Aiken City Council will review the County’s request for utilities once again at its Monday night meeting.
The County submitted an application for City utilities for its complex currently under construction at 1930 University Parkway. Included with the application were two variance requests from City code which delayed approval at the last Council meeting in October. The County has worked with the City since then to come to an agreement with the hope that Council give it the green light for water and sewer services from the municipality.
The first variance regarded annexation, which is required by the municipality’s code if a property is contiguous to city limits and the owner applies for utilities. The County didn’t want to be annexed immediately but has agreed to do so around the beginning of next year.
The second big issue that Council had was a request for a waiver from the landscaping ordinance. Those who use City utilities are also asked to follow the landscaping and sign ordinances.
Trees on the complex site were cleared for construction. Residents who live along Lincoln Avenue, which is located behind the complex property, expressed frustration that they were not notified of the trees being removed and could now see the construction site from their homes.
The County had planned to plant some loblolly pines and some other evergreen trees in the buffer between the homes and the complex. County officials also cited the 50 feet of green space between the complex and those residential properties.
The City’s Planning Department set a condition of a 25-foot deep evergreen buffer to be planted between the complex and the Lincoln Avenue homes. The City’s landscaping ordinance typically requires around a 10-foot thick buffer.
The County wanted clarification of that condition as well as time to review the impact it would have on the complex project’s budget.
On Nov. 6, City Council, concerned residents and County officials met to discuss the issue. The County amended the landscaping plan, reducing the size of one of the parking areas and adding the suggested Lingustrums from the Planning Department, which is said to provide a better screen. The revised plan shows 238 Lingustrums and 41 Magnolia trees planted in that buffer. A gate at the Lincoln Avenue emergency entrance will also be installed. Lastly, they will comply with City lighting standards, meaning none of the lights at the complex will be pointed right at the homes.
County Administrator Clay Killian reiterated what he has been saying throughout this process.
“We’ll be a good neighbor to you,” he said to residents Tuesday. “I can promise you that.”
In other business, Council will vote on the approval of a special election to fill Councilman Don Wells’ unexpired at-large seat because he will soon be sworn in to the S.C. House of Representatives after winning the election on Nov. 6.
The special election date Council is looking at is March 12.
Due to the redistricting process and the implementation of Council’s format from 4-2-1 to 6-1, that seat, which expires next November, will be up for election as a single-member district meaning the candidate filling that spot must reside in that district.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers located in the Municipal Building at 214 Park Ave. S.W.