Rezoning approved over neighbors’ objections

  • Thursday, May 9, 2013

Town Council rezoned a residential property to business over the objections of neighbors at its meeting Wednesday.
The lot at the corner of Atlantic Street and Central Avenue is currently a parking lot zoned residential.
The owner wanted to rezone it to general business so he could sell it; the lot is unlikely to sell while zoned residential, William Owens told the planning committee.
Council rezoned it to neighborhood business, which allows retail stores; professional offices; restaurants, as long as they don’t serve liquor and don’t have a drive-thru; day care centers and similar businesses.
Councilman Aaron Brown said the planning committee tried to find the best compromise zoning to serve the interests of the property owner and the neighbors on Atlantic Street.
The Atlantic Street residents have long complained about the noise, smell and dirt from businesses on the land behind them. In April 2012 the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control fined one of the businesses $10,000 for violating air pollution laws.
However, Councilman Bill McIntosh said, the problem businesses are located in the county, and Town Council has no authority over them.
Before the decision, Linda Whetsell and Charles McDuffie asked council not to rezone.
Whetsell reviewed the history of the problems with the businesses behind Atlantic Street and said the neighbors have no idea what type of business will locate at the corner lot.
She couldn’t understand how the matter got to final reading when so many residents were opposed, she said.
“We matter too. I matter,” she said.
McDuffie said residents have had health problems caused by the existing businesses. Schoolchildren wait for the bus at the parking lot, and the situation is already hazardous, he said.
There are enough businesses in the area, he said.
“We just don’t feel it’s good for the community,” McDuffie said.
Owens didn’t appear to be at the meeting.

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