• Sumter County Council's March 25, 2020, meeting

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    Sumter County Council Tuesday evening held its first livestream meeting amid heightened concerns of fighting the spread of coronavirus in our community.

    The meeting was livestreamed over Sumter County Government’s YouTube channel.

    Sumter City-County Zoning Administrator and Interim Planning Director Helen Roodman spoke to council members about a request from council to rezone six separate parcels totaling 313.6 acres from Residential-15 (R-15) to Agricultural Conservation (AC). The land is located near the intersection of Black River Road and Edens Road.

    Through the 2040 Comprehensive Land Use Plan process, the area was targeted to be included in the Military Protection Planning Area, she said. The R-15 designation is not compatible with the 2040 Comp Plan. Over half of the property is under conservation easements, she said, and not compatible with residential development.

    The Planning Commission recommended approval of the request, she said.

    No one spoke during a public hearing and second reading passed unanimously.

    Clerk to Council Mary Blanding spoke briefly about a Proclamation declaring April as Fair Housing Month in Sumter County, S.C., and it was approved unanimously.

    Sumter County Attorney Johnathan Bryan spoke to council members about an Emergency Ordinance that requires only one reading, is good for 60 days, and allows for electronic County Council meetings and participation from a remote location.

    The ordinance was approved unanimously and will allow for a conference call among council members in lieu of meeting in person.

    Bryan also spoke about an ordinance that will allow electronic meetings in the future for any emergencies that could arise unexpectedly and members of council were unable to participate in meetings for any number of reasons.

    Councilman Artie Baker asked if circumstances were such that three council members showed up for a meeting and since a quorum wasn’t established, if other members were allowed to participate via conference call.

    It would count as a quorum, Bryan said, as long as there was a bona fide emergency.

    The ordinance passed unanimously.

    Bryan spoke about an ordinance to rescind a previous ordinance establishing a Special Tax District known as the “Boyles Pond Special Tax District.”

    First reading passed unanimously.

    The Fiscal, Tax and Property Committee met prior to the regular meeting, said Chairman James T. McCain Jr. Information was given to the committee from Jay Schwedler of Sumter Economic Development, McCain said, and no action was taken.

    Councilwoman Vivian Fleming-McGhaney said there’s a request to Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments’ (COG) Executive Director Chris McKinney to share information that comes from COG meetings.

    Blanding reminded council members the April 14 meeting for County Council is cancelled.

    Sumter County Assistant Administrator Lorraine Dennis reminded council members all county buildings have been closed to the general public to protect employees from the coronavirus. Effective March 30, Sumter County employees will go on a staggered, modified work schedule, she said.

    McCain noted for the record that because of the coronavirus, the Public Comments portion of the meeting has been suspended.

    The meeting, which began at 6:04 p.m., adjourned at 6:26 p.m.