Edgefield County As It Happens

Edgefield County, South Carolina

June 25, 2005

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Here we go again


web posted June 25, 2005

The Edgefield County Council has, once again, gone about things in the wrong way. At the Special Called Meeting this week two new ordinances were added to the agenda without notification.

These are not just any old ordinances; these are zoning ordinances which affect the entire county.

With the recent turmoil over four chicken houses going in a near hundred acre tract in Trenton the county has drawn up ordinances that would directly affect the intention of a property owner and the use of property. If the county wants to limit Confined Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFO’s, they have the authority to do so. To do so with the explicit intent on stopping one certain person from doing what has passed all inspections and federal approval is another.

Not to mention that if the county has instituted zoning in any fashion within 5000 feet of the property in question, the property owner would have to own 640 acres, or one square mile, to place a single chicken house on the property for the reason of selling chickens or eggs.

We are not saying feed lots should be allowed to be placed next to well established subdivisions. That would be ridiculous. However large tract owners who are in unzoned areas of the county, and in some cases even zoned areas, are allowed to use their property under the existing land use regulations.

To change those in mid-stream is not only foolish but revealing.

Nadine Horne, who is leading the charge to defeat the proposed chicken farm, says she has nothing to do with the implementation of the newly drafted ordinance. She claims this is entirely directed and inserted by Count Administrator Wayne Adams. Her group, she says, has never met with the county to design such an ordinance.

One thing is for certain; once again Edgefield County could be facing more legal ramifications over actions of the council under the direction of the administrator. To attempt to pass legislation to specifically target one individual may not pass court muster. Rodney Cato could no doubt challenge the ordinance and other farmers should no doubt also take notice their livelihood is also in jeopardy.

Should Lake Trenton be granted zoning if all, or an overwhelming majority, want it? Without question. Should the county be able to stop a vest and interested party from continuing a project that has already been given government approval and met county requirements presently in place? No.

To save face the county needs to table the ordinance until the matter between Lake Trenton and the permits for the farm are settled. Acting now is overreaching and shows the county is directing the county away from what has provided the mainstay of jobs and taxes in the county.

Regardless of how the issue is resolved in the courts, the county should wisely place itself on the sidelines and not act in such a seemingly underhanded manner.

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