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SUMTER CITY COUNCIL: Concerns aired on amending removal of commercial use in residential communities

BY SHELBIE GOULDING shelbie@theitem.com
Posted 10/16/19

Sumter residents and residential business owners aired concerns about the first reading of an amendment to remove commercial use in residential communities before Sumter City Council at Tuesday's meeting.

Applicant James Crawley requested the …

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SUMTER CITY COUNCIL: Concerns aired on amending removal of commercial use in residential communities

Posted

Sumter residents and residential business owners aired concerns about the first reading of an amendment to remove commercial use in residential communities before Sumter City Council at Tuesday's meeting.

Applicant James Crawley requested the city amend Article III to remove nursing and personal care, adult care/adult day care, individual and family social services, residential care facilities, rooming and boarding houses and organizational hotels and lodging facilities from the list of conditional uses in the residential-6 and residential-9 districts.

Crawley said the intent of this is to "help the City of Sumter promote itself as a great place to live, work and retire by providing the highest quality of living possible within its single-family neighborhoods."

During the public hearings, seven residents spoke in favor of the removal, and four spoke in opposition.

Residents in favor said commercial use didn't belong in their neighborhoods, as it changed the family dynamic in the area. They want their neighborhoods to be preserved and safe from heavy traffic and taken into consideration, especially in the Historic District.

Those who spoke against the removal said bringing commercial use to the city will help it grow economically. They said this is an opportunity to bring more businesses and jobs to the City of Sumter.

The planning commission and staff recommended approval with special exceptions rather than prohibiting these uses from operating within R-6 and R-9 districts. This would allow flexibility and context-specific decision making and provide an opportunity for public input.

Taking public hearings into consideration, city council motioned to defer the first reading to amend Article III of the city's zoning and development ordinance standards to the next meeting.

Councilmen David Merchant and Colin Davis were absent.

2040 Comprehensive Plan may be finalized by Dec. 31

During Tuesday's meeting, an overview of the 2040 Comprehensive Plan was presented in a brief first reading.

Both city council and Sumter County Council have been presented with two similar documents to adopt the plan. County council approved the first reading Tuesday, Oct. 8, with six council members in favor, while Councilman Chris Sumpter voted against.

The 2040 Comprehensive Plan is a land use and policy document that will be used to direct the economic development and growth of Sumter through required elements and building blocks to advise recommendations and strategies for the city and county.

The document is similar to the 2030 Comprehensive Plan, but it's now updated and clearer to read, according to Sumter City-County Planning Department Director George McGregor.

During public hearings, three Sumter residents spoke in favor of the plan and said it would bring more people to the city.

City council unanimously approved the consideration of the first reading of the 2040 Comprehensive Plan.

As the adoption process continues, the planning commission predicts the 2040 Comprehensive Plan will be adopted by Dec. 31.

In other news, Councilman Calvin Hastie invited the public to take part in Sumter's Super Saturday Clean-up for National Make a Difference Day on Oct. 26.

Many Sumter volunteers gather annually to help make a difference in cleaning up the city, neighborhoods, parks and more at this event.

It will be from 8 a.m. to noon, starting at 810 S. Main St.