West Pelzer approves purchase of property adjacent Chapman Park

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By Stan Welch
The West Pelzer Town Council, after conducting a public hearing on the matter, voted to proceed with the purchase of a thirty foot deep strip of land adjacent to the rear of Chapman Park.
Some opposition was expressed by the public during the hearing, as well as by newly installed Councilwoman Vickie Farmer. The Council considered two options. One was to offer twelve thousand in cash for the .12 acre parcel; or to offer six thousand cash and the town’s 1987 Case 580 tractor, valued by the sellers of the parcel at six thousand dollars.
Mayor Blake Sanders seconded Councilman Jim Riddle’s motion to make the cash offer and retain the tractor. Councilwoman Farmer sought to table the issue until she could study it more closely, but was informed by town attorney Carey Murphy that the motion would have to be withdrawn, and not tabled. Sanders and Councilman Riddle declined to withdraw their motion and second, with Riddle chiding Farmer for questioning the transaction.
“You say you aren’t sure we have the money to do this, but we just told you that we do. Don’t you trust us to know what we’re doing?” asked Riddle.
Councilman Donnie Jeanes defended Farmer, saying that it was her first meeting and she was simply trying to learn more about the proposal.
(Note: Jeanes was mistakenly identified in an earlier Journal article as the son of Bill Jeanes, one of the sellers of the property, rather than his nephew)
Jeanes abstained from voting and Farmer voted against it, leading to a 3-1-1 vote to approve the purchase. The funds will be drawn equally from the general fund, water and sewer fund and hospitality tax fund. Sanders said the purchase will be absorbed in the coming fiscal year.
Council also unanimously gave second reading approval to an ordinance regulating mobile food vendors. The ordinance established several conditions aside from the need for a business license, such as proper SCDHEC permits, general liability insurance and a published menu with fixed prices. The ordinance also removes the need for such a license for special events sponsored by the town.
The Council also discussed the conditions for the rental of the O’Dell Community Center, which is the current incarnation of ther former town hall. The building is currently awaiting remodeling and upgrading. One feature that will be added is an ADA compliant bathroom at the rear of the building that will serve Chapman Park without giving access to the building itself.
The matter was tabled for further study.
Jason White presented the results of the audit for FY 2016-2017, and informed the Council that the town had received an unmodified opinion, or the best rating available.
The mayor, citing the start of a new job, asked that the Council’s usual meeting date of the second Monday of the month be changed to the first Tuesday. Council agreed to the change.