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Orangeburg County Council gave preliminary approval to several rezoning requests last week.

Council must approve the changes over the course of three readings for them to become final.

The rezonings include:

• Council gave second reading approval to the rezoning of property located next to the Bowman Medical Center, at the intersection of Bowman Avenue and Charleston Highway, to commercial general for the purpose of developing a general retail store on about 2.45 acres. The property has been zoned forest/agriculture.

The project did not receive any comments from the public and was previously approved by the county’s planning commission.

• Council gave second reading approval to the rezoning of property at 3099 Rowesville Road to commercial general for the purpose of reestablishing a bar club and event venue.

The building had previously been an event venue which hosted events and parties, and served as a club. The property, which is about three miles south of the Orangeburg city limits, has been located in the forest/agriculture district.

• Council gave second reading approval to the rezoning of property at 5979 North Road in Orangeburg to business industrial district to establish an auto salvage business. The lot is about 25 acres.

Three individuals expressed their opposition to the rezoning at the county’s planning commission meeting, but the commissioners gave unanimous approval for the project to proceed.

The property used to house G&J Import Salvage. It has been located in the forest/agriculture district.

• Council gave first reading approval to the rezoning of property at 2729 Binnicker Bridge Road in Cope to commercial general for the purpose of operating a lounge bar and grill.

About 12 individuals expressed their opposition to the rezoning request to the county planning commission. The planning commission voted 4-2 to approve the rezoning request. County Council unanimously gave it first reading.

It is located at the corner of Binnicker Bridge Road and Brandi Lane. The property has been zoned as forest/agriculture.

• Council gave first reading approval the rezoning of property on Riverbank Drive/Jessamine Drive to residential single-family for the purpose of a single-family residential development. The property is already surrounded by single-family residential dwellings.

One individual voiced concerns about the continued growth in the area and the impact of the development on wildlife. The property has been zoned for forest/agriculture. The county’s planning commission had previously approved the rezoning unanimously.

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“It is in line with what is already out there,” Council Vice Chair Janie Cooper-Smith said.

In other business:

• Orangeburg County Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting a state Senate bill that would allow counties to increase taxes above the state’s millage cap in order to support fire districts.

If it became law, Senate Bill 401 would allow county councils to suspend the millage rate limitation for the purpose of supporting a fire protection district over a two-year period.

Orangeburg County Administrator Harold Young clarified that council was supporting the bill because the South Carolina Association of Counties asked it to and not because Orangeburg County plans to enact any millage increases.

Prior to giving unanimous support to the resolution, Orangeburg County Council Chairman Johnnie Wright noted the proposed millage increase would only be for two years.

“It is not an ongoing thing,” Wright said.

• Council gave first reading, by title only, to an equipment lease-purchase agreement with Motorola Solutions, Inc. Council also passed a resolution allowing the purchase to move forward.

The county has been using Motorola radios and equipment since 2012 and the county’s lease with the company expires in 2022. The agreement allows the county to replace old equipment with new equipment in June 2022. The maximum amount of the expense would be $1.6 million.

The expense includes installation.

• Council passed a resolution allowing it to enter into a management services contract with the YMCA of Columbia for the management of its Orangeburg County YMCA facility and the Santee Recreation and Water Park

The county entered into the contract with the YMCA 10 years ago and it is up for renewal.

The specific terms of the contract will be determined at a later date, but the contract will allow either party to terminate the agreement with a six-month notice.

• Council unanimously passed a resolution to enter into an annexation covenant with the City of Orangeburg in order to connect its Mixon Mill facility to Department of Public Utilities sewer lines.

The latest phase in the public sewer project brought sewer lines to the Edisto High School and surrounding neighborhoods.

There are plans to continue to expand sewer beyond the high school. The county is waiting to see about the availability of U.S. Department of Agriculture grants to help move the sewer expansion forward.

• Council appointed Dr. Windy Mack Stephenson to the Orangeburg County Human Relations Council for District 7.

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