By Stan Welch
Anderson County Council started early Tuesday night, with an investiture ceremony prior to the first meeting of the year.
The meeting, at which Pastor Bill Rigsby, of North Anderson Baptist Church, spoke and administered the oaths of office, was followed by a reception. Councilman Mitchell Cole, from District Three, was the only new addition to the Council.
Council then convened and one of their first acts was to adopt a resolution recognizing the newly formed Mill Town Players theater group from Pelzer for its accomplishments in the arts. Chief among those achievements was the group’s winning of the South Carolina Theater Festival.
Will Ragland, executive artistic director of the group, was also acknowledged by the resolution. Ragland is a Wren High School graduate, and has been a prominent figure in theater circles in the Upstate for more than two decades.
Council then got down to its serious business, reelecting Tommy Dunn as chairman and Ken Waters as vice chairman. The only contested vote came when Councilwoman Gracie Floyd nominated Tom Allen for vice chairman. She and Allen were the two dissenting votes. Floyd abstained from the voting for chairman.
Council gave third and final reading approval to two zoning changes, both affecting locations in the Williamston area. Both changes will allow the construction of duplex housing in areas previously restricted to single family dwellings. The sites are located in the vicinity of the corner of Club Road and Beaverdam Road. The total area of the two tracts is just over five acres.
Developers of Midway Ridge, a development near Midway Road and Oakhill Drive, appeared seeking support for changes they wish to make in the originally approved plan for the property. That original approval came several years ago, before the economy eventually killed the project.
The property has since been acquired by Midway Road Properties, LLC, who have presented changes including changes in the building materials to be used, the size of the footprints of the various building plans, and the installation of a monument sign at the entrance. The Council was less than receptive, even though all the pertinent citizen and advisory committees recommend approval of the changes.
Councilwoman Cindy Wilson raised questions about possible erosion and runoff problems, some of which have plagued other developments in that area. She also seemed concerned that D.R. Horton would be the predominant builder in the development.
The Council seemed almost eager to deny the requests, with District One Councilman Francis Crowder actually trying to make that motion during the public hearing held on the matter.
Councilwoman Gracie Floyd questioned Council’s decision to go against the recommendation of the various citizen boards and county staff, asking Crowder to just explain his eagerness to vote against the request. He said he didn’t care to do so, adding that he felt certain the developers would come back with a new proposal.
Council also formally voted to appoint Kimberly Poulin as the new Clerk to Council. Linda Edelmann, who has served as clerk for many years, will formally retire Friday.