By Stan Welch
The West Pelzer Town Council met Monday night, addressing several issues. During a discussion of the proposed policy allowing town employees, including police, to take official vehicles home, Mayor Blake Sanders announced that the town has formally assumed control and operation of Pelzer’s public works department. He added that a third employee, Steven Eudi, of Pelzer has been hired and will begin work later this month.
The policy requires that the employee’s department head justifies the use of the town vehicle in writing, and that the mayor gives final approval. The vehicles will be used for town business only, and the employee is solely responsible for the security of the vehicle and its contents. The employee will also execute a receipt acknowledging receipt of an assigned vehicle. Use of the vehicle is limited to the town limits, unless town business dictates otherwise.
Mayor Sanders also presented a resolution of intent to close the Donald Street to Stephanie Drive.The purpose of the resolution is to express the town’s willingness to close the outlet, creating a cul de sac on Donald Street. The resolution is intended to reassure Farson Homes LLC of a quieter controlled environment for the location of eleven stick built homes that are proposed for the area.
During a discussion of the resolution, Sanders assured Councilmen Jimmie Jeanes and Johnny Rogers that only when more than half the homes have been built will the closure process for the road begin. Closure is a separate, formal process, and would require a public hearing. Sanders explained that the company, Farson homes, was seeking assurances that the Town was willing to close the road, before investing in the construction of the first two homes.
The homes are expected to be in the two hundred thousand dollar range, and would be the first significant residential construction in the town limits in well over a decade. The town’s recent water and sewer improvement projects resulted in the lifting of a DHEC consent order that had effectively restricted any residential growth of the town and the associated tax base.
Sanders explained that the town would first have to assume ownership of the road from the SCDOT, but added that they had indicated a willingness to relinquish the road to the town.
The Council heard from town clerk Paula Payton about the recent annual meeting of the South Carolina Utility Billing Association as well as upcoming classes and training events.
The Council also heard from Sanders about the town’s efforts to have DOT reroute the heavy truck traffic through the town. According to Sanders, SCDOT is now conducting a traffic survey to determine the extent of the problem. He was not hopeful that any significant rerouting would be imposed, but he mentioned several actions that the town could take, including lowering speed limits on Main Street, additional signage indicating pedestrian crossings, and implementing on street parking all along Main Street.
He also added that the town could change its GPS settings to show an alternative route around the town, but he added that such a measure would not affect just heavy trucks, but any traveler using the GPS apps. “We could effectively cut off our noses to spite our face. I don’t see that as a viable option.”
He also added that DOT has indicated their willingness to allow any and all such measures, but the town would have to bear any and all costs of such measures.