Rezoning of Edwards Ave. property meets tight vote

Wilds Edwards House, 120 Edwards Avenue in Darlington, SC was placed on the National Register in 1988. Photo courtesy of the Darlington County Historical Society.

Wilds Edwards House, 120 Edwards Avenue in Darlington, SC was placed on the National Register in 1988.
Photo courtesy of the Darlington County Historical Society.

By Jana E. Pye, Editor,

Darlington City Council voted by a narrow margin to allow the property at 117 Edwards Avenue to be zoned GC, General Commercial District, as requested by the property owner.

The property, which adjoins the rear of Kistler Hardee Funeral Home, was initially turned down by the planning commission for the designation because it lies in the Historic District across from the Wilds Edwards House on 120 Edwards Avenue, which was placed on the National Register in 1988:

Col. Samuel H. Wilds House:The Wilds-Edwards House is significant as one of the few relatively intact antebellum residences remaining in the city of Darlington and as a locally important example of Italianate style. The house is primarily defined by its massive square form, square paneled chimneys, one-story Corinthian columned porches, and profusion of Italianate details. The sophistication of its massing and command of classical details alludes to the formal training of its architect, J.L. Klickner. Built ca. 1856 by Col. Samuel H. Wilds.

The commission agreed to allow the property at 117 Edwards to be zoned Office-Residential.

“That was against my recommendation,” said City Planner Lisa Rock. “I told them that spot-zoning was illegal.”

After much discussion, the vote passed with a 3 – 2 – 1 vote; council members Dyan Cohen and Gloria Hines voted against it; council members Jimmy Cooper, John Segars and Mayor Tony Watkins for the change to General Commercial; council member Wayne Chapman abstained from voting for reasons of conflict of interest (related by marriage to the property owner); and Mayor Pro-Tem was absent to the meeting.

Second reading for Ordinance 2014-09 “Rezoning of Bed and Breakfast Inns” passes unanimously, which would allow the aforementioned Wilds-Edwards House to be used as a Bed and Breakfast, should it be purchased for that purpose.
Another unanimous vote will allow the property at 995 South Gov. Williams Highway to be zoned for a Taco Bell.
Council had First Reading of Ordinance 2015-01 to sell property donated by Wells Fargo to be sold; the location is on 2737 Feather Road, and will be sold for profit.

During the citizen input portion of the meeting, local resident John Wallace presented to council the findings of a count of street lights out in the city limits.

After discussion, council member Wayne Chapman made a motion to look into the feasibility of changing all the city lighting to the LED lighting that is now seen at Spring Street.

Mayor Tony Watkins encouraged council members to look at the lights.

Kyle James and Regina Smeltzer were both appointed to the Williamson Park Committee. City manager Howard Garland states that there ware sill many seats available on city committees, and encourages citizens to apply.

Watkins brought up the issue of the Carnegie Library to the attention of the council, and asked that they consider moving forward on that project. “We’ve spent so much money already on it,” said Watkins. “I think it is something we could be very proud of.”

Council voted to get a second opinion on cost of finalizing the last part of the renovation.

City offices will be closed on Monday, January 19 for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The next monthly city council meeting will be held Tuesday, February 3 at 7:00 p.m.

Author: Jana Pye

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