Chapin, SC (Paul Kirby) – The owners of a Pelican’s Sno-Balls franchise that tried to move into the Chapin town limits have asked for a jury trial after being ticketed for violations of the town’s zoning ordinances. Some time ago, the owners of that business moved what appears from the outside to be an old, portable, school-style classroom onto a lot they bought next to a beautiful brick, single-family home on Old Lexington Highway. That’s where they planned to set up their business. These gourmet shaved ice businesses have been the newest rage in sweet treats over the last few years and the franchises have popped up across the county. The problem with the Chapin business was the lack of planning and adherence to procedure on the part of the business' owners.
According to town officials, the ladies who own the franchise bought the property, had an old building that was on it torn down, and simply moved the building onto the cleared lot without seeking much guidance and approval of the town like other businesses have to. Instead, they just placed the structure on the land without a complete set of drawings as to how it would be modified, submitted no samples of what colors would be used on its outside, and all of the other things one must go through in order to ensure that a business' building and presence is compatible with its surroundings. Apparently, when the town’s zoning staff informed them they were in violation of several ordinances and guidelines, they said they couldn’t afford to have any real plans drawn up. These plans would have shown what the finished business would be like when it was complete and in operation.
After the town gave the business' owners a period of time to remedy the situation, the town started ticketing the owners for being in violation. Apparently, instead of using available resources to work toward compliance or moving the building out of the town, they owners hired an attorney and requested a jury trial!
Right now, the old structure still sits on the piece of property that it was moved to some months ago. It is sitting on concrete blocks, but no work can proceed until the town has a full set of plans to review. The court case date hasn’t been agreed upon yet, but that will only cover the tickets that have been issued. If the business owner wants to proceed any further, they will have to come into compliance with all applicable zoning laws or move the building somewhere else that has fewer property regulation or protection for its neighbors. The owner’s choice remains to be seen.