Orangeburg County Council is changing the way it handles rezoning issues.
If the change is approved, public hearings for zoning issues will be heard by the Orangeburg County Planning Commission.
“What this change does is, now, it gives the planning commission, it has a layer of public hearing there before it even comes to council, so that citizens have the ability to stand up,” Orangeburg County Administrator Harold Young stated.
“Really and truly, that’s the group that’s really tasked with really digging into the nuts and bolts of whether or not this follows the comprehensive plan, this is legal,” Young said. “Really any objections and stuff in the public hearing session really needs to start with that side because those guys really do the major homework.”
County Council approved second reading of the change on Monday.
The current rezoning process includes a public notification of the proposed change, followed by a planning commission meeting.
Under the current zoning ordinance, a public hearing is not held at the planning commission meeting. During the meeting, a discussion is held about the possible change before the planning commission makes a recommendation to the county council.
“They always did have the ability to say they disagree with it at those meetings, but they never had a public component,” Young said.
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Once the issue is sent to county council, council considers the change as an ordinance and holds a public hearing at the second or third reading of the ordinance.
Young stated that the public will now have, “two times to have public hearing to say whether they are for or against the particular project.”
Third and final reading of the ordinance will take place at the next scheduled council meeting.
Also during the meeting:
• Council approved second reading of an ordinance to change the zoning designation of property owned by Jonathan Davis located on Gardensgate Road in Eutawville from the forest agricultural district to the commercial general district. Davis plans to establish a car dealership on the property.
• William Green came before council requesting its support at the Black-Tie Gala, which will take place at 8 p.m. Nov. 30 at The Premiere. Green noted that all proceeds from the event will be donated to Alzheimer’s disease research at the Medical University of South Carolina’s Research Clinic.
• Dee Anne Miller of the Orangeburg County Council on Aging informed council that in the first quarter, which started on July 1, the department gave out 6,000 meals on-site and delivered 13,477 meals in the county.
• A citizen came before council to ask if there is an ordinance that requires companies to restore land in residential areas after the land has been used, referring to property located on Stacey Bridge Road.
Young stated that the problem Brown referenced is a litter problem and that he would contact Orangeburg County Litter Control about the matter, and would look further into the situation.