Pelzer approves first reading on Comprehensive Plan

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Moves forward on getting tax credits for Community Building restoration

During their meeting Tuesday, Pelzer Town Council approved first reading on a Comprehensive Plan and approved a proposal to help get State and Federal tax credits for restoration of the Community Building.
The Town’s Planning Commission recommended adoption of the new Comprehensive Plan which gives direction for future growth in the town.
Henry Youmans with Anderson County Planning and Development presented an overview of the Comprehensive Plan which includes a set of policies intended to serve the Community’s Vision and guide development over the next 10 to 20 year period.
The plan takes into account Population, Economic Development, Natural Resources, Cultural Resources, Community Facilities, Housing, Land Use, Transportation, Priority Investment and Resiliency.
Youmans said the Comprehensive Plan will help guide the town with permitting, zoning and regulations.
According to Youmans, Anderson County provided training for the Town’s recently established Planning Commission and helped put together the plan, which is required of Municipalities by State Law. The Comprehensive Plan is required to be updated every five years, he said.
Youmans said most of the information in the plan was obtained from the 2020 census and that it offers a snapshot of the town. “It lays the groundwork for zoning, now and what you want it to look like in 20 to 30 years.” He said the next step is to create a zoning map which will show residential, commercial and historic districts.
The Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Map “will help with future grants and funding for improvements and development,” he said. “It will put the town on the path to be able to create a sound plan and eliminate some issues that will certainly occur in the future.”
Youmans pointed out the Town’s greatest asset is, “You have access to the Saluda River.” He said the plan will also help protect natural resources, historic appearance and values of the town.
Before giving first reading approval, Councilwoman Donna Ide had some questions about outdated information in the plan. Youmans said corrections or updates can be made on it before the final approval.
Second reading and a public hearing are expected to be held at the next meeting of Town Council. The public will have opportunity for input on the plan before it is finalized.
Town Clerk Cheryl (Beaudreau) Bates reported that 38 work orders completed in October. The police report showed 25 miscellaneous calls, 53 traffic, 104 contacts, 30 calls for service and 6 arrests.
Bates said the Pelzer Christmas Market will be held ths Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. They are expecting fifty vendors, three food trucks and a petting zoo for the event which will be held at the Pelzer Gym. Some vendors will be located inside. Santa will be there from 2 pm to 4 pm.
Town Attorney Richard Thompson updated Council on several property issues he is working on. According to Thompson, there is a signed contract on The Pelzer Church of God property and civil papers have been served to remove the restrictions on the property. The notice must still be placed in the newspaper, he said.
They are in the process of taking depositions from people contesting the purchase of the Pool Property by the Town by eminent domain.
Thompson said the Overlook Park Property that was in the process of being gifted to the Town by the Pelzer Heritage Commission (PHC), did not happen because the PHC attorney did not get the paperwork done. The holdup was the result of PHC putting stipulations on future use of the property, requiring that it be used as a park. The Pelzer Town Council did not want those stipulations put on the property as a part of the agreement.
Concerning the water front trails, Thompson said the Energy Company on the Saluda River that the town is negotiating with is being sold to another company. He said the people he has been talking with think the new company won’t have a problem using some of their property for trails.
There was no old business for Council to conduct.
Under new business, Council approved first reading on the 2022-23 Comprehensive Plan.
Council also approved first reading on an agreement with Preservation South to work on approval of Historic Tax Credits Proposal for the Community Building.
Mayor Will Ragland said if approved, the Town would be eligible for 25 percent State reimbursement and 20 precent Federal reimbursement on funds spent to renovate the historic Community Building.
“Preservation South has extensive experience in getting the tax credit,” Ragland said.
According to Ragland, under the proposal, Preservation South requires a $2,500 retainer fee and the total cost to the town will be 7.5 percent of the gross tax credit amount, which will be approximately $29,000.
Forty-five percent of the fee will come back to the Town when the tax credits are approved.
The fees for the renovation and payments equal to the proposal are already budgeted by the Town.
Ragland said he is excited to get started on the project which will include expansion of the Historic District to include the Wilson Cemetery, the Monkey Park and the Community Building.
The proposal was unanimously approved.
Councilwoman Ide requested the Town consider selling a small piece of property adjacent to her property to her. She said the property is less than one tenth of an acre and is landlocked by other properties. She offered to pay $750 and all related costs associated with the purchase. No action was taken by Council.
Ken Andrews announced that a community outreach program he is working on will provide excess COVID related items including hand sanitizer, masks, sanitizing wipes, hand soaps, cleaning supplies and other items. The items will be free, he said.
Andrews said a trailer load with 40 to 50 pallets of the items will be coming to the old lower mill loading dock located on Pelzer Heritage Commission mill property this Thursday.
He said the PHC allowed him to use the dock for the first load, but he hopes to find a building that can be used on an ongoing basis.
Local organizations including police departments, fire departments, community shelters, foodbanks and churches will have access to the free items Thursday from 12 to 2 pm.
The general public will have access to the items on Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm, he said.
Council then went into executive session for legal advice.