Resident returns to rezoned land

WINNSBORO – Recognizing extenuating circumstances, Council voted 7 – 0 on the second of three readings to amend the Fairfield County Land Management Ordinance No. 599 in order to rezone a .036-acre property on Bishop Squirewell Road in Ridgeway from R-1 (Single Family Residential District) to RD-1 (Rural Residential District.) The property was recently purchased by Angela Young who told Council that she was from Fairfield County and had come back after 48 years and bought property in Ridgeway for a mobile home.

Young

“I had no idea that the property had been rezoned from what it used to be. When I went to the zoning office, they sent me to the assessor’s office where I paid all the taxes that needed paying. That office gave me a permit to move the mobile home on to the property,” Young told council. “I was then sent back to the zoning office and they sent me to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to get the mobile home registered in my name. I did that and took my paperwork back to the zoning department.” It was at that point, Young said, that she was told the property had been rezoned and that the new zoning would not allow a mobile home.

“I had already moved my mobile home onto the property and then I was told it was there illegally. During all the processes I went through, no one ever told me that the property had been rezoned in 2012. I would like to get the property rezoned back to what it was before then, because I bought the property to put a mobile home on it, and the assessment office knew that because they gave me the move-in permit for it,” Young said.

“I would like for you to rezone the property for my mobile home. That’s the only place I have to live. I’ve been living with my nephew and then my sister,” Young said. “My sister is getting tired of me and I’m getting tired of her,” she said, drawing laughter from council members and the audience. “I’m hoping everyone understands where I’m coming from. I’m asking you to do the best you can to help me,” Young said.

Chairman Smith and County Administrator Jason Taylor expressed their concern to Planning Director Tim Roseborough that Young was able to get through the process without being told that her property had been rezoned. Roseborough confirmed Young’s story of the process.

“It concerns me that we would let it go that far without picking up on that (zoning),” Smith said.

Councilman Douglas Pauley welcomed Young back to the County and Councilwoman Bertha Goins apologized to Young for what she had been put through.

“We’ve had things like this in the past regarding rezoning for mobile homes,” Smith said. “Sometimes we’ve allowed them to do that and sometimes we haven’t, depending on the area. I think we would generally look upon this case in not an unfavorable way. That said, there are some extenuating circumstances – the property was rezoned and sometimes folks don’t know about it. I’m not pointing a finger at anyone, but when folks come in to the Planning and Zoning Office,  we [need to] make sure the first time they come in, that we check [zoning] and not let it go two and three times down the road. Under these extenuating circumstances, I support both this second reading and third reading to rezone this property for Mrs. Young.”

The motion passed unanimously to rezone the property to RD-1 as requested by Young.