County Council still dealing with Preston issue

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By Stan Welch
In a brief meeting Tuesday night, the Anderson County Council approved amendments to their lease agreement with Orian Rugs, Inc. Economic Development Director Burriss Nelson explained that the company is seeking to streamline its business model in order to make it easier for them to seek loans for future business purposes.
Frank Pressley, frequent attender of meetings and political gadfly challenged Chairman Tommy Dunn to explain the nature of the original agreements, or fee in lieu of taxes arrangements. The amendments were two in number, leading to two public hearings, which Pressley used to demand an explanation of a financial arrangement made forty years ago.
Nelson had earlier explained that the amendments simply cleared up some legal language making the arrangements fee simple, and removing the county from the legal chain of ownership. Dunn explained both times that public hearings are not town hall meetings, but opportunities for the public to express their opinions on specific issues. The Council proceeded with both votes, unanimously approving the amendments.
Second reading approval was given to an amendment to the county ordinances, which established restrictions on the location of substance abuse treatment centers. The restrictions are similar to those placed on the location of bars to churches and sewer treatment facilities to residential areas. The restrictions will require another reading before taking effect.
Planning Director Dr. Jeff Parkey addressed a zoning change request for a development slated to begin construction at 2729 Highway 29 North and Cox Road. The property, approximately 108 acres, will contain two hundred fifty five single family homes. The amendment proposed would allow the developer to relocate the amenities planned for the project to a more convenient location.
Seventy acres of the tract will contain the homes, while the remainder is wetlands and unsuitable for building, according to Councilwoman Cindy Wilson.
Council also conducted an executive session concerning the matter of the Joey Preston case, which is slated to be heard by the S.C. Supreme Court later this month. Preston’s attorneys have been pressing for a settlement. Following the executive session, no votes were taken.