This is another installment of the Edgefield Advertiser’s continuing coverage of the petition to change Edgefield County’s Comprehensive Plan back to its wording before it was amended on its third reading. In next week’s article, Representative Bill Hixon weighs in and shares his thoughts on the issues.
Tiffani Ireland was sworn in as a County Council member for the first time at the Council’s January meeting. Ireland said she was in attendance at the meeting as a concerned citizen when the Comprehensive Plan was changed in 2019. “To say that the changes made were a shock to those citizens in attendance as well as to at least two Council members is an understatement,” said Ireland.
Ireland thinks the original plan was a better choice and certainly a much better representation of what the county’s citizens wanted and expected. The residents behind the petition to change the Comprehensive Plan back to what was originally proposed, make the case that the work being done on the Land Management Ordinance (LMO) will not override what is in the Comprehensive Plan. That group of concerned citizens contends the LMO can only reflect what is laid out in the county’s Comprehensive Plan.
Ireland said she is not opposed to John Pettigrew’s suggestion of imposing a moratorium on development in the county until the Land Management Ordinance is completed. “John made some valid points in support of his position,” note Ireland referring to Pettigrew’s comments at the Council’s last meeting (published in January 20 edition, The Edgefield Advertiser).
Ireland worries that the rural identity for which so many citizens spoke in favor of preserving is being lost. “I am concerned about the amount of congestion the residential density is going to have on the areas in which it is currently being seen,” said Ireland. She is concerned of where the development goes next. “I do not want to become Columbia County (Georgia) where the rural community, that once was, has all but totally disappeared,” said Ireland.
Ireland thinks the increased demands on the county’s infrastructure and the county’s roads, particularly, are of great concern as well. “One of the major complaints I hear already about the county concerns roads and their poor conditions,” explained Ireland. She said the county and the state already struggle to maintain the roads we have with the current amount of traffic.
Ireland also believes the increased development will add demands to the county’s school system. “Where do we get the funding to address all these demands? We are already behind the eight ball,” noted Ireland.
Ireland shared her running for County Council was not a snap decision. “It (running for council) came after a lot of prayer,” said Ireland. She explained the idea of running one day had occurred to her, but she thought it would be further down the road. “When I was approached to run, I had to consider that my time is not always God’s time,” reflected Ireland.
Ireland said her desire to serve on the Council came from sitting in the audience as a reporter for The Edgefield Advertiser covering the Council meetings for over ten years.
Ireland said she began to realize that she had more background information on many of the matters discussed at Council meetings than most of the current Council members. Listening to the comments and concerns of citizens at the meetings over the years made running a natural progression. “I hear them and I want to be a part of protecting Edgefield County, our way of life, and what makes us such a great county. I was raised here. My roots are here. This is where Philip (husband) and I have chosen to make our home. Why not be involved in protecting and representing that?” said Ireland.
Ireland stated her priority is to represent the citizens in her district, as well as the county as a whole to the best of her abilities. She also ranks reliable internet access throughout the entire county toward the top of her list.
“I want to see controlled growth in the county that actually benefits the county and stays with its identity of a rural community and that is not driven by just money and greed. I want to protect our county, our way of life, and to be a voice for the people,” concluded Ireland.