Press Release | April 5, 2023

RV park threatens rare Dwarf Flowered Heartleaf 

Conservation group asks court to reverse approval of site plan 

SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. — Yesterday, the Southern Environmental Law Center filed an appeal on behalf of the South Carolina Native Plant Society to challenge the Spartanburg County Planning Commission’s conditional approval of the site plan for the T. Tree Farms RV Park in Campobello. The proposed site plan violates the County’s Unified Land Management Ordinance by harming an ecologically sensitive forest, clean water, and a rare and threatened species, the Dwarf Flowered Heartleaf. 

Located on Goldmine Creek, a high-quality Piedmont headwaters stream, the RV park would include 49 campsites, 86 parking spaces, a stormwater detention pond, and a septic field. The areas around this proposed RV park in Campobello are already protected by conservation easements. The County’s Unified Land Management Ordinance requires that RV park developments protect “ecologically sensitive areas” and “preserve natural features and landscape,” yet the developer’s site plan, which the commission conditionally approved, does not take into account the presence of the rare plant or the existence of ecologically sensitive areas, including important water resources and rich forest habitats. 

“This beautiful forest, clean stream, and very rare plant are important parts of Spartanburg County’s natural heritage,” said Frank Holleman, SELC senior attorney. “The County’s Ordinance requires that specific steps be taken to protect this important area, but the site plan approved by the Planning Commission would do real harm to this special place.”  

In South Carolina, the Dwarf Flowered Heartleaf exists only in a limited band of the upper Piedmont in Spartanburg, Cherokee, and Greenville Counties in rich, damp forests. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources considers it a “Highest Priority Species” in the South Carolina Wildlife Action Plan, and it has been listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act since 1989. In Spartanburg County, the Department of Natural Resources established the Peters Creek Heritage Preserve to protect one of the areas where this plant is found. 

“You can’t find this plant anywhere else in the world, and this development is not designed to protect this special plant and its habitat,” said Kathryn Ellis, president of South Carolina Native Plant Society. “We work to protect South Carolina’s natural heritage, including its important plants, and this site plan threatens these values that we all hold dear.” 

The appeal filed yesterday asks the Court of Common Pleas to reverse the Planning Commission’s decision and to vacate the conditional approval of the site plan for the RV Park. 

In addition to SELC’s appeal, homeowner associations and nearby landowners have also appealed the conditional approval of the site plan. The Circuit Court will decide both appeals. 

The South Carolina Native Plant Society is a non-profit organization committed to the preservation and protection of native plant communities in South Carolina. 

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Press Contacts

Rachel Chu

Communications Manager (SC)

Phone: 843-720-5270
Email: [email protected]