After receiving input from dozens of residents during a series of public meetings this month, Georgetown County Council has used that feedback to create an updated redistricting plan.
The new map, known as “Map 509” (so named because the standard deviation for the new map is 5.09%) was unveiled during last night’s Georgetown County Council meeting. It is available for public review at gtcounty.org/redistricting and will be presented to the public during a fourth and final public input meeting set for 6 p.m. Feb. 2 at Howard Auditorium. For those who cannot attend in person, the meeting will be livestreamed on the County’s YouTube channel. County Council is scheduled to have a public hearing and give third and final reading to a redistricting plan at its Feb. 8 meeting.
Map 509 is the fourth redistricting map presented to Council. Two maps – Map 777 and Map 843 – were drafted by the State office of Revenue and Fiscal Affairs (RFA), and delivered to Council in mid-December. Council directed county staff to use its favorite of the two, Map 843, to draft a third map, 843A. It was that map that was primarily presented to the public and which this most recent map improves upon.
Highlights of Map 509
The most significant differences between Map 843A and Map 509 are that the new map has a significantly larger minority population in Council District 4 and a majority of the City of Georgetown are brought back into one district. These were the two changes most requested by residents based on public input.
In Map 509:
- The minority population in District 4 increases to 42.29%, up from 22.74% in Map 843A, making the council district a “minority influential” district.
- The standard deviation decreases to 5.09%, down from 7.13% in the previous version. One of the primary goals of redistricting is to ensure equal representation for all voters, and the lower the standard deviation, the more effectively that goal is being achieved.
- More of Georgetown’s West End and Maryville community are included in District 4. The communities were kept together in the same district “to the maximum extent possible,” said Stephen Williams, the county’s GIS manager.
- Wedgefield is moved back to District 7.
- The West End from the railroad tracks on Highmarket St. south to Front Street is in District 3. The area west of Congdon St. is in District 3. In the previous map, none of the West End was included in District 4.
- The area from the Sampit River to Nine-Mile Curve and south of Saints Delight Rd. are in District 3.
- There were only very minor changes to the boundary between Districts 5 and 7.
- Districts 7 and 3 remain “minority majority” districts, though the percentage of minority population is lower than in Map 843A. The minority population in District 7 is 57.6%, down from 63.02%. The minority population in District 3 is 59.62%, down from 70.01%.
All four versions of the redistricting plan and associated draft maps are available for viewing in detail through the county’s GIS system at gtcounty.org/redistricting. The site also contains a video tutorial on how to use the GIS system.