Oconee Citizen Reporter: Zoning Regs Harm Property Rights

April 5, 2012

Investigative Reports

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362471d85338207735236703a57f19adOconee County zoning regulations are continuing to create dissension within the county, according to at least one resident.

At a meeting of the county Planning Commission on Monday, officials indicated they will continue to move in lockstep with a group seeking to restrict the property rights of individuals living around Lake Keowee, according to Brit Adams, a citizen reporter for The Nerve.

“It’s a group of individuals who live around the lake who have nothing better to do with their time, and their only goal is to protect their investment and not worry about others’ rights,” Adams said. “There are many who have the attitude that they know better than you do. They’re very condescending.”

Adams said the group has expanded out from the subdivisions they live in around Lake Keowee and begun implementing zoning restrictions on large-acreage plots.

“There are still people with large acreages around the lake next to subdivisions, people raising corn and cows,” he said, “and they’re being told they can plant corn, but only 10 rows; they can have cows but no more than 10.

“Property rights are being infringed on and County Council is going along with it,” Adams added.

Another proposal being pushed is a requirement to allow individuals buying undeveloped property around Lake Keowee to clear only 20 percent of the “viewing lane” to the lake. The remainder would have to remain uncleared.

The proposal would only apply to properties sold in the future, meaning existing properties with a greater view of the lake would rise in value, Adams said.

Essentially, zoning proponents are pushing for more and more regulations because they don’t like “to drive by yards with things like an old pickup in the front yard,” Adams said.

“The thing is, they can pass all the laws they want but subdivision covenants supersede zoning regulations,” he said. “So they’ve been working on this for five years, and for what? To tell three people they can’t have a pickup truck in their front yard?”

Adams said the county commission bears a good bit of responsibility for the situation.

“We’ve given the Oconee County Planning Commission a new name,” Adams said. “They’re now the Zoning Commission. They don’t plan; they just comply with zoning requests, while limiting specific areas where business will be allowed to operate and, at the same time, shirking their other responsibilities such as planning for future projects.”

Reach Dietrich at (803) 779-5022 ext. 110, or kevin@thenerve.org.