WINNSBORO — The late Carnell Murphy was honored last Monday by Rep. MaryGail Douglas and by Fairfield County Council.
Murphy served on and was chairman of the County Council for many of those years. The House of Representatives passed a proclamation of thanks and Fairfield County Council passed a similar proclamation. After county council paid respects to its past, the meeting took up the current issues of property rights, zoning ordinances, and recreation facilities.
Citizens and property owners Val Green and Robert Shull spoke during a public hearing on an ordinance to amend ordinance No. 583 to revise the section on the county road paving program.
Both Green and Shull own land contiguous to Chinook Drive, with Shull being the sole property owner in the Buckhead area.
Green was concerned about the classification as Chinook Drive and conceded that the county had a prescriptive easement to that road but (in Green’s view), “you do no have any kind of legal right tot hat road and I don’t think maintenance gives you that legal right. You would need to get that through a statute of some kind or a legal clause or buy it from us.”
Shull asked council to take another look at the amendment and ordinance and the way the county determines what constitutes a county road. He objected to the county spending money to pave a dead end road with no turnaround and no residences on it.
He said the paid county officials had not done the investigation even on the road under the old ordinances. He said that the council did oversee the CTC and therefore could offer him relief he had yet to receive.
“I request that the council oversee the CTC and that the county money not be used for purposes of no public benefit … and there are no residents down there,” Shull said.
Shull said Chinook Drive is a .8-mile dead end road with no residences on it, according to the U.S. Post Office.
In light of those comments, Council Vice Chairman Dwyane Perry requested a re-examination of the Chinook Drive situation from a legal standpoint to make certain if it is a county road that the CTC can, in fact, pave.
According to County Attorney Jack James, the county claims prescriptive easement on any road the county has used or maintained at least 20 years, so for that reason the CTC considers Chinook Drive to be a county road.
Even so, Council Chairman David Ferguson requested County Administrator Phil Hinely look into the Chinook Drive issue to make sure that all due diligence was being done and that the county was adhering to state law regarding property rights and paving issues. The findings will be made known prior to the third and final reading of the ordinance at the next council meeting
In other business, Ferguson told council that the policy of putting a dumpster at the site of a derelict mobile home, for instance, and giving the owner 30 days to remove the property was the most feasible option for the county, with the goal of making Fairfield property more attractive to real estate and commercial developers.
In other business, council:
— Unanimously (6-0) passed first reading of Ordinance No. 617 to amend regulations regarding mobile homes and building codes. Councilman David Brown was absent from the meeting.
— Unanimously voted to support Ordinance No. 616 following a public hearing on amendments to ordinance No. 583 concerning paving roads, highways and bridges.
— Voted 5-1 to allow Bill Haslett to set up a display of dioramas depicting the history of the county. Haslett requested to place them in his store so they could be a tourist attraction, rather than them remaining in storage as they are now.
Councilman Kamau Marcharia voted against it, saying that in his opinion some of the dioramas were racially insensitive to the African American community and could be potentially divisive.
Haslett will be responsible for refurbishing the dioramas and will pay for their upkeep under the arrangement. Deputy County Administrator Davis Anderson said the county will take out a $50,000 insurance policy to cover the dioramas.
— Heard from Dan Vismor with urban planners Vismor, Ricketson and Associates. Vismor said the county code enforcement department would now give council monthly updates of the office’s activities.
— Heard a request from Vandell Davis with regard to recreation in the Dawkins Community, noting that a building bought by the county and shipped here from Alabama remains in pieces in storage years later. He begged for a genuine area for safety for the children and community. “I’m asking for council to sit with us as professionals to carry this out,” he said.
He noted that he visited McCrorey-Liston Elementary and other district schools and cited the job done there as evidence the community would be good stewards of a facility. He noted that since school is out the Jenkinsville/Dawkins area now has an AAU basketball team, the Fairfield County Thunder, but that the team has no place to play since McCrorey Liston is closed for the summer.
— Heard from Marcharia about the low turnout at a community organizing meeting in the Greenbrier area, with just 25-30 people attending. He said he hoped the event would bring better representation for the area’s roughly 3,000 voters.
“If people want something, the need to get off their duff, do the due diligence, study the situation and then present it to council,” he said.