By Stan Welch
Pelzer’s efforts to utilize county resources to enforce a group of county ordinances within the town limits appear to be gaining traction, according to Anderson County Attorney Leon Harmon.
Negotiations with the town’s attorney, Jimmy King, have been underway, said Harmon. Chief Magistrate Linda Dudley Graham has also been involved in discussions, and Harmon indicated that she is in accord with the use of the magistrate’s court. That concession would allow Pelzer to postpone, or possibly avoid, the expense of establishing a municipal court of its own.
The council had been studying the question of enacting ordinances governing such issues as weed control, littering, building codes, unfit dwellings, manufactured homes and parks, and junkyards and open storage. The absence of a municipal court, and the inability to fund one, left the council with few options; with the main one being to adopt county ordinances verbatim and let the county enforce them.
At a special called meeting two weeks ago, the council gave first reading approval by title only to adopt the sections of the county code that deal with the issues mentioned above. Attorney King cautioned them that the county had given no formal indication of their willingness to enforce county law in the town limits. According to Harmon, that position has shifted, at least somewhat.
“It appears that the county can work with the Town of Pelzer in the area of building and codes enforcement at this time. Enforcement of those ordinances seldom involve the use of the magistrate courts. For example, in a case concerning a building and its compliance with the building codes, if it fails to meet those standards, then the county simply doesn’t issue a certificate of occupation until it does. If certain requirements for permits aren’t met, the permits simply aren’t issued.”
Harmon pointed out that enforcement of the other ordinances under consideration has not been agreed upon at this time. “I have been in no discussions regarding the other ordinances under consideration for adoption by the town,” said Harmon. “If the town council chooses to adopt the other ordinances, the county will work with them provided that the proper mechanisms are in place to enforce those ordinances. If those mechanisms are in place, the county will try to work with the town,” said County Administrator Rusty Burns.
A public hearing on the adoption of the ordinances was held in Pelzer Tuesday evening. A report on that hearing and the outcome appears elsewhere in this issue of The Journal.
By Stan Welch