The City of Orangeburg is reviewing its enforcement of the animal control ordinance.

“It is certainly an issue that we need to address,” City Administrator Sidney Evering told council on Tuesday.

“Public safety is of the foremost concern, whether we have to protect ourselves from two-legged animals or four-legged animals,” he said.

Evering said he has spoken with the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety about the matter.

“We certainly all agree that we need to step up our enforcement efforts,” he said.

Officials have discussed amending the ordinance to allow for greater enforcement, he said.

The city’s animal control ordinance was brought to Evering’s attention by City Councilman Jerry Hannah.

Hannah expressed concerns about stray dogs and cats and requested the city revisit and strengthen its animal control ordinance.

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Hannah said he recently witnessed three dogs killing a cat in his backyard.

“I am sorry for the cat,” Hannah said. “It is a precious life. Somebody’s animal lost their life, but more importantly it could have been my grandchild, your grandchild, a neighbor’s grandchild. It could have been anybody.”

Hannah said he and his wife bought bikes a few years ago, but have not used their bikes to ride in the city because of stray dogs. He said one time his wife fell down and was approached by an animal.

“We have dogs walking the neighborhood and they jump at you and they have the chains around the neck,” he said. “They are vicious.”

Hannah requested any changes to the ordinance receive public input.

“The last thing we want is for a child or anyone to be harassed or bitten or harmed by animals who are on the loose like that,” Evering said.

Railroad Corner
study grant

Council was informed the city received a $350,000 U.S. Department of Transportation grant to conduct a design and engineering study of pedestrian and vehicle traffic flow at Railroad Corner.

The study will examine the possibility of a multi-modal network to connect South Carolina State University and Claflin University students to the downtown area.

The study will also seek to identify road improvements needed for better vehicle traffic flow along Magnolia Street, Russell Street and Boulevard Street.

The study will also include a  preliminary design and feasibility analysis  for a pedestrian bridge.

Norfolk Southern has noted it would prefer a pedestrian bridge to an at-grade crossing, Evering said.

The city is currently looking to redevelop the corner.

Councilman Bernard Haire expressed concerns about a proposal to make Boulevard a one-way street due to the potential impact on churches.

Haire recalled there was a proposal to make Boulevard a one-way street several years ago and he was opposed to it at that time.

Evering said the proposal “is not anything that has been adopted in stone.”

Councilwoman Liz Zimmerman Keitt expressed her appreciation that the project is moving forward.

“We have talked about this for maybe 15 to 20 years,” she said. “We want our students to be safe or anyone crossing over from Boulevard to Magnolia or Magnolia to Boulevard. I am just thankful this is coming to fruition.”

Council received an update on the city’s zoning ordinance.

The city’s planning board voted last month to amend the city’s zoning ordinance in an effort to bring some clarification to the buffering requirements.

The amendment will require buffering between commercial and residential properties in the future.

Haire questioned if existing mobile home owners would have to put in new buffers.

Assistant City Administrator John Singh said a buffer would be needed if, for example, more mobile or manufactured homes were added to a particular mobile home park.

Hannah asked if buffer materials such as vinyl or plastic could be used instead of block walls or wood. Singh said the matter will be examined and an answer will be ready for the first reading.

City Council is scheduled to give first reading of the ordinance Dec. 21 and final reading on Jan. 18, 2022.

In other business:

• Council gave third and final reading approval to changes to the city’s business license ordinance.

As part of the ordinance, the city has reduced its small vendor fee to $25 from $30. The daily vendor fee is for small vendors who want to come into the city to sell items, such as at a fair or festival.

The changes are designed to bring the city into compliance with the new S.C. Business License Tax Standardization Act.

• Council recognized kindness as the community of character trait for the month of December.

• Council entered into closed session to discuss the performance evaluations of the city’s municipal judge and Department of Public Utilities manager. There was no discussion of the matter in open session and no public decision made.

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