You read in the local newspapers about the micro-management of the Augusta-Richmond County commissioners and what a mess they have made of local government. The same thing is happening in Columbia County, but you are not reading about it.
When Glen Coyne was director of Columbia County Planning and Development, he got about 30 people to walk from Publix to Kroger to start the planning for the Evans town center. Kendall Jones became director when Coyne left, and she kept the plans going.
Six years after this first meeting the ordinance was passed, and everyone will have to admit that the town center looks very good.
Part of the ordinance was that there would not be any outdoor displays or big containers unless they were fenced. Dollar General built their store before this ordinance could be passed, and their store is an eyesore with merchandise put out on the sidewalk and their containers out in the open with trash spilling out of them, and the building is not brick.
When Wal-Mart started building their store in the Evans town center, the ordinance was in effect and they agreed to all of its parts. They have complied with all of the rules. Christmas season of 2003 they were not allowed to place any storage containers in the back and side of their store, as the people of Chimney Hill had been promised.
Then Christmas season of 2004 the containers and trailers were parked everywhere they could put them, which is a violation of the ordinance. Sonic was building across the street from Wal-Mart, and the building inspectors and code enforcement people questioned them about the type of doors they put on their container building.
If you are going by the ordinance, everyone should abide by it. The county commissioners should either change the ordinance that took six years to pass, or keep their noses out of the department heads' business. If you do not believe what I have written, ask County Commissioner Tom Mercer if he told the management of Wal-Mart that they could have the exposed containers and trailers at this store.
Rules should apply to everyone, not just a few. All or nothing. If the Marshall Square is to be built; the property at Evans Middle School; and the Mullins shopping center, are they going to have to comply with this ordinance, or are we going to change the rules in midstream? Goodbye, Evans town center if the county commissioners have their way.
Edgar R. Pund
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.