Over political/legal concerns
By Stan Welch
The annexation of five parcels of property into the Town of Pelzer earlier this year has been rescinded after town officials were told there could be legal problems associated if one of the property owners were to run for office and be elected.
The decision was made after Council members went into an extended executive session of well over an hour, to receive legal advice concerning the annexation of several pieces of property. Following the private session, the Council voted to rescind that earlier annexation ordinance, removing the five parcels from the town limits.
Four of the parcels are owned by the town, according to Town Clerk Heather Holcombe, while the fifth belongs to Roger Scott, Sr.
Holcombe said that it was Scott’s residence that led to the rescission of the ordinance, because of concerns that Scott’s political ambitions might place the town at risk for their actions in annexing his residence in the first place.
Holcombe explained that the SCDOT, one of many agencies that the town is required to notify of any annexations, questioned the inclusion of Scott’s property, saying that it is not contiguous with the town limits. Holcombe said that the property appeared to be connected through other parcels, but once DOT raised the issue the facts were established.
Scott who still wants to be annexed, said he doesn’t understand the town’s decision to rescind the ordinance. “The law says if no challenge is made within sixty days, the annexation is good. Nobody objected. I don’t see the problem.”
Holcombe said that if the parcel in question was not Scott’s actual residence, the issue would have probably gone unquestioned.
“If it was a vacant lot or a rental property, it wouldn’t pose a risk for the town. But since Mr. Scott has made it pretty clear that he plans to run for office, his legal residence becomes a completely different matter. Any candidacy for a town office he might launch in the future would be subject to question, and could place the town itself in legal jeopardy. “
Holcombe said that the Council was very unhappy about the decision, because they are encouraging anyone who is eligible to seek annexation. “This was a hard decision, but the Council simply felt there was too much risk involved.