City Receives Development Updates; Other City Council News

 In Local News

Assistant City Manager Jeff Wicker provided City Council with an update last Tuesday (3/14) on residential developments around the city.

The subdivision being built on Hillbrook Lane behind the former sheriff’s office was still moving forward, he said, with a conceptual plan and site plan for approximately 90 single-family homes approved by the Newberry Planning Commission. Wicker said work was hoped to start by June.

The land surrounding the Newberry Recreation Complex, to be known as Parkview Estates was moving forward, Wicker said as City Manager Matt DeWitt executed a contract with the developer last week.

“We were happy to get the contract signed for that project and to be moving forward,” he said.

A conceptual site plan for 40 homes on Pender Ridge Road was reviewed by the Planning Commission last month, Wicker said, and if approved by council, the hope would be for site work to begin by October.

A project on Dixie Drive that came before council last July, Wicker said was back on the market. The sale with the original developer fell through, he said, and the owners have relisted the parcels.

“There’s 80 acres in the City of Newberry ready to be built by someone,” Wicker said of the parcels.

New Business
Under new business, council approved a petition to annex a parcel of property located at 206 Pender Ridge Road in Newberry. Wayne Redfern, planning and development services director said the 13-acre lot was located behind Stokes Trainor and that the proposed site plan review would break the parcel down to about 40 sites.

Redfern said there was potential for the property to have city water, sewer and electricity and from a planning and zoning standpoint he felt this was a good location for the development due to it being on the northern edge of town where there wasn’t a large population density.

Motion to approve the petition was made by Councilperson Jackie Holmes and seconded by Councilperson Edwin Wicker.

Prior to accepting the petition, council heard from several individuals for public comment.

Frieda Kesler, current owner of the property said the land was formerly her parents and that she felt they would be proud to know their land went to build much needed housing for the area.

Allen Hutto, with Great Southern Homes spoke on behalf of the potential development saying the homes would probably not be the average starter home, with prices starting at $245,000 and approximately 1850 square feet. Hutto said he felt it was a great project and location.

Neighboring property owner Edward Knowles shared concerns of the traffic the new neighborhood could bring to the area.

First reading was then approved to annex the property into the city limits with a motion by Councilperson Carlton Kinard and seconded by Councilperson Lemont Glasgow. A public hearing, followed by second reading will be held at council’s April meeting.

With a recommended zoning classification of R6 – Residential by the Newberry Planning Commission, council then approved first reading to change the property’s zoning classification. Motion was made by Holmes and seconded by Councilperson David Force.

Zoning Updates
At a previous work session, Mayor Foster Senn said council had discussed tightening up several of the city’s zoning ordinances, to which Redfern had been looking into.

First reading was passed Tuesday of an ordinance concerning the construction of a dwelling using structures commonly known as containers. The ordinance restricts container homes from being placed in the city limits.

The ordinance defines a container structure as one that consists of one or more prefabricated components which were not designed or constructed to be transported to a lot or parcel of land and used as a dwelling when the components were constructed. Motion was made by Councilperson David Dubose and seconded by Holmes. A public hearing and second reading will take place during April’s council meeting.

First reading was passed to amend Chapter 3 of the city’s Code of Ordinances to provide for the appointment of an animal control officer.
This amendment gives the city manager the authority to appoint an employee to act as an animal control officer as it pertains to the city’s animal ordinances. This employee would coordinate with Newberry County Animal Control for the capture of offensive animals. Motion was made by Kinard and seconded by Wicker.

Glasgow asked if a conversation could be had with Newberry County prior to second reading next month to be sure that everyone had the same understanding when it came to the role of the city’s ordinance.

Lastly, council approved first reading of an ordinance to better address the location of tobacco, vape CBD stores and gunsmith businesses.

Redfern said at the time the ordinances were written, they were not specifically identified. To address this, they have been properly defined and will be restricted to the appropriate zoning areas of core commercial and general commercial for the vape and CBD stores and general commercial for gunsmiths.

These businesses are also more clearly defined in the amendment as an establishment that devotes at least 25% of its floor area to the retail sale and display of tobacco, cigars, cigarettes, tobacco products, cannabidiol (CBD) products, electronic cigarettes (vape) products and/or associated products.

Motion was made by Glasgow and seconded by Holmes.

Good News in Newberry
Senn provided council and the community with good news and updates from the Newberry community to include new stoplights that have been added on Exit 76 off of I-26. Senn said SCDOT said a new electrical line needed to be run and that the light was hoped to be operational within the next few weeks.

Two police department staff – Jeremy Jackson and Lanae Dinsmore recently graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, as well as K-9 Officer Kira as the newest graduate from the National Narcotic Detector Dog Association.

Senn highlighted the start of the Electricities of North Carolina – South Carolina Safety and Training School, located in Newberry behind Gallman Place and the benefit this school could be to the community.

Also highlighted were the celebrating of International Women’s Day and Water Professionals Day during the month of March by the city.

The City of Newberry also recently received their Tree City USA designation for the fourth consecutive year, Senn said.

Other updates

* The City of Newberry will soon begin their redistricting process as it is mandated every 10 years following the Census. Redistricting ensures equal representation of all citizens within the municipality, City Manager Matt DeWitt said. As part of April’s meeting, council will receive further information from the South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office on how the districts will be redrawn.

* Holmes made a motion, seconded by Glasgow to approve a request to allow alcohol in designated event areas for the Newberry Shop and Dine event (formerly First Friday) on March 31 from 4-8 p.m. This would allow for event patrons to travel the event area with an alcoholic beverage of beer or wine only, by foot if they are carrying the allowed beverage. The event area includes Main Street from Nance to Holman Streets, McKibben Street from Main to Boyce Streets, Caldwell Street from Friend to Boyce Streets, and Boyce Street form College to Nance Streets.

* Council approved a resolution designating April as Fair Housing Month.

* Following the return into open session, Wicker made a motion, seconded by Kinard to appoint Alan Davis to fill Jim Parks’ expired term to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Parks’ term expired in January of this year.