By Stan Welch
West Pelzer Town Council addressed fireworks, changing speed limit on Main St., a food vendor license and purchasing a parcel of property during their meeting Monday.
After recognizing councilmember Jimmy Jeanes for his service to the town, Council moved into the business part of the agenda, discussing the fireworks ordinance, which through amendment, made several changes in the sections dealing with possession and storage. The main result of the ordinance, which received second reading approval, is that the discharge of fireworks is prohibited after 11:00 p.m. on Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day, and after 1:00 a.m. on New Year’s Eve. Council approved the amended version by a vote of 4-0, in the absence of Councilman Donnie Jeanes.
The next item of business was the matter of a mobile food vending license. The town hopes to attract more food trucks to the town for its public events, such as the Christmas Parade and the Fourth of July celebration.
Councilman Jim Riddle, who operates a mobile BBQ cooker and server, was out of town during the meeting where the ordinance was introduced, and the lack of input from him quickly became apparent at Monday night’s meeting.
He immediately challenged the requirement for a special mobile vending license at a cost of a hundred dollars. “That most certainly is not the way to attract vendors to a one day event. There’s no way they can recover that cost and make any money.”
He pointed out that DHEC, which licenses such mobile food vendors, has various tiers of licensing, including a “festivals and events” permit.
“I would make the motion that we table this ordinance until we can address some of these issues in the ordinance,” said Riddle. Council agreed by a vote of four to one, with Councilman Donnie Jeanes having arrived, and Mayor Sanders opposing the motion.
Sanders then presented a resolution expressing the town’s intent to reduce the speed limit on Main Street (Hwy. 8) from the intersection of Hwy. 20 along its entire length through the town, to Palmetto Road from the current speed of 35 miles an hour to 25 miles an hour.
The resolution also requests a traffic review by SCDOT to determine the safest speed limit for that stretch of road. Councilman Jimmy Jeanes expressed his support for a reduction, but preferred a thirty mile an hour limit. “If we get traffic moving too slow, it will start to back up on us and maybe cause a worse problem than we have now.”
Mayor Sanders offered an amendment to the resolution that would recognize the results of the requested traffic study, but which would retain the town’s right to make the final decision. He also pointed out that the resolution is a required step in getting SCDOT involved in the process.
The amended resolution was passed by a vote of four to one, with Councilman Riddle, who has well known issues with the truck traffic in town, opposed to the higher speed limit.
The Council then discussed the proposed purchase of a parcel of land adjacent to the back of Chapman Park. The parcel is currently on the market, and is being sold by its owners, Roger Scott, mayor elect of Pelzer, and Bill Jeanes, a relative of two West Pelzer Council members.
The purchase of the thirty foot deep strip of land would not only enlarge Chapman Park, but it would ensure the town’s ownership of a cinder block building that once served as the town jail.
Mayor Sanders brought the item to the floor for discussion, prompting Councilman Jimmy Jeanes to announce that he would abstain from voting on the proposal because local businessman Bill Jeanes is his brother.
Councilman Donnie Jeanes expressed no such intention to remove himself from the discussion. In fact, he informed the mayor that the second of two options, that being a lower cash offer, tempered by the inclusion of a tractor the town owns, had been altered just that day by Mayor elect Roger Scott.
The offer, for seven thousand dollars cash, and the tractor, according to Councilman Donnie Jeanes, had been raised to eight thousand and the tractor, based on additional potential repairs that the tractor might need. “I talked to Roger around lunch time today, and he said the tractor might be in worse shape than he thought.”
Without the tractor, the cash price of the parcel of land would be twelve thousand dollars. After some discussion of the possible value of the tractor, Sanders proposed making the offer of cash only. Councilman Jimmy Jeanes abstained, after verbally supporting the purchase, and the proposal was approved by a vote of 4-0-1.
By Stan Welch