graniteville/Warrenville area.

The applicant is Schickedanz Bros. Ltd. and the engineer is Southern Partners Inc.

There would be 125 lots in Hitchcock Crossing Section 6.

The Government Center is at 1930 University Parkway. The Planning Commission’s meeting will be held in the Sandlapper Room.

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