Rimer Pond meeting set for Jan. 31

BLYTHEWOOD – County Councilwoman Gwen Kennedy, who represents residents on Rimer Pond Road, has agreed to a community meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 31 at 6 p.m. at the Windermere Club in LongCreek Plantation. The meeting was called by residents in the area to discuss the proposed commercial rezoning at the intersection of Rimer Pond Road and Longtown Road. Councilman Chip Jackson and Council Chairwoman Joyce Dickerson have also been invited to the meeting.

Developer Hugh Palmer’s request for commercial zoning of a parcel at the intersection of Rimer Pond Road and Longtown West Road.

While Kennedy represents the residents on the road, she has steadfastly backed the Palmer family in their bid to bring commercial zoning to Rimer Pond Road. The Palmers have repeatedly, over the last five years, sought commercial zoning on 5.23 acres they own across from Blythewood Middle School. Two years ago, the parcel was on the market for $350,000 per acre.

When the zoning issue was heard by County Council in February, 2017, Kennedy was the only member of Council who voted for the Palmers’ commercial rezoning request. During that meeting the Palmers’ lobbyist, former Fairfield County State Representative Boyd Brown, and Kennedy left the meeting, walking out at about the same time and returning to their seats in the Chamber about 10 minutes later. Shortly after they returned, Kennedy made the motion to approve Palmer’s request, but was defeated when the other members of Council voted against it.

At the December 19 meeting, Kennedy made a motion that momentarily stunned the audience and council members as well.

“I’ve been listening to everything and I make a motion to deny (the rezoning request),” Kennedy said.

Another council member seconded the motion.

“The motion has been properly made and seconded,” Dickerson said. Then Kennedy looked toward the audience and appeared to exchange glances with Palmer.

“I’m sorry,” Kennedy said, appearing to realize her mistake, “I’m making a motion to defer it.”

“You want to remove your, uh…” Dickerson said, turning to Kennedy.

“I want to find out what people in this area want. I’m going to make a motion to defer this to the next meeting, uh, so that I can hear from some more of the residents because I’ve not heard from but a few. I’d like to hear. I move to defer this,” Kennedy said.

Without revisiting the original motion and second as would be required by Roberts Rules, Council passed the deferral 7-3.

At that point, Chairman Joyce Dickerson, who also represents part of the Blythewood area, threw the residents another curve by denying them another public hearing prior to the vote at the Feb. 27 meeting although Council rules allow multiple public hearings on an issue.

“I hope everyone in the neighborhood will be able to attend this very important community meeting at the Windermere Club and let our County reps know your views about commercial zoning in our neighborhood,” Trey Hair posted on his Facebook page, Keep It Rural.