Orangeburg County Council Chairman Johnnie Wright said “growth is inevitable,” as plans for another Holly Hill-area development advanced on Monday.
“We can’t stop it. It is coming. We need to just prepare for it the best way we can. The Planning Commission people are doing their jobs to try to do that,” Wright said.
Council gave second reading approval to Red Pill Partners’ request to rezone property located near Monarch Road and Boyer Road from forest/agriculture to residential development.
Red Pill Partners wants to develop 162 acres on Old State Road with about 130 homes.
The county received three comments opposed to the rezoning and one in favor.
It is the third residential development announced in the Holly Hill area since July 2021.
There are plans to build between 50 and 100 detached, single-family homes on Bunch Ford Road behind the Regional Medical Center’s primary care practice and across the street from Holly Hill Academy.
The other proposed development would cover 65 acres near Bunch Ford Road and Academy Lane.
Some local residents have expressed concerns about the developments and their impact on the rural nature of the area. Some have also questioned if the area has adequate water and sewer capacity or amenities to handle such growth.
In other matters:
• Council gave unanimous second reading to an exchange of property with the county school district for possible future needs.
The exchange will entail the county giving the school district property on Red Bank Road near U.S. 601 and the school district giving the county property near Interstate 95 on U.S. 15 – the site of the former Dantzler Middle School.
“We actually had one prospect look at that property at one time,” County Administrator Harold Young said. “It has to be worked. It has an old school on it that has to be demolished. I think it gives us an opportunity to have a footprint on I-95 for some economic development property.”
• Council unanimously agreed to give county administration the authority to apply for U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grants to expand broadband infrastructure in the county. No matching funds are required.
• Council was informed the county’s Public Works committee unanimously voted to discontinue maintenance on Lambert Street and a portion of Hannah Drive in the Santee area.
The streets do not have any homes, mail or school bus routes.
The streets also have low traffic flow, with Lambert having about 28 vehicles over a week-long period. Hannah had about 78 vehicles over this same time period.
The roads currently go through the S.C. Gateway (formerly Jafza Magna Park) and land owned by Super Land Holdings LLC.
• Council unanimously agreed to give the Grand American Hunt and Show event $12,000 for rent, utilities, advertising and insurance to keep the event in Orangeburg.
Council also gave the Elloree Heritage Museum $15,000 for advertising, printing and mailing their newsletter, hosting different programs, insurance, and necessary repairs to keep the museum open.
The requests were granted upon the recommendation of the county’s Tax and Tourism Committee. Funding comes from the county’s share of the state accommodations tax.
The Branchville Railroad Depot asked for money for renovations, tables, chairs and equipment, as well as for improvements to the grounds. The Tax and Tourism Committee requested more information on the plans.
• Council gave unanimous third and final reading to an ordinance adding provisions to its public services code to ensure commercial driveways meet state standards. The standards are designed to ensure the integrity of pipes and culverts.
• Council unanimously gave second reading to a fee-in-lieu-of-taxes incentive for a company called Project Stallion. Typically, projects are not publicly identified until deals are finalized.
The company is planning to invest $17.6 million and create 30 new jobs in Orangeburg County. The investment includes $6.5 million in buildings and $11.1 million in machinery and equipment.
The company is planning to locate in the former Mayer Industries building at 3777 Industrial Boulevard. Industrial Boulevard is near Interstate 26’s Exit 145.
The project would also be placed in a multicounty industrial park with Dorchester County. A joint multicounty industrial park is not a physical park but a mechanism for providing incentives to a company.
• Council gave unanimous first reading to an ordinance placing Tri-County Electric Cooperative’s $10 million to $12 million broadband expansion project within a joint county industrial park with Calhoun County.
• Council went into closed session to discuss matters related to a proposed contractual agreement regarding the Orangeburg County Courthouse.
Council received economic development updates from a number of projects including Project Stallion, Project EA, Project Aurora and Project Pizza.
• Council read a resolution honoring National Women’s History Month, which is observed in March.