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Public meetings set for Camden BAR proposal

Posted: September 7, 2012 7:03 p.m.
Updated: September 10, 2012 5:00 a.m.

City of Camden staff is proposing to hold public input meetings on the proposed creation of a board of architectural review (BAR) to replace the current Camden Historic Landmarks Commission (CHLC). Camden City Council will discuss the proposed public meeting schedule during its work session at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

According to a memorandum from City Manager Kevin Bronson to council attached to Tuesday’s work session agenda, the city plans to advertise the following meetings, all of which will be held at Camden City Hall:

• Sept. 20, 6:30 p.m. -- public meeting on revised historic design guidelines the proposed BAR would use.

• Sept. 25, 4:30 p.m. -- Camden City Council work session with participation by the city’s historic preservation consultant.

• Sept. 27, 6:30 p.m. -- public input meeting on the proposed BAR ordinance.

“Once the public input meetings are concluded, the BAR ordinance and the design guidelines will be presented to the city council for additional discussion,” Bronson wrote in the memo.

Council has been considering transforming the CHLC into a BAR for some time, in part to meet requirements for Camden to be designated as a Certified Local Government (CLG). Becoming a CLG can provide Camden access to expert technical advice from the U.S. National Park Service’s (NPS) South Carolina historic preservation office and from the NPS itself. The city could also have the opportunity to tap into partnerships with the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions, Preserve America, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Main Street Center, according the NPS’ website.

Bronson also plans to use a portion of the work session to continue discussion on possible citizen surveys to assist council with its annual strategic planning. In another memorandum attached to the work session agenda, Bronson proposed working with the University of South Carolina Institute for Public Service and Policy Research. The institute worked with council on strategic planning in 2011 and this year.

Bronson said city staff would spend the next six to eight weeks working with institute staff to prepare the survey, to be made up of 95 questions and conducted by telephone. He indicated the entire survey process, including analysis, could be completed by Jan. 31, 2013.

Bronson will also discuss a pilot program to increase residential recycling. According to Bronson, some residents have expressed an interest in having larger containers for weekly recycling efforts. Some, he said, have even purchased their own additional containers to supplement those provided by the city. Staff is proposing to spend approximately $11,000 to purchase 160 65-gallon recycling containers -- some three and a half times larger than the current containers.

Bronson indicated the pilot program would be voluntary and offered to all city residents on first-come, first-served basis.

Tuesday’s work session will also include discussion on the city’s recent S&P bond rating, a Christmas Decoration Committee report and discussion of wholesale power.

Following the work session, council will meet in regular session beginning at 6:30 p.m. Items up for discussion are second reading of ordinances annexing various rights of way, amending the city’s zoning ordinance regarding affordable housing requirements, and assigning final GD (general development) zoning to the proposed Chick-fil-A location on West DeKalb Street; a resolution adopting the city’s new “Grab Life” branding campaign; and a bid award to MJL Inc. for $390,350 to upgrade the city’s Exxon pump station.

Council will also consider appointing either Nancy C. Wylie, a retired  educator; or J. Allen Roberts, a retired DuPont engineer and manager, to CHLC Seat No. 2 with a term to expire Aug. 31, 2014.

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