Council was right to deny code amendment

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By The Staff

County Council did the right thing July 27 when it refused to amend the county’s building codes after a developer interested in building a gas station near the new Walmart in Indian Land sought a change.

The developer evidently had a problem with the code that says commercial buildings in certain parts of the Panhandle can’t have prefabricated metal on more than 25 percent of the structure.

An amendment council considered would have allowed developers to use more than 25 percent vinyl, tin, metal or masonry block on the exterior of commercial and industrial buildings fronting U.S. 521 from S.C. 75 north to the stateline, and on buildings fronting S.C. 160 from U.S. 521 west to the county line.

Council simply did not have a good reason to budge on this issue.

These measures are in place, frankly, so that buildings in the high-growth Panhandle area – the gateway to the county – have to meet a higher standard than those in other parts of the county.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Many, if not most, of the people who’ve moved to Indian Land in the past decade have different expectations than residents of Lancaster, Heath Springs and Kershaw. Their houses are generally more expensive than those farther south in the county, and they want the nearby commercial areas to reflect that.

A single request from the developer of a gas station isn’t justification to change the whole ordinance. This developer still has the option of seeking an exception in the building code from the appropriate county board. That’s the appropriate first step for this developer to take.

If that request is denied, then the station owner will have to decide whether to modify the gas station plans and build at that location. But we think it may be tough for this developer to get this exception.

The simple fact is, the proposed spot of this business has got exactly what every real estate agent wants most. Location, location, location. If this developer passes, someone else will be happy to open up a business there – and build it to county code. We believe that’s a safe bet considering the prime piece of commercial real estate this is.