Changes to Columbia County's zoning ordinance will be up to county commissioners next month after members of the county's planning commission deadlocked last week.
At issue were requirements that kept certain industries a specified distance from churches, homes, public buildings and schools. Under the proposed guidelines, the businesses would have to be at least 500 feet from private residential dwellings, public buildings and churches and 1,000 feet from a school, Planning and Development Director Jeff Browning said.
But those changes only made it to a vote with a stipulation added by planning commission member Steve Brown. He recommended that adult entertainment establishments should be limited to the county's heaviest commercial zoning districts - called C-3 in county rules.
"I don't like allowing adult entertainment in areas anywhere inside the C-2 zone, conditional or not," Brown said. "I think it opens up something that could be a mistake in the future."
That could leave the county open to legal trouble, Browning said. By limiting adult entertainment establishments to only C-3 areas, there are no locations available for such businesses.
"That could really jeopardize the ordinance pretty significantly," he said.
Planners deadlocked 2-2 on the ordinance changes with Brown's addition, sending the issue to the county commission in mid-October.
One issue planners unanimously agreed on was their opposition to a proposed change in the Evans Town Center rules. The proposal would have allowed car lots in the town center district, which is a 1-mile radius around the intersection of Washington and Belair roads.
Brown said the ordinance was in response to a recent land sale. The property, he said, was bought with the intentions of opening a car lot, even though the lots aren't allowed in the town center.
"I don't think it is up to the county to change their codes because an illegal sale took place, a sale that was not properly researched," he said.
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