Sumter County Council Tuesday evening discussed several land use requests and other matters during a meeting that lasted a little over an hour.
Sumter City-County Zoning Administrator Jeff Derwort spoke about a request to rezone a 5.8 acre tract of property at 601 Pitts Road from Residential-15 (R-15) to Agricultural Conservation (AC) to establish a Special Events facility.
First reading was approved unanimously.
Dewort then spoke about a request to rezone 1.35 acres of land at 4185 and 4189 Thomas Sumter Highway from General Commercial/Agricultural Conservation (GC/AC) to General Commercial (GC).
Janie Doyle spoke during the Public Hearing and raised questions about traffic safety, lights, sidewalks and foot traffic.
Chris Patten said he’s trying to develop a used car lot on the property as he’s about to retire from the U.S. Air Force.
Councilman Artie Baker said a street light was installed at Charles Jackson Street and Thomas Sumter Highway and Dalzell could benefit from the business.
Second reading was approved unanimously.
Sumter County Attorney Johnathan Bryan spoke next about an ordinance concerning the County Infrastructure Fund which would provide a mechanism through loans to encourage private development of economic development speculative buildings. No one spoke during the Public Hearing. Second reading was approved unanimously.
Councilman Carlton Washington gave a report on the Public Safety Committee, which met earlier and received a report from Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis about a grant-funded initiative to put five additional School Resource Officers in Sumter County schools.
Council Chairman James T. McCain Jr. said a Special Meeting earlier concerned discussion of an initial Council Redistricting map based on the 2020 Census results.
Councilwoman Vivian Fleming-McGhaney thanked County Administrator Gary Mixon and Clerk to Council Mary Blanding for a Monday evening Community Meeting regarding the proposed third Capital Projects Sales Tax Referendum. Constituents also had the opportunity to discuss other matters as well, she said.
Councilman Washington advocated for improving roads in rural areas.
Mixon spoke about the Community Meetings and estimated about 150 people have participated thus far. The next phase of the proposed third Penny For Progress will include meetings with the City of Sumter, Town of Pinewood and Town of Mayesville. Meetings with Sumter Economic Development, the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce and Central Carolina Technical College will follow as well. Soon a cost-estimate analysis of the proposed projects will develop and get passed onto the Commission in charge of steering the Capital Projects Sales Tax Referendum. The Commission’s final list will be submitted to County Council, which will have an up or down vote, he said. It’s a lengthy process, he added, but each step along the way is important.
Councilman Eugene Baten advocated for more people getting the Covid-19 vaccine.
During the Public Hearing, George Bates advocated for increased manpower in law enforcement, improved roads, increased codes enforcement, increased vaccinations, and social distancing measures.
Mike Greer advocated for easier building regulations.
Councilman Washington again advocated for improving the roads.
Councilman Artie Baker pointed out many of the roads under discussion are state roads. When he first joined County Council, there were 326 miles of dirt roads, he said, and now there are 127 miles of dirt roads and 55 miles of crush and run roads.
Councilman Baten noted that residents of the City of Sumter also vote for the Capital Projects Sales Tax Referendum and therefore have a voice in it. Roads will be a focus, he said.