Hartsville City Council’s Worksession proves productive

Hartsville City Manager Daniel Moore describes the details of a Short-Term Rental ordinance to Hartsville City Council during their worksession on Tuesday, August 1, 2023. PHOTO BY STEPHAN DREW

By Stephan Drew, Editor


On Tuesday, August 1, 2023, the Hartsville City Council convened a worksession to address several crucial matters concerning the city’s development and progress. Among the topics discussed were the repurposing of Lawton Park tennis courts into Pickleball courts, the dissolution of the Hartsville Public Development Corporation (HPDC), a proposed short-term rental ordinance, amendments to the Nuisance and Property Maintenance sections of the City code, clarifying the city’s power to enforce Pretreatment Regulations, and joining a consortium to create a tech hub in the area. This article provides an in-depth analysis of the key points raised during the session.

One of the primary topics of discussion was the repurposing of the Lawton Park tennis courts into Pickleball courts. Council members highlighted the growing popularity of Pickleball in the community and recognized the need to accommodate the sport’s enthusiasts. The decision to repurpose the underutilized tennis courts came as a result of careful consideration of public demand and efficient resource allocation. Since playing Pickleball is somewhat louder than tennis, some resurfacing and repairs must be done to the court to cut down on noise, as this is a residential area. This move is expected to improve community engagement and provide residents with additional recreational opportunities.

Another significant item on the agenda was the dissolution of the Hartsville Public Development Corporation (HPDC). Council members deliberated on the HPDC’s role and its impact on the city’s development projects over the years. After thorough discussions, the council decided to dissolve the HPDC and explore alternative strategies for future public development initiatives. The move aims to streamline decision-making processes and foster more direct communication between the council and community members.

The City Council also considered adopting a proposed short-term rental ordinance, similar to the one implemented in Bluffton, SC. Council members weighed the benefits of regulating short-term rentals to maintain neighborhood integrity, address potential safety concerns, and preserve the residential character of the community. The proposed ordinance would designate “Short-Term Rentals” as 30-days or less and provide guidelines for property owners to operate these rentals responsibly and ensure a positive experience for both visitors and permanent residents. Councilman Kenzie “Pete” DeLaine related a story of a lady he knew in New Orleans, LA, who ran an “illegal” Bed and Breakfast. DeLaine stressed the need for Hartsville to word the ordinance as to not allow for that kind of event.

In an effort to improve the overall appearance and appeal of the city, the City Council discussed proposed amendments to the Nuisance and Property Maintenance sections of the City code. The amendments would introduce more severe penalties for properties that are excessively trash-ridden and degraded. It would also allow for monitoring and penalties if the area was used as a gathering place for drug dealing and other criminal activity. Councilmember Teresa Mack spoke of the current code and how one violator was forced to move from a particular address and simply moved in next door. “We’re going to have to go hard,” Mack said, “The rule needs to have teeth in it.”

The focus is on enhancing the city’s aesthetics, fostering a sense of community pride, and promoting property values. By addressing neglected properties, the city aims to create a more attractive and vibrant living environment for its residents.

Council members reviewed an addendum to the current agreement with Alligator Rural Water and Sewer Company, aimed at clarifying the city’s power to enforce Pretreatment Regulations for industrial users. The clarification seeks to strengthen the city’s ability to protect its water resources and maintain high environmental standards. By establishing clear guidelines for industrial users, Hartsville aims to preserve the quality of its water supply and protect public health.

In other business, Council discussed an agreement to support a proposed consortium with other Florence-Darlington and Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson agencies to create a tech hub in the region. This collaboration would attract industrial and tech companies, fostering increased investment in the area without incurring any costs for the City of Hartsville. The tech hub initiative is expected to spur economic growth, create job opportunities, and bolster the city’s reputation as an attractive destination for innovative businesses.

Author: Stephan Drew

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