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Council Tables Rezoning for Pregnancy Center, Moves Forward on Alcohol, Hospitality Tax Referendums

Anderson County Council on Tuesday night tabled a request rezone a portion of property at 1226 Massey Road near Pendleton for use as a crisis pregnancy home. The issue attracted nearly 100 local residents to the council meeting to voice support/opposition to the plan. 

Council, in a divided vote, tabled the request because Anderson County Councilman Ken Waters, which represents the district in question, was not in attendance due to an illness.

“I think we should start from the top again and consider this again,” said Anderson County Councilwoman Gracie Floyd. Floyd said there was not enough information for her to vote. “We should have to look at all of the information before this comes to us to vote.” 

More than a dozen residents who live in the area spoke out against the rezoning to allow for the residential St. Clare's Home crisis pregnancy center proposed by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston, which seeks to rezone the parcel as part of the 100 acre-tract of land. 

Meanwhile, al number of supporters of the center said the center was needed help meet the rising need of pregnant women in crisis. 

A representative for the diocese said the property was chosen because the location had a buffer around it, and that no expansion of the facility is planned. The home would only take pregnant women who are clean and sober. The home would house eight women, who would stay for an average of 11 months. 

The St. Clare Home would be a partnership between the Diocese of Charleston and Good Counsel, Inc., a corporation headquartered in Hoboken, NJ, which operates seven maternity homes in 4 states (NY, NJ, CT, AL). 

Those who opposed the rezoning, unanimously voiced support for the cause of the proposed crisis pregnancy center, but said the Massey Road site was not a good location for the ministry. 

“I am very concerned that the people who are for this rezoning don’t live anywhere near it, while those who oppose it live right there,” said Anderson County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson.

Anderson County Councilman Craig Wooten asked if there were notes on the recommendation and there were none available. Wooten also asked if the exception in the rezoning were approved, would open the door to other groups to locate on the property. Apparently it would impact the future of an expanded way of how the property can be used.

“We have gone through the process,” said Anderson County Council Chairman Tommy Dunn. “It’s a very worthwhile thing, but when you look at a piece of property you need to look at zoning. If this passes, in a few years, a lot of other things could be built on the property.” 

Dunn and Wilson voted to deny the request, but were defeated in the vote by Floyd, Wooten and Anderson County Councilman Tom Allen.

“I don’t see where this home would really be a big problem,” Allen said. “On the other hand, we are all representatives of the people, and a lot of the people who live adjacent to the property don’t want it, and we have to represent these people.” 

The zoning request will be moved to the Aug. 21 County Council agenda for further consideration. 

Anderson County Council also moved ahead Tuesday night with provisions to allow voters to decide on Sunday alcohol sales and weigh in on an advisory resolution to approve two percent hospitality tax for unincorporated areas of the county. 

If approved, the alcohol referendum would allow businesses, non-profit organizations and other groups to sell alcoholic beverages countywide on Sundays.

The second referendum would be used by council as an advisory vote. The two percent hospitality tax would generate approximately $3.4 million annually for recreation projects and parks in the county. Nearly all of the county’s municipalities already have the two percent hospitality tax, and the City of Anderson generates approximately $2.7 million from their hospitality tax each year. 

Full council approved recommendations of the public safety committee which met July 13 to extend the EMS contract with AnMed.

Also on Tuesday night, council:

Approved plans to explore the development  of a road for the TTI Innovation Center along I-85, which could cost $4.5 million.

Approved moving ahead with sewer line for Arthrex.

Approved plans to expand the Starr-Iva Landfill which is nearing capacity. The expansion will be paid by new debt service payment of $289,000. The current debt service payment of $358.000 wil be complete this year, so the new funds for expansion could represent some savings. A mulcher/grinder machine for the site is also being considered. The machine would cost approximately $550,000, with an estimated $75,000 per year additional cost to run the new equipment. More information here: The mulch created would be free to Anderosn County citizens.

Approved finance committee recommendations which will allow the county to accept private contributions for a dog park at P.A.W.S. 

Approved coordinated funding to move forward with the building of the new terminal at the Anderson Regional Airport.

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