Council talks continuity plan

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By Chris Sardelli

One of Lancaster County Council’s newest members asked county staff to take a more serious look at the county’s continuity plan during council’s Jan. 14 meeting.

Councilman Bob Bundy brought up his concerns during a discussion of the Continuity of County Government Plan, which outlines emergency management and local governmental continuity procedures in the event of a disaster.

On council’s agenda was review of several minor revisions made to the plan, as well as approval of Resolution No. 798 to adopt the plan.

Bundy commented after hearing County Administrator Steve Willis present a comedic scenario about when the plan could be used.

“You’re making this light-hearted, but it’s martial law,” Bundy said. “If we (the county) needs resources, this says we can commandeer resources. It’s not a flippant sort of thing.”

He referenced several portions of the plan, including Section 25-1-450-c which allows the state government to assume “control of area or local government emergency operations when requested by the county legislative delegation or their designees or when local government authority has broken down or is nonexistent.”

Both Willis and county Emergency Management Director Morris Russell addressed his concerns and said there are specific plans in place to “commandeer resources.”

“We have agreements with a number of people about this, such as if we need lumber we can go in and pay them the next morning,” Willis said.
Russell also confirmed the process.

“When it says commandeer then there will be memorandums of understanding,” Russell said.

Bundy urged his fellow council members and Willis to keep in mind the serious nature of the plan.

“I understand it. I just don’t want us to be flippant. This is not a flippant sort of thing,” Bundy said.

Council then voted 6-0 to approve the resolution. Councilman Larry Honeycutt was absent as he recovers from back surgery he had earlier this year.

PDD change

Council also approved first reading of an ordinance to change the size of planned development districts in the county.

Elaine Boone, with the county’s planning department, presented a proposal to change the minimum acreage for PDDs in the county’s Unified Development Ordinance from two acres to 50 acres.

Council adjusted the minimum size of PDDs in 2010 from 150 acres to two acres, though Boone told council at the meeting that increasing the acreage would allow for better developments in the county.

She also said Lancaster County Planning Commission voted unanimously Dec. 13 to approve changing the minimum acreage.

After listening to the proposal, Councilman Jack Estridge said he would vote for the change, but warned that county officials may soon hear requests for creating PDDs in smaller acreage sites.

New councilman Brian Carnes wondered what types of developments could be established on a two-acre site.

‘How do you get quality commercial development on two acres? You can hardly get a 10,000-square-feet building on that with parking,” Carnes said.
Council then approved first reading by a vote of 6-0. Honeycutt was also absent from this vote.

To finalize the change, council must approve two more ordinance readings. Council will hear second reading at its Jan. 28 meeting.

Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at (803) 416-8416