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‘No error’ in Elgin zoning ordinance, says administrator

Posted: August 28, 2015 2:21 p.m.
Updated: August 31, 2015 1:00 a.m.

Randy Pruitt, Elgin’s zoning administrator, said the town made no error when it created zoning ordinance sections pertaining to non-conforming uses in Elgin’s overlay district.

Pruitt made that assessment during an Elgin Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Thursday. The zoning ordinance was brought into question in reference to Blaney Fireworks, owned by Elgin Town Councilwoman Dana Sloan’s husband, Jason.

Commission Chairman Jim Crosby opened the meeting saying the commission wanted to address “as far as possible” whether there were any errors the commission might “want to go back and repair.”

But Pruitt said there were no errors and the ordinance sections were created as part of Elgin’s comprehensive plan.

“I’ve heard the word error before, there is no error in here … (the comprehensive plan) was a process that took about two years starting in 2010 after the 2010 census came out and told us all the information that we could possibly get for the town of Elgin,” Pruitt said.

Pruitt said numerous people were consulted in creating the requirements of the zoning ordinance with the purpose of having the town look attractive to potential businesses and residents.  

“It was a lot of people coming together to give ideas for the town in order to help it grow. So we pulled in engineers, we pulled in the community, council, planning and zoning, we pulled in Kershaw County representatives. The comprehensive plan is in line with Kershaw County and what their plans were to have for their entry ways coming into the county,” Pruitt said.

He noted the ordinance designated U.S. 1, Elgin’s Main Street, as an overlay corridor from town limit to town limit. A business located in the corridor, Pruitt said, would have to be abide by certain guidelines.

“We said, as a corridor, you have certain restrictions … because when you come in you have that one time to make that very first impression, that’s it,” Pruitt said. 

He said the zoning ordinance sections were created to enforce the requirements made by the comprehensive plan.

“When you develop a comprehensive plan, it is unenforceable in itself -- it is not an enforceable document, so you have to make your ordinance to compliment your comprehensive plan. Then you will have the enforcement and can go in the direction which your idea wanted,” he said.

Pruitt said there is also no error in a section of the ordinance dealing with a six-month dormant period. He said no business has been adversely effected by the ordinance.

“This document has been in effect for almost three years and no business has been adversely effected -- none. There is no projection of any business being affected. So, in a sense, it is working how it is designed to work. There is no error. Six months should remain six months and the permitted and non-permitted uses in the overlay should remain,” Pruitt said.

Another section of the ordinance concerning the overlay corridor includes fireworks stands as part of non-conforming uses and, therefore, does not allow them to be placed within it. However, Pruitt said there is a grandfather clause protecting Blaney Fireworks. Crosby more specifically said any future fireworks stands would not be protected and, therefore, could not be located in the overlay corridor.

At the end of the meeting, Crosby said he agreed with Pruitt’s points about the zoning ordinance sections.

 “The overlay plan is beneficial to the development of the town. We are a growing community and we want to have a very desirable place to live. I think we are business friendly and we are not in the business of putting anyone out of business who has been here,” Crosby said. “At the same time, new businesses need to be aware that we have standards. We would like for them to conform to our vision as we describe it to be.”

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