Williamston approves budget, zoning changes related to development


During their meeting Monday, Williamston Town Council approved second reading on the 2021-22 budget, rezoned property located near Town Square Center and Mahaffey Road and is taking steps to abandon a small portion of Pelzer Avenue. They also heard several requests related to events, planning and zoning updates honored former councilman Dr. Harold Mackey who passed away last week.

Mayor Pro Tem Chris Alexander conducted the meeting in the absence of Mayor Rockey Burgess, who phoned in for discussions and votes.

Calvary Baptist Church pastor Mark Roberts spoke about a speical July 4th service that will honor civic leaders and thanked the council for their service. (Additional details will be announced in The Journal).
Pamela Owens, of the Williamston Historic Committee, requested a slight increase to $600 in the budgeted amount for candy for Boo in the Park. She also requested $650 for repairs to the historic Scout Hut.
Owens also appeared for the Cemetery Committee, which recently requested $3,500 for repairs and maintenance of the historic town cemetery.

Springwater Committee Chair David Meade gave an update on the Spring Water Festival. Meade said this will be the 40th anniversary for the festival which is scheduled for Aug. 27 and 28. He said the Friday hours will be 6 pm to 10 pm and the committee would like to extend the Saturday hours to 10 p.m. He also asked council to allow alcohol to be sold during the evening entertainment (concert) hours of the festival on both days. Meade said food vendors have been slow to respond this year, in part to the town’s new mobile food vendor ordinance, and asked council to consider a waiver for the festival this year.

Marion Williams updated council on zoning and planning. He said the commission members have been busy this year with requests including a variance request by a developer to split property at Cherokee Road and Mattison, which was approved in April. In May, a request by a developer to split two parcels on Dove. St. was rejected. A second request to split two lots at Dove St. and Belton Hwy. into four lots was approved.
Property on Hahaffey Road was rezoned from Industrial (I2) to Multi Residential and another request related to the Town Square property development was approved to meet zoning needs.

Second reading on the 2021-22 budget was approved with one amendment, with the slight increase in the amount amount budgeted for the full time position at the fire department. The change reflects an announcement made recently that David Huff will be the town’s new fire chief and the position will be paid. (See separate story).
Council unanimously approved the $3.3 million budget. Millage will remain the same at 112.5 mills, with no tax increase.

Highlights of the new budget include a 1.5 percent across the board salary increase for town employees, some adjustments to the Hospitality Tax fund budget and the Envision Williamston Main Street Budget being cut in half, to $35,000.

Council approved rezoning three properties located near Town Square Center to Core Commercial as part of the Ingles Markets, Inc. which recently purchased the Town Square Center property. The properties included Parcel 4, currently owned by Anderson School District 1, changed from INS Institutional; Parcel 5 currently owned by the Town of Williamston and zoned INS Institutional and Parcel 6, currently owned by the Town of Williamston and zoned INS Institutional.

Council unanimously approved an ordinance to abandon the town’s interest in a small portion of the Pelzer Avenue roadbed adjacent to the Town Square Center parking lot. The abandonment is related to a title search requirement for a land survey for Ingles Markets, Inc.
Town Attorney Rame Campbell said the action was “tieing up loose ends with the property related to ownership of the road.” The street is official listed as Pelzer Street. It includes a portion of the shopping center parking lot to East Main Street.

Council unanimously approved a resolution honoring Dr. Harold Mackey who served as Councilman for Ward One for many years. Dr. Mackey was the first African American to served on Town Council. Councilman Tony Hagood, who is Mackey’s Godson, thanked the town for embracing Dr. Mackey, who was the first African American Councilman in Williamston.

Council discussed an ordinance addressing “deliveries” of unsolicited written material. The ordinance was initiated by Councilman Lee Cole to address “free newspapers” being left on properties in the town. Mayor Burgess said he had spoke with a representative of the newspaper company and they are setting up a opt out website. The issues was tabled to next month.

Council approved the Spring Water Festival request to allow alcohol to be sold during the evening hours of the festival 4-1 with Councilman Hagood opposed. The request to waive food vending requirements was put off to receive additional information.

Council tabled the Historic Commission and Cemetery Committee request to be discussed at the next council work session.