Columbia County commissioners approved new rules for road races and rejected an apartment rezoning Tuesday.
Unanimously approving first reading of the ordinance on “road races, parades or public assemblies” that require public streets to be blocked, commissioners said they hope the “streamlined” policy would make it easier to work with such events as fundraiser 5K races.
“I think this will allow us to do an even better job of helping with these events,” said District 4 Commissioner Bill Morris.
The ordinance, if approved on May 21, would require organizers to apply with the county’s Community and Leisure Services Division at least 45 days before an event, and to pay any costs associated with blocking streets.
The ordinance also requires organizers to carry liability insurance.
Concerns about the number of requirements in the ordinance had prompted some commissioners to worry that the process could become too cumbersome, but County Administrator Scott Johnson said the ordinance puts in place a less-formal policy the county already follows.
Commissioners also unanimously rejected a rezoning that would have allowed construction of 50 additional apartments on a site zoned last year for 50 apartments and additional townhomes that haven’t yet been built.
The county’s Planning Commission recently recommended disapproval of the rezoning because of concerns about traffic and complaints from nearby neighborhoods. That body last year also recommended rejection, but was overruled by commissioners.
County ordinances limit apartment rezonings to just 50 per year. If the rezoning had passed, no more apartment rezonings would have been allowed in 2013.
Commissioners also declined to provide a letter of endorsement for Takshila Education, a private effort to provide tutoring in schools locally and to build a school in an impoverished area of India.
Officials said they felt the matter would be better taken up by the Board of Education, and expressed discomfort at endorsing one of many local programs.