The rezoning proposition for approximately 3,200 acres in the Montmorenci area is still under review by Aiken County staff as it works to find compromise.
The final reading of this item was tabled earlier this month and was tabled once again during Tuesday night's County Council meeting. Aiken County Planning Director Stephen Strohminger said that Council is looking to make a few more changes in efforts to work with residents who would be impacted by the rezoning.
The current amendment is to rezone a large group of tax parcels from rural development (RUD) to residential-horse business district (RH5-B), which is much more restrictive than the current zoning. The proposal was made after residents asked for preservation of the character of their land after a cell phone tower was approved nearby.
No new changes have been made as of yet, but Strohminger said that Council is considering amending portions of the proposal from residential-horse business district to agricultural preservation (AP).
“Most of them seem pretty happy with the AP district,” Strohminger said in regards to conversations he's had with residents about the matter. “It's still pretty restrictive but not as restrictive as RH5-B.”
The current zoning is wide open when it comes to what uses are permitted. The only use prohibitions in the rural development zone include junkyards, automotive wrecking yards, adult businesses and nuclear waste disposal, Strohminger said.
“There's no true commercial pressure in that area right now, but there could be (at) some time, and there's really nothing to prohibit it,” Strohminger said.
Agricultural preservation would be more restrictive than the current zoning and more flexible than what's being proposed. Agricultural preservation allows for limited manufacturing that employees 12 or fewer people. Uses such as retail, warehousing and service would not be permitted under that zoning, Strohminger said.
Under the proposed residential-horse business district rezoning, there's a 5-acre lot minimum, but under agricultural preservation, it's only a 2-acre lot minimum which offers residents a little more freedom in how they divide up their property.
Council will have to make the amendments from residential-horse business district to agricultural preservation zoning at a future meeting. If significant changes are made to the proposal, it will go back to the Planning Commission.
Amy Banton is the City beat reporter for the Aiken Standard. Originally from Rustburg, Va., she graduated from Randolph Macon Woman's College.