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KCC approves second reading of rezoning request

Posted: July 30, 2018 4:55 p.m.
Updated: July 31, 2018 1:00 a.m.

Kershaw County Council passed second reading of a request to rezone some 10 acres on Lake Wateree Road near Longtown Road in Lugoff during its July 24 meeting.

The property is part of a 26-acre parcel currently zoned MRD-1 (Conservation Resource District). The idea is to rezone 10 acres, bordered by Longtown Road and Wateree Dam Road, to GD (General Development) to allow for commercial use. Specifically, the request, made by Coastal Development Partners, is for the purpose of allowing a Dollar General store to be built there.

During the meetings of July 10 and 24, a number of residents spoke during public comment period to the rezoning. People who oppose the development have cited a number of concerns, including traffic, safety, future land use and potential environmental issues.

Craig Davis, a resident of the area, noted that the traffic count at the intersection, which is essentially the gateway to Lake Wateree from Lugoff, is 2,800 cars a day. He also pointed out that there are more than 16,500 Dollar General stores in 45 states and opening another one here would send a negative message.

“Rather than yet another common shopping location, it should highlight and emphasize this entrance to this unique premier fishing and boating destination,” Davis said. “The retail establishment proposed is anything but unique, nor premier, nor special … Rather than highlight this gem, such a decision (to rezone) would  embraces a principle that shopping convenience or other short-term factors are more important than long term asset preservation and enhancement. A significant advantage of Lake Wateree over that other lake on the western side of Columbia is the sense of separation and retreat gained from a drive that is rural, natural, uncluttered and largely untouched by time … Please preserve our specialness and not choose the path of commercial development where unique, significant, long-term interests apply, as here.”

About an equal number of people in support of the development have also appeared at council meetings. They state that having the Dollar General would not harm the area; and it would, in fact, be welcome by many who otherwise have to travel long distances to go to a grocery store.

“We would love to have it here,” Charles Atkins said.

“I encourage council to be progressive and move forward with this,” Randy Bowers said. “The entire county will benefit from it.”

The Planning Commission approved the request unanimously during its June meeting; council gave first reading approval of the rezoning during its July 10 meeting.

Councilman Sammy Tucker Jr., who voted in favor of the rezoning, said he has received telephone calls and spoken to at least four people; he has also been working with Councilman Al Bozard, the developer, and members of St. Matthew Baptist Church, which is located across from the property in question. They have scheduled a community meeting, to be held at St. Matthew Baptist at 5:30 p.m. today, to discuss the rezoning.

Councilman Al Bozard stated his continued opposition to the rezoning, but also said he will be attending the meeting and is open to discussion. He also encouraged people to attend the meeting and get the facts on this and any other issues in which they might have an interest.

He also noted that statements made regarding his operating a metal fabrication shop on his property is not true; that business has been shut down for more than seven years, he said. He also said statements that he has interests in a convenience store located near the area are also false.

“I don’t own the building or the property,” he said.

Council voted 6-1 in favor of the rezoning, with Council Chair Julian Burns, Councilmen Tucker, Dennis Arledge, Ben Connell, Tom Gardner and Jimmy Jones voting in favor and Bozard voting against.

Other business discussed:

• Council approved a motion made by Gardner to have County Administrator Vic Carpenter research the most cost effective way to start live streaming video of all council meetings.

• Council passed final reading of an ordinance authorizing execution of a first amendment to an option agreement between Kershaw County and Earnest Health Holdings.

• Council approved a contract in the amount of $604,500 to Armstron Contractors to build four new ball fields at the Kershaw West Recreational Facility.

• Council heard an update on an event, “Meet me at the River,” to be held Aug. 18 at the site of the proposed new riverfront park in Lugoff. There were some concerns voiced by council members, particularly Jones and Tucker, who said they received calls from several area businesses who were concerned that the county was hiring Fatz Café to provide food for the event.

Carpenter explained that the county had not hired anyone; Fatz had learned about the event via the county website and contacted the county administrator’s office to inquire about the possibility of sending a food truck to the event. As far as it goes, anyone who wants to participate certainly is welcome, he said.

Carpenter noted that there was some confusion because the event was conceived and planned quickly.

“We wanted to pick a day during the summer while the kids were still out of school and everyone would be more available to attend if they wished,” he said.

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