Letter to the Editor

Another Viewpoint on LMO Meeting

All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views  and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser. 

I was surprised to read the article in the February 19th edition, concerning the Sweetwater Community Center, Land Management Ordinance meeting, on Monday, February 10th. My surprise was that there was no writer at the meeting, but what was written in the paper was by “using recordings and interviews”. In reading the article, I was moved to write this, as it seemed the article didn’t follow what I witnessed.  I was at the meeting, and there were about 30 people in attendance. There was no mass exodus from people in opposition to what was offered, but several left at the same time, as it had lasted over 90 minutes, as was time to go home. The article stated at the LMO Council Chambers meeting the next night, 02/11, was “poor attendance”. You know, maybe low attendance is a sign of acceptance. People have heard the makings of the plan through the various announced meetings and are in agreement with it. 

I saw and learned the following at the meeting:

It was orderly and the one complaint by someone was that her druthers were ignored from a previous session she had been. Yet, the real reason for this, as pointed out by the professional, John Ford, was(paraphrased) “that since the area she lived, presently, has No Zoning, then cannot comply with her request.”  That is the reason to have the comprehensive plan, so all understand what is happening around us, whether it is our neighbors or the rural areas of the County. The idea of Zoning was started 32 years ago, but there was not plan in effect, so ignored, with Council beginning to address it about 20 years ago, as to my recollections.

Do our citizens realize that 80% of the county still has No Zoning? One living in the more rural areas still have a choice as to whether zoning be included for their property in the the LMO. Yet, as the population shifts into Edgefield County from I-20/North Augusta, we cannot ignore this fact happening, yet need to plan for it.

Yes, the Merriwether area is having two large subdivisions being planned to enable more people to move to Edgefield County, wanting to live here. Who bears the risk of the projects? Yes, the developers. This is free enterprise. Yes, the developers see the need for sewer lines, as opposed to septic tanks. The topic was brought up by them!  In this day and age of trying to be environmentally correct, isn’t this a step forward in having sewer lines? 

As sub-divisions do lead to a stronger tax-base for schools and county services, yet they require strict planning requirements, including traffic flow, lot size and environmental issues, such as water/sewer/drainage/landscaping. I leave these up to the professionals and those with experience.

Yes, we need more people moving to Edgefield County, to help us pay the property tax! No, industry is not looking at our County, as it lacks sewer, cellphone service and broadband-fiber optic cable lines. Aiken County can provide these services better and their property tax rate is 1/2 of Edgefield County’s. 

Yes, I like “my pine trees for neighbors”, but the future of our County is to encourage more to live and build here, giving us a stronger base to face the future with!

The County Council has been paying for and studying this Plan for 18 months or more. They have been very open in all phases of it, including having public meetings outside of the Council Chambers. Let’s follow their lead.

Thank you, for all the Advertiser does to serve Edgefield County. Please, in the future, have staff at important meetings such as School Board, County Council and LMO. 

Tom Plowden

Edgefield County

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