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Council denies rezoning request

Posted: February 19, 2018 5:34 p.m.
Updated: February 20, 2018 1:00 a.m.

Kershaw County Council denied a first reading request to rezone 93 acres in Lugoff during its Feb. 13 meeting.

The property, located on Friends Neck Road in Lugoff, is bordered by Lachicotte Road, the Pecan Orchard subdivision and the rest area on I-20 westbound. The request called for the property to be rezoned from Rural Development(RD) to R-15 residential.

Area residents, however, have opposed rezoning that property for more than a year, citing a number of concerns, most notably traffic safety issues. They also provided a petition with more than 250 signatures opposing the rezoning.

“The planning commission denied this rezoning a year ago,” Mike Borowski said. “This year, they split 4-3 on it… The developers have had a year to get out and talk with neighbors, but did nothing. We still have grave concerns about traffic and safety. There are businesses on either end of Lachicotte Road; it is already very busy.”

Developer Mitch McGuirt addressed council as well. He said the development group has been fully transparent throughout the process. The intent is not to build out the property to maximum density but to only build 137 homes. He added that the company has been in business some 30 years, is financial sound and responsible toward the community.

“We’re also talking about phased development -- not 137 homes immediately  --  but over several years,” he said.

He also said they are not taking traffic issues lightly and would have to comply with any and all mandates and standards the S.C. Dept. of Transportation comes up with as a result of traffic impact studies.

Later, during council’s discussion of the issue, Councilman Ben Connell noted the developer’s stated intent to limit the number of homes built to less than the maximum allowed and asked if such an agreement could actually be enforced or codified by council.

County Attorney Ken Dubose said that council was not actually being asked to vote on that issue, but to change the zoning designation.

After brief discussion, council ultimately voted 1-6, with Councilman Sammy Tucker Jr. being the lone vote in favor and Council Chairman Julian Burns and Councilmen Dennis Arledge, Al Bozard, Ben Connell, Tom Gardner and Jimmy Jones voting against it.

Other business discussed:

• Council unanimously passed a resolution identifying and inducing a proposed investment by Canfor Southern Pine, Inc. Specifically, the resolution allows the county administrator, attorney and economic development director to move forward with a five year fee in lieu of taxes agreement (FILOT) with Canfor. The company agrees to a minimum investment of $35 million over five years with an assessment ratio of 6 percent and a fixed millage rate of 324.4 mills over 30 years. Council had passed first reading, by title only, of the FILOT during its Jan. 23 meeting. At that time, Canfor was referred to only as “Project Saw.”

• Council passed second reading of an ordinance amending the county comprehensive plan.

• Council voted to discontinue maintaining Rainey Meadow Drive, a road located in The Timrod Community of Kershaw County. The landowners along the road, who are all members of the same family, are requesting that the county abandon the road and allow them to put up a gate to deter trespassers, as the road is in bad condition, nearly impossible to travel and washed out on one end. County Attorney Ken Dubose pointed out that council statutorily cannot abandon the road, as that process involves court proceedings required of the landowners.

• Council briefly discussed the Clean Community Commission, with a suggestion being made that council re-form it with each council member nominating a standing member from his district.

• Council heard presentations from Derial Ogburn regarding the Health Services District and from John Henderson of the S.C. Association of Counties, regarding a safety achievement award.

Kershaw County Council meets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27 in the County Government Center, 515 Walnut St., Camden. Meetings are open to the public.

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