Week of Oct. 29
How will Anderson County develop in the future and will the necessary infrastructure be there to support it?
That is the question Anderson County Planning Officials are asking area residents as they hold meetings throughout the County to update the Anderson County Comprehensive Plan.
Unfortunately for planners, or maybe for area residents, input at the second meeting was limited as residents missed an opportunity to express their vision for the future of the area.
County planning officials presented a proposed land use map for the unincorporated area surrounding Williamston, West Pelzer and Pelzer municipalities.
About half of the 20 people who turned out Tuesday for the community planning meeting held at the Williamston Municipal Center were residents of the area represented on the map.
The area is primarily located in a rough triangle between Hwy. 20, Hwy. 29, the Saluda River and extending just south of Pelzer and Williamston to Lee Steam Plant.
The land use map currently shows the area as residential agriculture with some commercial development dispersed in it.
The future land use map presented by County planners projects the area primarily with low density residential development.
The Hwy. 29 corridor is shown as commercial as is Hwy. 20 between West Pelzer, Pelzer and Williamston.
West Pelzer Mayor Peggy Paxton asked County Planner Steve Newton who would provide the necessary water and sewer services to any commercial businesses that would locate in the area between the three municipalities.
Paxton said West Pelzer growth is limited due to restriction placed on the towns sewer system by DHEC.
Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy said that municipalities are not able to benefit from businesses locating outside the city limits. It takes away from the revenue base the town would have if they had located in the city, he said.
Newton said he couldnt answer the question and suggested the two mayors meet with him for further discussion.
Newton said that the land use map is the guide to infrastructure for the county.
Newton explained that the map doesnt reflect any zoning, but is the planning guide for the County.
Several zoning related questions were raised by resident Mark Powell.
Powell asked why the map coudnt stay as it is, residential agriculture, to allow more protection for residents by requiring developers to go to the County to request any changes in land use.
Newton stated that the comprehensive map is for planning purposes and that zoning issues could be decided by referendum if there were enough interest in a particular voting precinct.
The map reflects the area without zoning, he said.
According to Newton the proposed map is based on development patterns over the last 15 years. There seems to be a demand for subdivisions, he said.
The low density residential category suggested by County planners reflects single family housing on .5 acre or larger lot. Mobile homes must be double wide, Newton said.
If the map is left as is, it would primarily be residential agriculture, requiring a 1 acre minimum lot. Residential agriculture also allows single wide mobile homes, according to Newton.
Of those in attendance, a raise of hands showed the audience about evenly split over whether to leave the map residential agriculture or change it to reflect low density residential.
Comments and results of a survey turned in at the meeting will be used to determine how the map will look, according to Newton.
The comprehensive plan is required by the State to be updated every 5 years.
County officials will hold meetings over the next two years in each of the 23 communities where they were originally held in 1998.
County Council District 7 representative Cindy Wilson said the meetings are important because they provide the foundation for zoning and planning in Anderson County. The map is also used for planning for infrastructure needs in the county, she said.
Wilson said the meetings allow residents to see how the county is viewing the area and to tell county planners how they think the area should be now and in the future.
The community based planning meetings are designed to allow residents of each community to have input into their present and future planning, she said.
Williamston Town Council and Mayor met in a budget worksession with Town department heads Thursday to look at needs of each department and to begin preparing for the 2004 budget.
Needs presented to council members for consideration to be included in the 2004 budget varied from equipment to additional personnel.
David Roberts, Director of Environmental Services, told Council the street department needs hammers for the grinder, a new bucket for the brush pickup tractor and a new dump truck to replace a 1986 truck that he said is becoming unsafe for highway use.
Roberts said the department also needs two additional employees to bring the department back to full capacity at 12. He also requested that additional funding be budgeted for maintenance of equipment.
Police Chief Troy Martin said that his deparment has made a number of improvements at little or no cost to the town and some changes that are saving the department money.
He also said that the department is operating in cramped quarters with persons sitting on the floor and in the hallways on court days. The dispatch area is also tight due to equipment and files, he said. We have so little space, Martin said.
He asked Council to consider converting the old cafeteria into a Municipal Court and turning the present court room into a dispatch area. He also said there is a roof leak that needs to be fixed.
Parks and Recreation Department head Dale Martin told council the department has several large projects that are needed including new fencing for ballfields, lights on girls softball and pee wee fields and an alternative location for soccer fields within the town.
Equipment needs for the department include 2 weedeaters, 2 push mowers, 1 riding mower, 2 walkie talkies and a work truck, according to Martin. The school district may help with the new fencing around Legion Field, he said. 10 drain lines are also needed on ball fields, he said.
Fire Chief Steve Ellison requested additional funding for utilities, truck service and pump testing, air quality testing, back up generator service, funding for air pack fit tests, firemen physicals, air pack and bottle testing, cleaning turn out gear, radio and pager replacement, firehouse computer software and OSHA accountability system.
He also said the department needs a 400 ft. attack hose, new pagers (3 or 4 each year) and a battery conditioner and additional funding for fire calls.
Ellison also said the department needs a multimedia projector that could be shared by other departments for training.
He also asked for consideration for additional funding for gear to add additional fireman to the roster, a new or used jaws of life and a 5 inch hose for at least one of the trucks.
Water Department needs presented by Tim Hood include shoring equipment, a by-pass valve for Virginia Dr., Water Tank, repair or replace remote tank level transmitter, work truck, mud hog and funding for water tank painting.
Waste Water Treatment Chief Operator Bob Hammett requested a fecal coliform incubator, a new computer system for internet access, a dissolved oxygen meter and probe, a portable meter for field testing.
He also said the department needs buildings painted.
The town is working to secure a grant to help with the removal of sludge in the #2 and #3 basins.
There are other items that will be required by SCDHEC, EPA and OSHA, he said.
Mayor Clardy said the town also needs to look at funding for the museum project, building repairs, security cameras for town hall and the park, and restroom upgrades.
Clardy is expected to present a 2004 budget to Town Council in November.
Pelzer voters will have a choice between two candidates for mayor in the general election scheduled for November 4. Incumbent D. Page Henderson will seek re-election against Kenneth E. Davis for the office of mayor.
Henderson views the combined sewer project with the Town of West Pelzer as the top priority for the town. I know residents have grown tired of hearing about this project weve been working on it for 10 years, Henderson commented.
According to Henderson, Rural Development has given a time frame of six months for approval for funding of the project.
Inflow and infiltration issues are also being addressed. Henderson says that he is working with project engineers and Senator Billy ODell to help secure some appropriation funds from Washington.
The project has taken a lot of time and resources, Henderson admitted. Recent engineering fees that have been paid are in excess of $68,000 leaving a balance due of $80,000. The town is making monthly payments on the balance according to Henderson.
A priority of equal importance is the addition of police protection for the town. Henderson says that he is working with West Pelzer to provide this service through a contract.
Henderson reports that the town has engineering studies on completely upgrading Pelzer Park and that he is working hard to secure grant monies to help with the $146,000 project. Plans are to work on small pieces of the project as funds become available according to Henderson.
Senator ODell was able to get $10,000 in grant money for the town which will be used for repairs on the gymnasium according to Henderson.
The town began a cost cutting and management initiative October 1 according to Henderson. We are looking for ways to control and reduce costs even more than in the past. Some of the work that was being done by non-town employees will be picked up by town employees to further this effort, Henderson advised.
Henderson states that he has worked with the Appalachian Council of Governments about plans to test the water on annexing and growing Pelzer and that the project is in the pre-development stages.
Henderson adds that he is spending a lot of time in ongoing meetings with other Anderson County mayors and officials in an attempt to improve the Pelzer infrastructure and make more of an influence in the county arena.
Political newcomer Davis says that he intends to make Pelzer a safer, more comfortable place to live for its current and future citizens.
Due to neglect and poor stewardship, our town needs help, Davis contends.
Davis plans to develop and implement police protection for all the citizens of Pelzer and not just the corporate town. Davis pledges to work closely with the city council, the Town of West Pelzer, and the Sheriffs Department to make this a reality.
Davis plans to actively seek additional funds through other county, state and federal agencies for the sewer project. Davis supports performing a SSES (sewer system and evaluation study) which will give the town a complete inventory of the system and information to develop a scope of work.
Davis plans to replace the current recreation director and begin restoration of the ball fields, the park, and gym with current personnel. Davis also plans to have community involvement projects to allow our citizens to be involved in our towns restoration.
Davis advocates developing new user fees for new connections to water and sewer and increasing services for trash pickup to include yard waste and cardboard.
Davis also advocates more school involvement and participation on the part of the town. Davis promotes the recognition of Honor Roll students quarterly and yearly recognition for top students and teachers who excel in the classroom. Davis would also include the school grounds as part of the towns grounds to mow.
Tony Riddle along with incumbents Steve McGregor and Betty Edens have filed for three of the four council seats available. The fourth council seat is open for any qualified write-in candidate according to Skip Watkins, municipal clerk.
Riddle attended Pelzer Primary and graduated from Palmetto High School in 1968. He and his wife Ricki attend Rehoboth Baptist Church in Piedmont where he is involved in the clown ministry.
Riddle was employed by the Cushman Plant in Williamston and was among the top 10 state nominees for Textile Citizen of the Year by Milliken.
Riddle also coached Pelzer baseball and basketball, served as president of the Palmetto High Booster Club, is a charter member and tournament director of the Fishing Hole Bass Club of West Pelzer, and was a member of the volunteers for a heart transplant for Linda Gambrell.
Attempts by The Journal to get information on the two incumbent candidates for the town council seats were unsuccessful.
Pelzer is governed by the mayor-council form of government and currently has 57 registered voters according to the Voter Registration Office in Anderson. The town consists of 35 residences spread over five streets. All of the residences on Anderson Street and Lebby Street, one residence on Park Street, and residences on part of Hale Street and Reed Street make up the Town of Pelzer.
The town collects no business license fees and no real or personal property taxes. Town revenue comes from water, sewer, and trash fees, franchise fees from utilities, and rental income from a cellular tower according to Watkins.
Thieves activated an alarm at Foothills Motorsports in Piedmont just after midnight Saturday as they were in the process of stealing a motorcycle. A citizen who was passing by noticed three suspects in the store. Reportedly, the citizen saw two of the suspects loading a motorcycle in what appeared to be a U-Haul truck.
The front window was smashed out and the store was empty when authorities arrived, but a review of the store camera by Anderson County deputies showed the suspects wearing masks and gloves. An evaluation of missing items and their value has not yet been determined by store personnel.
Anderson County deputies also investigated the following incidents this week:
Oct. 27 Richard Coleman Bruner, 36, 804 Lake Road, Easley, reported that someone broke a window on an outbuilding causing $500 in damage and took tools valued at $425. W. Mills investigated.
Oct. 26 Christy Black, 39, 801 Bonanza Circle, Piedmont, reported that someone went into her vehicle and stole a purse and credit cards valued at $50. J. R. McClellan investigated.
Oct. 26 Bi-Lo, 330 Lebby St., Pelzer, reported that a customer took two bags of firewood and placed them in his car without paying. Deputy M. D. Campbell arrested and transported Larry Eugene Buchanan of 107 Springfield Drive, Pelzer to the Anderson County Detention Center.
Oct. 25 Odon Auto Sales, 4532 Hwy. 8, Piedmont reported that someone removed a black 1995 Chevrolet S-10 pickup valued at $3,200 from the yard. J. R. Jones investigated.
Oct. 24 Powdersville Elementary, 150 Hood Rd., Piedmont, reported that someone entered a school bus and removed an ignition key valued at $3. J. R. Jones investigated.
Oct. 24 Tammy Gail Holder, 26, #6 Thornwood Drive, Williamston, reported that someone took earrings and house keys valued at $26 out of her vehicle. M. B. Sloan investigated.
Oct. 24 Randy Jones, 51, 212 Easley Hwy., Pelzer, reported that someone carried away a 2001 John Deere LT-133 riding lawn mower valued at $2,100 from his carport. K. Fowler investigated.
Oct. 23 Truman Gary McAlister, 69, 230 Breazeale Dr., Williamston, reported that someone pulled open a rear rollup door on a storage building and took used restaurant equipment valued at $20,000 from the building. According to reports, the incident took place around midnight on October 15. K. J. Burns investigated.