Edgefield County As It Happens

Edgefield County, South Carolina

March 16, 2005

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The Wizard

web posted April 16, 2005
Editorial Staff

In recent months the ever divisive issue of zoning has reared its head once again in Edgefield County. Notably in the recent consideration of zoning a 2000’ wide strip of Sweetwater Road from the Oaks subdivision, in already residentially zoned Merriwether, to the end of Mount Vintage ending at Republican Road.

Much ado was made of this as residents were notified by mail concerning the change in the classification of their property. Director of Building and Planning, Howard Gibson, states in reality all of the county is “zoned” that just some are “zoned” un-zoned but are still bound by the regulations set out in the ordinance.

Those residents came en masse to the planning commission meeting and requested a written poll, which was granted. That poll has now been mailed to property owners who would be affected by the new zoning classification created just for Sweetwater Road.

The promise by the commission is that if passed the residents would be protected from unwanted commercial or other “offensive” growth they deem unwanted. That sounds good doesn’t it?

Remember though, that is a promise made by government.

We see a perfect example of promises and actions at work in Merriwether. Just 30 days after offering to protect residents along Sweetwater Road from “unwanted growth” the same commission, under guise of secrecy (no affected resident was notified of the requested change of zoning) changed the very same protections of residential property owners without their knowledge.

Like the slight of hand magician they seem to want you to watch the hand they are active with while ignoring the ones they are tricking you with.

If you read our earlier statements on this zoning, you will see the very predictions we made come true. Looking at the questionnaire we find it could have been summed up with the first two questions; Do you live or own property on Sweetwater Road and do you think Sweetwater Road needs any zoning? Simple and to the point.

However, the other seven questions are designed to make you feel bad if you don’t agree with the “protections” offered.

“Do you care about what happens on Sweetwater Road? Implies that if you don’t support zoning, you don’t care about what happens. That is just plain hogwash.

Look at how many times this same tactic is used throughout the “questionnaire” with similar references to protection, beauty, and caring. Question 4 refers to “If there were zoning”, an insinuation that makes one accept it as a forgone conclusion. Question 5 refers to what should be done to “protect the beauty of the area”, a promise the same commission just undid in Merriwether. “Is growth” in the area “a concern to you”, and ending with “should it go all the way to Edgefield”?

All designed to be able to take a majority “no” and say there is a “concern” and, therefore regardless of the majority “no” on the basic first two questions, pass it on.

We just have to ask ourselves: Can we trust those who promise security, at the loss of liberty and private property rights, to uphold that promise while at the same time they are stripping those securities away from those they promised these same “protections” to under a similar promise? A promise now broken.

To us, it is like the Wizard being caught behind the curtain in the movie The Wizard of Oz, “ignore that man behind the curtain. It means nothing.” Moreover, once revealed, he promised them nothing they did not already have. They had just surrendered their labors for what they already owned, only now dependant on him for their rescue.

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