Council OKs industrial zoning on Gum Springs Road

WINNSBORO – “Compassion and rationale should be at the core of all your thinking,” Randy Bright said in his plea to county council Monday night to table the Gum Springs LLC rezoning request until there is further review.

“You say you don’t have anyone [wanting to buy] this property, so what is your hurry to rezone it?” Bright asked.

He spoke after five residents of the Gum Springs and Devil’s Race Track Roads area emotionally beseeched council to spare their properties from the rezoning of 392 adjoining acres from RD-1 (Rural Residential District) to I-1 (Industrial District.)

Michael Branham spoke first about his property which was part of 300 acres that had been owned by his wife’s family for generations and borders the 392 acres.

Paul Craig pointed out that his property and others surrounding the 392 acres make up an established residential neighborhood including new residential builds.

“We are concerned about light and noise pollution and industrial pollution from a future industry,” Craig said, holding up his laptop screen showing the 392 acres clear cut to his property line. He asked how the rolling topography of the 392 acres could accommodate industry without disturbing the springs that feed the neighborhood water wells.

Pelham Lyles asked council to restrict new industry to industrial sites the county already owns.

“Why open the flood gates for growth that is not compatible with the area’s long established residential uses,” she asked. “One home on the road recently sold for over $600,000. Others along here are worth a half million dollars.”

“Is this area of Fairfield County going to be a great place to work, play and stay?” asked resident Jeremy Harris. “One out of three is not bad, right?”

Peter Gainey, who has lived on Gum Springs Road for 15 years, reminded council that the county’s planning commission voted 7-0 against recommending the rezoning.

He quoted from page 129 of the county’s economic development group’s [guidelines],  that they “should protect property values and the environment from economic development and accommodate growth in an orderly manner.” He said there is nothing orderly about rezoning a tract of land that doesn’t need rezoning.

County Administrator Malik Whitaker read from a prepared statement, saying the county ordinance would require buffering of 100 feet along Hwy 34 and 25 feet along Gum Springs and Devil’s Race Track Roads. He said the county could require more buffering depending on the type of industry that locates on the property.

But he was not specific about the buffering requirements for the adjoining properties.

Noting that Whitaker’s statement was the first time during the three rezoning discussions that the subject of buffering had been addressed by the county, Councilman Douglas Pauley asked that the rezoning request be tabled until another meeting could be held to give the residents time to ask questions and clarify Whitaker’s buffering information.

Council Chairman Moses Bell pushed back against Pauley’s comments, drawing an analogy about how council, on July 8, 2019, had voted 5-2, with himself and Councilman Mikel Trapp voting against, to rezone 11 acres on Old Airport Road from RD (Rural Resource District) to I-1 (Industrial District) for the purpose of placing an incinerator on the property, “knowing”, Bell said, “that the incinerator would cause health issues to the public.”

DHEC officials at the meeting denied Bell’s assessment.

“But the incinerator is not there, correct?” Pauley asked.

“It is not there but…” Bell said.

“Once the citizens protested the incinerator, the vote was changed, correct?” Pauley asked.

“The vote was changed after we went down there and looked,” Bell said.

“But the vote was changed,” Pauley said.

“Yes,” Bell said.

“The incinerator is not there,” Pauley said.

“No. But you voted to rezone it,” Bell insisted. “Did you vote?”

Pauley pressed his point that council changed its course 7-0 after hearing from the citizens. The incinerator was never installed.

[June 24, 2019 minutes: After second reading, Bell called for the issue to be tabled for further review. Council voted 7-0 to table.]

 “Ok,” Bell said, “Any other discussion?”

After ignoring Pauley’s request to table the vote, council voted 4-2 to rezone the 392 acres for industry, with Pauley and Councilman Clarence Gilbert voting against. Councilman Tim Roseborough was absent.


  1. Marcus Polk says

    The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, “I’m from the Government and I’m here to help.”

  2. Buck says

    Why was there no motion to table the motion by ANY council member in order to discuss setbacks?

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