Sumter City-County Planning Director Helen Roodman spoke first about a request from Sumter County to rezone a 78.6-acre parcel on Race Track Road from Agricultural Conservation (AC) to Heavy Industrial (HI).
During the Public Hearing, six people spoke against it. Sumter Economic Development CEO Jay Schwedler noted that area was identified in the 2040 Comp Plan for further development and that options are being explored concurrent with the due diligence phase. Three people then spoke against it.
Councilman Carlton Washington made a motion to defer the matter, and that motion carried.
Roodman then spoke about a request to amend Sumter County’s Zoning and Development Standards to add Solar Electric Power Generation as a Special Exception in the Light Industrial-Warehouse (LI-W), Heavy Industrial (HI), Agricultural Conservation (AC), and Conservation Preservation (CP) Zoning Districts; Add Accessory – Solar Power Generation as a Conditional Use in LI-W, HI, AC, and CP Zoning Districts; amend an article to add primary photovoltaic solar energy systems to the listing of certain hazardous and/or potentially disruptive land development activities; amend an article to add specific Special Exception Use Review Criteria for primary photovoltaic solar energy systems; and amend an article to revise the definition of a primary photovoltaic solar energy system.
During the Public Hearing, four people spoke against it. A Shaw Air Force Base representative said the base is in support of the ordinance as well as community dialogue.
Schwedler noted solar installations are taxed at 10.5 percent; the Sumter Development has been approached by solar industry representatives, he said, and not the other way around.
Another person spoke against it and Councilman Charles Edens noted the State Legislature is currently debating updated legislation related to the solar industry.
Second reading was approved with the stipulation that members of the Planning Department would meet with members of the public who spoke against it so they can better understand the language and guidance of the ordinance. Any additional language would be provided to Council at third reading,
Sumter County Communications Coordinator Joe Perry spoke briefly about the Progress 2023 report and a video created to help introduce Sumter to Airmen assigned to Shaw Air Force Base.
Sumter County Attorney Jonathan Bryan spoke briefly about an ordinance authorizing a Fee-In-Lieu-of-Taxes (FILOT) agreement with an economic development project known as ‘Project Black Nickel’ that represents a potential $506 million investment.
Second reading was approved.
Council Chairman Jim McCain noted the Fiscal, Tax and Property Committee met earlier and heard a presentation from Schwedler. No action was taken.
Councilman Edens noted a Land Use Committee met earlier to discuss used motor vehicle parts businesses being allowed as a Special Exception in the Light-Industrial Warehouse (LI-W) District. The Landscape Ordinance was also discussed.
During the Public Comments, a Sumter resident advocated against a request for a zoning change for a Myrtle Beach Highway business.
Another Sumter resident advocated for more neighborhood retail options for residents south of Dillon Park. The resident also advocated for supporting the Santee Wateree Regional Transportation Authority.
The meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.