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Sumter City Council discusses regulating donation bins, approves alcohol sales at annual downtown festivals

BY SHELBIE GOULDING shelbie@theitem.com
Posted 1/24/20

Donations bins being replaced and regulated around Sumter, funding for local community groups and the annual approval of alcohol at downtown events were all voted on at Sumter City Council's Tuesday meeting.

Proposed donation bin regulations …

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Sumter City Council discusses regulating donation bins, approves alcohol sales at annual downtown festivals

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Donations bins being replaced and regulated around Sumter, funding for local community groups and the annual approval of alcohol at downtown events were all voted on at Sumter City Council's Tuesday meeting.

Proposed donation bin regulations clarified

Green Zone Recycling is looking to clean up and add regulations to donation bins across the city and county.

George McGregor, director of the Sumter City-County Planning Department, said the placement and maintenance of the bins have become an issue; owners of the bins have left them overflowing and placed in parking spaces.

With creating standards, the bins could be placed on a curbside rather than a parking space, and the owners could be fined if the bins are overflowing or not maintained properly.

McGregor said the planning commission has taken into consideration local nonprofits, like the Salvation Army and Sumter United Ministries. He said nonprofits will not be affected by the standards. Only profitable organizations will be affected, as they are required to have a business license for donation bins.

The planning commission recommended to have the bins replaced with ones with a higher-quality design and better placement via the regulations, as well.

Only one community member spoke during the public hearing Tuesday before City Council's first reading of the proposal, saying he wants the nonprofits to be taken care of during this matter. He said he likes seeing donations come back to the community rather than going to for-profit organizations.

Sumter City Council unanimously approved the ordinance's first reading. Two readings must be approved for an ordinance to pass.

Mini-warehouses parking requirements may change

The first reading of another ordinance, on behalf of the planning staff, referred to amending off-street parking requirements for non-residential land uses to reduce parking requirements for mini-warehouse uses.

The planning commission plans to change the current one-space-per-10-storage-units requirement to five spaces or one space per 100 storage units.

No one spoke during the public hearing, and council members unanimously approved the first reading.

Community improvement funding

The CDBG Entitlement Budget is an annual fund Sumter receives from the federal government used to improve neighborhoods and make overall life better for residents. Last year, Sumter received about $306,000, and this year's projected amount is $306,499.

Taking the public's requests into consideration from a November 2019 meeting, the budget plans to give the requested amount of $2,500 to Sumter Family YMCA Youth Services and $24,500 to Sumter United Ministries. The remainder of the budget was split between administration, demolition, housing repair and youth employment projects.

Main Street revitalization

Council also unanimously approved the final reading of a property transfer along North Main Street to the South Carolina Department of Transportation as part of the North Main Street Revitalization Project.

Other notes

Just more than 27 acres located at the intersection of Broad Street and Carter Road were unanimously approved for annexation for a future commercial and health services development with applicant High Level Properties LLC and Entrust Retirement Services LLC.

Council had to unanimously approve the second bidder for the Keels Road Water Line Replacement Project because the first bidder, J.W. Brown Construction, was unable to provide the required bonds. Digging Deep Construction has been contracted for the project at a price of $137,401.

A maintenance guarantee for Phase II of Stafford Meadows Subdivision, consisting of 17 lots numbered 38-54 on Olsen Court and Cromier Drive, was unanimously approved.

Six council members approved an annual resolution authorizing the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages (beer and wine only) at several annual events held downtown, while Councilman Calvin Hastie voted against the resolution, as has been precedent.

Council unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance to lower speed limits on certain city-owned roads and to lower speed limits under certain conditions, all while providing enforcement on such lowered speed limits.

The next Sumter City Council meeting on Feb. 4 is canceled due to council members being in Columbia for a Hometown Legislative Action Day with the Municipal Association of South Carolina.