Council OK’s Rezoning

BLYTHEWOOD – At a special called meeting and public hearing on Aug. 20, Town Council unanimously passed final reading of an ordinance to rezone 636 acres along Community Road for industrial use. The new zoning classification, Light Industrial-2 (LI-2) was requested by Richland County for an industry it says is interested in the site.

During the public hearing, only one person, Dwayne Bohannan, owner of Storage Express on Community Road, spoke to the rezoning.

“A few years ago we went through a rezoning process that was pretty taxing on the community,” Bohannan said. “Are we going to continue that pattern of rezoning? I’m concerned if the Town Center District is going to be considered for rezoning at some point (for more intense zoning). As a concerned citizen I’m worried that it (Town Center District) will be zoned to something else.”

Bohannan, whose storage facility is located in the town but not in the Town Center District, said he felt the industrial zoning for the 636 acres is a good use of the land, but he doesn’t want to see a new pattern of industrial zoning for properties in the Town Center District. When the Town Center Zoning was put into place several years ago, the Storage Express property, which was slated for Town Center District zoning, was allowed to stay out of the Town Center District and be zoned for Light Industrial use.

Neighbors Worried About Rezoning

During the public comment period at the end of the meeting, June Nutall and her daughter-in-law, Jessical Nutall, expressed concern to Council about the proposed rezoning of a newly annexed property located at 121 McLean Road. The owner of that property has asked for Town Center District zoning. Both women live on McLean Road and said they are concerned that some land uses permitted by the Town Center District might not be appropriate for the property in question.

Mayor J. Michael Ross told the Nutalls that the issue would be coming before the Town’s Planning Commission for a recommendation (to Council) on Sept. 1, and invited them to present their concerns to the Commission at that time. During Council’s July 27 meeting, Council members also expressed concerns as to whether Town Center District zoning would be appropriate on that same property, which is located across the road from the Town park.

Business Forum Rescheduled

It was announced that the second Town-sponsored Small Business Forum has been rescheduled from September to the first quarter of next year. Councilman Bob Mangone, who organizes the forums, also asked Council to allocate $3,100 to cover the costs of the next forum.

“But I would ask that the funds be allocated from the general fund and not from hospitality tax funds,” Mangone told Council.

He said he did not feel the statute governing allocation of hospitality funds provided for uses other than those that put people in the town’s hotels and restaurants.

“After I recently attended a workshop on this subject sponsored by the Municipal Association of South Carolina, I realized that we have not always invested these funds correctly, nor to the letter of the law,” Mangone told The Voice. “They are to be used for events that bring people to town overnight, people who will stay in our hotels and eat in our restaurants. While we will have participants from out of town for the forum, just as we do for other events, they will most likely not be staying overnight.”

New Town Fees Approved

Council also passed a new fee schedule for the Town, but not as proposed. It was suggested that the Town charge fees for review of the removal of certain landscaping plants and trees: $25 for residents, $500 for commercial lots and $1,000 for subdivisions. Council voted unanimously for the commercial and subdivision fees but chose not to charge any review fees for residents.

Community Leaders Recognized

Several community leaders and organizations were recognized by Council. Capt. Harry Stubblefield of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department was introduced as the new commander of Region 6. He will be located at the Region 6 headquarters on McNulty Road. Capt. Stubblefield said he has been in law enforcement for 37 years, 26 years of that time with the S.C. Highway Patrol. He was most recently assigned to the Richland County Courthouse.

Two of Blythewood’s new school principals were also introduced: Dr. Cheryl Guy at Westwood High School and Sean Bishton at Muller Road Middle School. Guy was previously the assistant principal at Westwood and Bishton was previously the principal at Rice Creek Elementary.

Mangone, on behalf of Council, presented a check for $2,500 to Jon Covert, treasurer of the Christian Assistance Bridge located on Blythewood Road. The donation is intended to provide assistance to the homeless in the Blythewood community.

Council will hold a workshop at 9 a.m., Sept. 15. The next regularly scheduled Town Council meeting is Sept. 28.


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