New ordinances restrict smoking, allow fire pits

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By David Meade

During their meeting Monday, Williamston Town Council approved first reading on a new smoking ordinance, an ordinance allowing fire pits and fireworks and approved a funding request for the Spring Water Festival.

The smoking ordinance prohibits smoking in public workplaces and recreational areas.

Councilman Rockey Burgess requested that an amendment be included to exclude private not retail businesses that are not open to the public. Councilman Otis Scott asked that the restriction of twenty feet from playgrounds and ballfields be changed to 100 ft.

According to the ordinance, enforcement will be by the Williamston Police Department and any complaints should be filed with them.

The new ordinance allowing fire pits was unanimously approved. The ordinance allows use of portable fire pits and earthen fire pits however it does not allow the burning of garbage, junk, refuse or construction debris in a fire pit. Violation of the ordinance will result in a $100 fine.

The mayor updated council on the Gray Drive bridge. According to the mayor, Anderson County rejected a proposal made by the GWRR and the railroad company has 90 days to complete repairs making the bridge usable according to the original contract.

Council approved a funding request by The Williamston Area Historic Commission (WAHC) for $466 for a bronze plaque recognizing Dr. Dwight Smith and his promotion of the “healing properties of the pure spring water” flowing from the town’s spring. The plaque will be placed at the Spring House Gazebo in Mineral Spring Park.

WAHC spokersperson Johnnie Bell said they hope to place the plaque and hold the dedication during the Spring Water Festival.

At the recommendation of the town’s planning commission, a rezoning request for a property at 101 Simpson Street that is being used as a group home was denied.

The residence and the surrounding neighborhood is presently zoned R1. The group home is operated by the new Liberty Christian Center and is already housing six residents.

A nearby resident stated that there have been some problems including “with extremely foul language” at the home. “It has not been a good experience for the few weeks they have been there,” she said.

The town also unanimously approved mutual aid agreements with Anderson County, Belton and West Pelzer.

Council agreed to set juror pay at $10 per day.

Hospitality funding of $10,000 was also unanimouly approved for upcoming Spring Water Festival.

Spring Water Committee Chairman David Meade said the funding will allow promotion of the town and park and help provide entertainment for the annual two day event in August.