HARTSVILLE, S.C. — The Hartsville City Council on Tuesday gave final approval to an ordinance to zone just over 50 acres behind the current Walmart property off Hartsville Crossing for development.

The vote came during the council’s first regular meeting of the new year.

A developer is planning to build a 32-unit apartment complex on the site in the first phase of development.

Three pieces of property, ranging in size from 6.28 acres to 31.85 acres, make up the 50.13 acres.

Initially, the project will consist of construction of two apartment buildings, each two stories and each with 16 apartments, according to plans presented last August.

The complex will include a playground and a clubhouse, according to early plans. Two detention ponds to handle stormwater drainage will be enclosed with chain-link safety fencing. The building’s footprint will include a parking lot.

The project will include extension of an existing partial road off Hartsville Crossing that will connect the complex to Hartsville Crossing, according to the site plan approved last year by the Hartsville Planning Commission. The planning commission recommended a zoning designation to allow for the development project.

The city annexed the property into the city limits last September at the request of the developer.

City officials say the apartments will help meet the need for more affordable housing in Hartsville.

In other business, the council heard a presentation about the importance of participation by Hartsville residents in the coming 2020 U.S. Census. Census forms will be mailed on March 12 and will begin arriving in mailboxes through March.

Reminders will be mailed throughout March and April, according to local census worker Ruth Baronda. “I’m a retired math teacher, so numbers are important to me,” Baronda said.

In addition to mailings, census workers will fan out door to door across communities to reach out to people who do not initially respond to the mailed census surveys, she said.

Residents will be able to respond to the census survey by mail, telephone and online, Baronda said.

Baronda said participation in the census is important to local communities like Hartsville and Darlington County because billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated based on census data.

Job opportunities related to the census will also be available for local residents who meet qualifications, Baronda said.

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