Town approves sign ordinance, Hospital Street abandonment

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By David Meade

During the Williamston Town Council meeting Monday, Main Street Williamston Executive Director Caroline Alex announced two property achievement awards which were presented to local businesses for investment in the town and facelift on property. Alex presented Modern Supply owner Patty Holcombe with the award for improvements and painting of their Main Street building. Fiesta Mexican Restaurant will also receive the award for their investment in Williamston.

Council unanimously approved second reading on a new sign ordinance and first reading on an ordinance to abandon a local street.

Councilman Rockey Burgess, who has worked on the ordinance with others said the year long process resulted in an ordinance that was “as perfect as they could get it,” while allowing “leeway for special circumstances.”

The ordinance sets guidelines, for design, permits, size, setbacks, upkeep and illumination. It also addresses prohibited signs, signs which do not require a permit, signs in the business district and other guidelines for different types of signs.

The ordinance allows a variance or exception by the mayor and appeals to the planning commission. If necessary, appeals may be made according to state law.

Council also unanimously approved a fee schedule for signs including: permanent signs at $50; temporary signs at $15 per sign; banners at $20 and a new deposit of $100 for political signs which is refundable if the signs are picked up after an election.

Council unanimously approved second reading on changes to the sewer ordinance which are required to meet Federal EPA and State SCDHEC requirements. The revision includes nine changes and updates required based on various changes to the pretreatment regulations.

Following a 30 minute executive session, Council unanimously approved first reading on the closure of a portion of Hospital Street and conveyance to abutting landowners.

The ordinance states that the town abandons and closes all of Hospital Street except for the section that was formerly known as Depot Street and runs between property owned by the Williamston Presbyterian Church and Charles and Ann E. Moore.

Hosptial Street is a U-shaped street which goes around the old postoffice buildling and another building just off Williams St. and between the buildings and a recently constructed rail hub distribution area.

According to the ordinance, the closing of the street will enhance the opportunity for development and potential tax revenues and less road maintenance for the town.

The abandonment allows the property to be quitclaimed equally to the abutting landowners.

The next meeting of Williamston Town Council will be held on Monday, Jan. 5, 2015 at 6 p.m.