Council OK’s First Reading on Industrial Zoning

BLYTHEWOOD – Rezoning of a 600-plus acre site nestled between Ashley Oaks subdivision, Locklear Road, Northpoint Industrial Park and I-77 passed first reading by Town Council Monday evening to allow a wide variety of industries to set up shop.

Town Administrator Gary Parker introduced the rezoning request, which was recommended by the Town’s Planning Commission. Running along Community Road, the 638-acre property, was zoned in 2003 along with adjacent properties as the controversial Light Industrial Research Park (LIRP) and later rezoned to Development (D1).

“The parcel of land is owned by members of the Barnett family,” Parker said.

No discussion, opposition or questions were raised during first reading.

The Limited Industrial Two District (LI2) allows a wider variety and greater intensity of manufacturing uses than the Town’s current Limited Industrial District (LI), such as tire manufacturing, textile industries, testing laboratories and lighter industry and commerce. The zoning allows construction of facilities up to 100 feet tall, possibly 110 feet if permission is granted on a case-by-case basis by the Board of Zoning Appeals.

“This is something that has been recently reemphasized (by Council), something that we are asking for, more economic development,” Councilman Robert Mangone said.

The Town’s economic development consultant Ed Parler has previously told Council that Richland County has its eye on the property for an industry it says is interested.

“Be assured,” Parler told Council in April, “that if you establish this LI(2) zoning district, you will immediately receive a zoning request for LI(2) zoning for this 600-acre property and the applicant will be Richland County.”

Richland County Economic Development Director Nelson Lindsay was present at Monday night’s vote. The second and final vote to finalize the zoning is expected to be taken at the July 27 meeting.

Budget

An ordinance to adopt the Town’s 2015-16 budget was approved unanimously, though because of last minute changes this will not be the final cut.

“We must adopt the budgeted numbers that we published in the paper about a week ago,” Parker said. “We have now massaged those numbers, and the difference is $40,000 that has been added.”

A $1,301,286 annual capital, operating and enterprise fund budget for the fiscal year 2015-2016 was passed Monday evening, and the full budget of $1,341,286 to include the additional $40,000 will be on the agenda at the Council’s next meeting.

Parker said the budget “includes significant expenditures for VC3 (IT technology) and SmartFusion (accounting software) as the Town moves its operations into the ‘cloud’ and the ever-changing smart world of technological advances. There is no doubt that these expenditures improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Town’s operations and that, in turn will result in lower costs and improved services to citizens.”

A public hearing on the content of the budget was held, but no citizens spoke.