Tea Party Patriots ask for protection of property rights

Children play and adults relax on the benches surrounding the fountain as the Loose Stones, a Christian Band, played on stage during the Nov. 15 Third Thursday event.

Children play and adults relax on the benches surrounding the fountain as the Loose Stones, a Christian Band, played on stage during the Nov. 15 Third Thursday event.

First Byline: 
David Purtell - Staff Writer

Barnwell City Council had a lengthy night at its regular meeting Nov. 5.
Council heard a speech from Dale Brady, with the Barnwell County Tea Party Patriots, asking council and planning commission members to protect the private-property rights of citizens when making decisions about land use. About a dozen members of the Tea Party Patriots were in the audience.
Brady stated in his speech the property rights of private citizens in America are under attack by special interest groups. He referenced the pending "Bike and Walk Friendly Action Plan" presented at council's regular meeting in October. Brady said the Tea Party Patriots do not object to the "stated goals of the plan," but to the way it was implemented - by outside groups of unelected officials. The Lower Savannah Council of Governments and California-based Alta Planning and Design put the plan together after a study of the six-county region was completed.
The LSCOG provides assistance to local governments in Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun and Orangeburg counties, according to its website www.lscog.org. Alta Planning and Design says its mission is to create active communities where bicycling and walking are safe, healthy and fun, according to its website, www.altaplanning.com.
"We object to the un-American process that gave birth to do this document," Brady said. He asked council members to sign a resolution stating they will place citizen's property rights in the highest priority when making decisions about land use. The resolution states officials will make sure citizens are fully informed whenever an issue affecting private property is being considered.
In other news:
Council unanimously passed the first reading of an ordinance to amend the city's business license ordinance for insurance companies and insurance brokers. Pickens Williams Sr. was not at the meeting.
The city must change its ordinance to conform to a state law.
The state legislature ratified an act in June that establishes a 6 percent tax on brokers' premiums - four percent goes to the state and 2 percent goes to municipalities. The Municipal Association of South Carolina will distribute the funds to municipalities. The act states municipalities cannot impose on brokers of non-admitted insurance an additional license fee or tax based upon a percentage of premiums.
City Administrator John Zawacki said plans to demolish parts of the old Reid's plaza are in place. A new shopping plaza is going up at the location. A Tennessee-based developer, The Hutton Company, has purchased the property and plans to build a Family Dollar, O'Reily Auto Parts and other stores, Zawacki previously said.
The company will begin work in December. The old bank building and a metal annex in the back of the plaza will be torn down.
Zawacki said local leaders, including state Rep. Lonnie Hosey, had a meeting with representative of the future S.C. Tissue plant, which has long been delayed. Zawacki said the representatives told them, "the project is starting slow and is going to go forward."
The company has to begin construction by Dec. 15 in order to meet a deadline set by the state. South Carolina gave the company a $770,000 rural infrastructure grant, which will be null and void if work does not begin by the deadline. Plans for the plant were announced two years ago.
In August, Barnwell County Council agreed to make a $475,000 investment to help the project. The money is for wastewater infrastructure improvements. But the county will not turn the money over to the company until reasonable progress is made on the project.
Lynn Cox, with the city, said the annual Christmas tree lighting will be Thursday, Nov. 29, at 5:30 p.m. The Christmas parade will be Saturday, Dec. 1, at 4 p.m.
Parks and Recreation Director Mike Shumaker said youth basketball sign-up runs until Nov. 30.