Council Kills Flat Roof Ban

BLYTHEWOOD (Oct. 29, 2015) – On Monday evening, Town Council put the nail in the coffin on a proposal that would have prohibited flat roofs on new single-story buildings in the Town Center District. It was a win for Ed Parler, the town’s economic development consultant, who opposed the proposal.

Parler has said repeatedly in public meetings the last couple of months that prohibiting flat roofs on single story buildings and requiring parapets that conceal flat roofs on multi-story buildings in the Town Center District would deter business from coming to Blythewood. Council’s unanimous vote Monday evening paved the way for flat roofs on all buildings and removed the requirement for parapets to shield flat roofs on multi-storied buildings. It also repealed the multi-story requirement for new structures in the Town Center District.

Council also adopted an ordinance to allow the Town to participate in a program offered by the Municipal Association of South Carolina (MASC) which would authorize MASC to collect debts on behalf of the Town.

“While we don’t have many outstanding debts,” Town Administrator Gary Parker told Council, “we do have a few outstanding obligations owed to The Manor.”

Through the MASC debt collection program, the Town might be able to recover debts by attaching the debtor’s tax refund. While there is a small charge to the Town for MASC’s assistance in collecting the debt, that charge is paid by the debtor as part of the collection process.

After members of the Builder’s Association objected to a second reading last month of a proposed amendment to the Town’s Schedule of Fees Ordinance and the adopted Landscaping, Buffer Yards and Tree Preservation Ordinance, town officials met with the Association’s builder representatives David Tuttle, Eddie Yandle, Shane Alford and John Covert on Oct. 13 at Town Hall. The meeting resulted in two changes to the earlier proposed fee schedule amendment.

“One change is to make the plan review fee for commercial lots the actual cost of the review up to $500 and the fee for subdivision plan review the actual cost up to $1,000 as opposed to flat fees of $500 and $1,000,” Parker said.

Another proposal added a $25 fee for review of undeveloped lot plans. There will be no fee for occupied residential lot plan reviews for any proposed cutting down of trees on private occupied residential lots. The ordinance amendments passed unanimously.

Council also adopted new hourly fees for the sole use of these areas of Doko Park: Soccer Field and Amphitheater – $30 for residents and $35 for non-residents; Multi-Purpose Field – $25 for residents and $29 for non-residents.

Council passed a resolution authorizing Town Hall to sell surplus personal property via advertising for sealed biding. The items include a laptop and its software (value, $600), a commercial duty feed chipper for limbs and brush ($1,200), several tables and dollies ($1,400) and other items.

Council also approved appointment of Schweta Jani to the Town’s Accommodation Tax Committee. Jani and her father, Hitesh Jani, own and manage the Comfort Inn in downtown Blythewood.

In a final action, members of Council passed first reading of an ordinance to zone a 4.56-acre property at 121 McLean Road as Multi-Neighborhood Commercial (MC). MC zoning does not allow as intense development as the Town Center District, Parker said.

“Given the wetlands in the southeast corner of the property, approximately two acres will not be developed, providing a substantial buffer to the park and adjacent residents,” Parker added.

A public hearing and second reading on this ordinance will be held at the Nov. 30 Town Council meeting.