Council corrects zoning error

By Lucas Vance lvance@civitasmedia.com

March 23, 2014

WINNSBORO — Landowner Harry Parker has completed the first part of a process to have his 2.37-acre lot reclassified from a R-1 zone (single family residential district) to B-1 (limited business district).

The piece of property is located off River Road near Lake Wateree.

In 2011, the property was incorrectly zoned at R-1, according to interim County Administrator Milton Pope.

“At the time it was looked at as an undeveloped piece of property so it got picked up with the zoning overlays to restrict commercial development around the lake area,” he stated. “That is where the oversight took place.”

The property was zoned from R-1 to B-1 in 2004 and, according to Pope, Parker purchased the property in 2011 and should have retained the zoning classification of B-1.

Four months after the purchase, council overlaid new zoning as part of its new land management ordinance.

When council approved the land management ordinance in Dec. 2011, Parker’s property had be returned to the original R-1 classification.

However, according to Pope, the Parker property should have been grandfathered in.

During the public hearing, Parker’s attorney John Fantry spoke on his client’s behalf.

“On behalf of myself as a citizen this ordinance is correcting a mistake, albeit one that was not intentional,” Fantry stated. “Mr. Parker wishes to thank you (council) for moving forward on this.”

The property is located in Carolyn Robinson’s district and although she received calls from folks that did not want the property re-zoned, she believed it was the right thing to do.

“This was passed and approved many years ago to be business and it was one of the many mistake we made while rezoning,” she said. “I’m sure that the present owners purchased that property based on that zoning. I feel it is really sad that they’ve had to go through this process to have it rezoned when it was a mistake this council made.”

Councilman David Brown suggested council attempt to pass an ordinance that would prevent a person from going through the entire process when a mistake is made by council.

“If there is a mistake made by us, we should have some kind of safety mechanism installed that would not slow an individual down on that process,” he advised.

However, Pope said he was not aware of way to re-zone a property without going back through a public hearing and three readings.

“I don’t think that would be appropriate to change it even if it was an error, because you need to go back through that process of allowing the public to comment,” he stated.

The entire process included Parker having to resubmit an application and then allow the zoning commission to meet on the matter, which made the recommendation to council after a unanimous 4-0 vote in approval.

Pope noted that if there was an application fee, the fee would be reimbursed because the error was not the property owner’s fault.

Community Needs Assessment

Fairfield County Grants Coordinator Steven Gaither delivered a presentation encouraging citizens to fill out a community needs assessment.

“This assessment asks for every citizen’s input and is an overview of what our community needs,” “The purpose is to give the public an opportunity for community input.”

Staff is conducting the needs assessment, which is the first step to apply for grants.

According to Gaither’s staff, the most important pages are the last two that inquire about priorities and planned actions.

The document is available online at www.fairfieldsc.com.

On the main page click the link “2014 Web Based Needs Assessment” under the Fairfield News section.