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North Augusta’s sneak attack on Merriwether aided by County Council
A column by the Editor
posted October 12, 2009
COLUMN – The encroachment of the City of
North Augusta into the Merriwether area is being paved with the
blessings of three county council members who do not even live in the
community. Two county council members, who are part of the community,
have voted against matters that will continue to expand the annexation
by backdoor measures. Merriwether residents seem helpless to defend
against encroachments from North Augusta and our own county leaders who
rule, not represent. As if that is new in Edgefield County politics.
It is an attack; as Merriwether rallied in record numbers in 1999 to
defend their property rights, the Edgefield County Council ignored them
and took those rights away. It was said then, by County Council
Chairman Monroe Kneece and others, that zoning would “protect” the
residents of Merriwether from unwanted growth that was taking place on
Martintown Road towards the Edgefield County line by North Augusta.
In spite of the overwhelming opposition by residents, county leaders -
including Merriwether County Councilman Danny Bishop - voted against
the people. Bishop was then voted out of office, but that damage was
Fast forward to 2009 and the Haglar Systems owners’ request to rezone
their current location on Five Notch Road and Murrah Road into
industrial (though surrounded by residential property) and a separate
five acres that sits empty and with no plans foreseen in the next
decade, into the only available commercial property in Merriwether.
Isn’t’ that special?
Mr. Haglar (who does not reside in Edgefield County) did not even know
his company was located in Merriwether. He though it was located in
“Harrisburg”. There’s a “good neighbor” for you.
North Augusta has already purchased large parcels of land well into
Edgefield County and the Merriwether Community along Five Notch Road
that is very close to the Haglar property. The surrounding community
has made their concerns known to their representative, County
Councilwoman Genia Blackwell,
opposing the rezoning of the property and she is ignored.
Councilman Rodney Ashcraft, who also represents part of the Merriwether
area has also opposed the rezoning yet the veteran majority ignores
Edgefield, Johnston, and Bettis Academy will determine what Merriwether
should look like, not the people of Merriwether.
The final vote will be held on November 3 at the Edgefield County
Council Chambers on Jeter Street in Edgefield.
Meanwhile, with the people distracted with one end of Murrah Road in
Merriwether being overrun, the south section is also under attack. The
Edgefield Planning Commission was presented with a plan by Jay Lacey
and Meybhom Realty for the failed development of Palmetto Point by
Lacey several years ago.
This time the same requests for commercial development is made, but the
plan also shows “possible” expansion with the purchase of 350
uninhabited acres that just so happens to be for sale and adjoins the
city limits of North Augusta. In fact, Meybohm representatives stated
the city was more than willing to take the property in through
annexation to provide sewer service, making the city limits of North
Augusta a reality all the way to Murrah Road.
That is the dirty secret way North Augusta is taking over. They buy
property where no one lives, take it in without a vote, and the very
people who oppose it have no way to defend themselves.
There is a defense; it is the Edgefield County Council. Three no votes
on the two rezoning requests by Haglar will be a first and vital step.
If the Haglar change is approved, there will be no stopping North
Augusta. Meybohm and Lacey will demand their request be granted because
the precedent has now been set.
If zoning, put in place to protect Merriwether (as Monroe Kneece and
Willie Bright said at the time) really is to protect Merriwether, why
are they voting against two members of the same county council who
represent the area? Council members Rodney Ashcraft and Genia Blackwell
defeated the measure once with the help of Norman Dorn. A month later
it was brought back up and has been passed on 3-2 votes
What changed? Who is cowering to special interests and not the will of
the people? Who is doing what is “best” for Edgefield County and who is
doing what is best for a very select few?
The real question in all of this is simple. Were Monroe Kneece and
Willie Bright lying to Merriwether in 1999-2000 or are they lying to
the people of Merriwether in 2009?
If they vote “yes” next month they will be on record as being liars in
The fact is only a “no” vote will give them any credibility on the
issue they promoted against the will of the Merriwether community. Will
they vote to become liars?
© Copyright 2009
original material is property of
EdgefieldDaily.com and cannot be reproduced, rewritten or redistributed
without the expressed written permission of Edgefield Daily.com
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