May 26, 2021
By Arthur Northrop
This reporter often relies on Edgefield County Government’s official video recordings of County Council and other Commission meetings posted on its YouTube channel to provide coverage for our readers. The video of County Council’s May 4th meeting did not include the first part of the Councils official business. Thanks to Megan Pearson, a concerned and involved County resident, her complete recording of the County’s official business is available on Facebook. This article fills the gap in the original article covering the May 4th meeting that was published in The Edgefield Advertiser on May 12th.
Edgefield County Council voted three to one to approve a moratorium on major subdivisions at its May 4th regular meeting. Councilperson Tiffani Ireland was absent and Chairperson Scott Cooper voted against action. Cooper, who voted against the moratorium on its first reading and for it on its second reading provided his reasons for changing his vote again.
Cooper made the point there is a housing shortage in the region and the moratorium would have unintended consequences for land owners. He said there are people in the County who want to stop other County residents from developing their land and stressed that is not a good.
Cooper also referred to the letters that were received from the John Hare, Director of Edgefield County Water and Sewer Authority, detailing the expansion of water and sewer in the Merriwether area and the Towns of Edgefield and Johnston stating their Councils’ opposition to the moratorium. He also referred to a letter from the Edgefield County School District detailing its capacity to handle an increase in student enrollment.
Cooper explained that he originally voted for the moratorium to show there would be incremental improvement in the County’s ordinances and proof of that action was the tabling of the County’s LMO (Land Management Ordinance). He also noted lot sizes for subdivisions without sewer and water access were being discussed.
Councilperson Dean Campbell stated the many of the County’s residents who have communicated with him support the moratorium and noted the Town of Johnston’s Council unanimously supported the moratorium. Campbell also noted the moratorium and the addressing of lot sizes for property without sewer and water access were separate issues.
In other business the Council unanimously approved on second readings the sale of the old Neighborhood Center to John McCracking and heirs for $50,000, the Countywide Recreation budget to be changed from special revenue fund to the General Fund, the proposed General Operating budget of $12,219,667, and an ordinance amending the County’s Land Use and Transportation Plan to its wording at its second reading in 2019.
A motion passed unanimously that clarified previously approved PDs (Planned Developments) that are ready to construct the next phase of their projects were exempt from the moratorium.
In the Public Hearings, one person requested PDs be exempt from the moratorium, another resident asked if environmental studies were being conducted for major subdivisions, and two other residents spoke in favor of the moratorium. One of the residents during the Public Hearings portion of the meeting stressed that Edgefield County is still open for business even though there is a pause in the development of major subdivisions.
This article was edited to correct Scott Cooper’s voting record on the moratorium.