2011-10-21 / Government / Neighborhood

After “much” discussion, Richland County Council passed an amendment to the private subdivision ordinance

By Mike Cox

At the Richland County Council meeting this week, proclamations honoring several outstanding Richland County citizens were heard. Three retiring judges were recognized for their long service to the county.

Judge Samuel Peay has served Richland County for 45 years. Peay was born in Ridgeway, moved to Richland County at the tender age of six, and started working for the county soon after. He was the first African American Sergeant with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.

Judge Clevette Hudnell was born in the county and graduated from Keenan High School. She has served as a judge for 12 years. Judge William Womble spent most of his 32 years on the county bench improving the court system in the county. Many of the current changes for the better are directly the result of his efforts.

Donetta Brown Wilson, who is 104, grew up on the farm where her great grandparents were slaves. She taught herself to read using the Bible and Sears catalogue, eventually graduated from college and becoming a teacher. She primarily taught rural elementary students to read. Wilson has also voted in every election since 1947.

Robert Arial was honored for his recent donation to the State museum and USC. His treasure trove of telescopes and celestial information, brochures, and periodicals were given to the folks who can use them to teach. The collection ranks in the top ten groupings of this type in the entire world.

During citizen’s input, Virginia Sanders was given special permission to speak for a second time on the controversial purchase of the Caughman Property in Lower Richland County. She was under the impression the county was involved in purchasing that property to use as a park but was concerned when she learned the administrative staff is asking permission from the council to take advantage of a clause in the purchase agreement which allows for a feasibility study on the property and 110 yearold dam. Sanders felt this was a stalling tactic by some county employees and council members rather than due diligence where the county’s money and property are concerned.

In regular business, the Richland County Council demonstrated why it has the reputation it does when the subject of decisive, intelligent action is concerned. The council finally passed an amendment to the private subdivision ordinance that allows private citizens to subdivide their own property and build private roads from any main thoroughfare. The surface must allow 50 feet of right of way, and the owner must sign a document relieving Richland County for any liability resulting from a poorly maintained road.

During the course of the discussion of this matter, this reporter learned how off track a few people can be when arguing for something they really want that doesn’t make any sense. We also learned the Honorable Norman Jackson has been building roads for 33 years and knows more about them than any other living being.

A long discussed agreement with Columbia establishing parameters for saving the CMRTA was finally agreed on, but not before the Honorable Joyce Dickerson spoke passionately and longer than the Gettysburg Address, to ask the council to defer voting on the agreement because the city has snookered the bus service out of $25,000. Cooler heads finally prevailed, and the county version of the multi-million dollar, multi-year deal was approved. If Columbia agrees, bus stability is on its way.

The previously mentioned Caughman contract was finally approved, more than one hour after it was brought up for the discussion. County administrator Pope asked if the council wanted him to begin the feasibility study. The abbreviated answer was yes.

Chair Paul Livingston, Vice Chair Damon Jeter, Joyce Dickerson, Val Hutchinson, Norman Jackson, Gwen Kennedy, Bill Malinowski, Jim Manning, Greg Pearce, Seth Rose, and Kelvin Washington were present.

More detailed information as well as complete agendas and minutes from past meetings can be found at the Richland County website: richlandonline.com

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