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What your government is doing: Sumter County Council emergency ordinance moves government, council dealings online during virus shutdowns

BY SHELBIE GOULDING shelbie@theitem.com
Posted 3/26/20

Sumter County Council members sat about six feet apart from one another as they practiced social distancing with a live-streamed viewing of its Tuesday meeting.

Council members asked that only those directly affected by agenda items attend the …

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What your government is doing: Sumter County Council emergency ordinance moves government, council dealings online during virus shutdowns

Posted

Sumter County Council members sat about six feet apart from one another as they practiced social distancing with a live-streamed viewing of its Tuesday meeting.

Council members asked that only those directly affected by agenda items attend the meeting to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

During the meeting, council was addressed with an emergency ordinance in response to the threat of COVID-19. The emergency ordinance, which was approved unanimously with Councilman Eugene Baten absent, authorizes council members to participate in meetings electronically from remote locations for approximately 60 days, effective immediately.

Council also unanimously approved another ordinance allowing council to participate in county council meetings by electronic means in certain circumstances.

313 acres near Shaw one step closer to staying rural

In other news, council addressed the second reading on a rezoning request for six separate tax parcels - totaling about 313.6 acres - to change from residential-15 back to agricultural conservation near the intersection of Black River Road and Edens Road.

The zoning designation for these properties was changed from agricultural conservation to residential-15 in 2007 to accommodate future residential development.

However, the zoning back to agricultural conservation was initiated by council because the land has limited infrastructure and no public sewer or water in the area. The area was originally proposed to be a part of the military protection planning area for Shaw Air Force Base, and council plans to keep the area rural because of the limited infrastructure.

The planning commission recommended approval of the rezoning request as it is consistent with the 2040 Comprehensive Plan. Additionally, this rezoning action is supported by the 2016 Sumter-Shaw AFB JLUS, which supports expansion of the current military protection planning area boundaries.

A public hearing was held for the rezoning, but no one attended the meeting to speak during the hearing. Council had asked that only those directly affected by the agenda items attend the meeting, including those affected by requests undergoing a public hearing.

Council unanimously approved the second reading. The rezoning request must undergo three readings to be approved.

Special tax district removed after dam repairs completed from 100-year flood

Council also addressed the first reading of an ordinance to revoke another ordinance that established a special tax district known as "Boyles Pond Special Tax District" in Sumter County.

The special tax district was created so homeowners in the area can collect funds to repair a dam and regain the title to their waterfront property that was damaged during the historic 2015 flood. The ordinance was deemed no longer necessary after the repairs, and council unanimously approved the first reading of the ordinance. The reading will undergo three readings.

Council also unanimously approved a proclamation proclaiming April as Fair Housing Month.

Council also announced the cancellation of its next meeting on April 14.

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, Sumter County Council meetings will be streamed online and available for viewers at https://bit.ly/2UHMl3c until further notice.