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Town of South Congaree holds meeting Tuesday to discuss a 90-days moratorium on new businesses devel

South Congaree, SC (Paul Kirby) – An item on the Tuesday evening’s agenda for the town of South Congaree’s Town Council meeting has some people worried that their current businesses could be affected. This is absolutely false according to Mayor Danny Jones, one of the members of the council who are backing a 90-day moratorium on any new businesses coming to town. The first reading necessary to make this happen is scheduled for Tuesday night. “What we are doing would have no bearing on established businesses at all, and it also wouldn’t affect residential development at all,” Jones said. “Someone is spreading that around the town and scaring people needlessly and it’s just absolute falsehoods!”

Jones said that after reviewing the ordinances that govern what businesses can and cannot do in South Congaree, town leaders realized just how out of date they were. Some are 30 years-old. It appears as if there are no provisions to keep out adult oriented businesses, and South Congaree has no Architectural Review Board established. Most towns have these to go over architectural designs of new projects to ensure they meet the town’s codes before building begins. In the past months, the town’s leadership has been trying to develop a comprehensive plan, and part of that effort is updating codes and ordinances. To help catch up, the town is working to pass a 90-day moratorium on issuing new business licenses and letting people open new businesses only until the ordinances are updated. Jones stressed that if you already had a South Congaree business license, you could renew that without any new restrictions.

Neighboring Pine Ridge took this process a step further a few months ago. They put the brakes on all permits, including residential building, until their ordinances could be reviewed. They are in the middle of that 90-day period. South Congaree’s efforts only affect new businesses being established.

Businessman Bobby Jeffcoat, an owner of three businesses in the town, said that he had heard that it might affect his current businesses and he didn’t want to see that. He is a strong proponent of organizing a business owner’s association so that businesspeople could voice their opinions on what the town is doing. He said that someone came to his business spreading rumors that what the town was doing Tuesday could hurt his business and he was relieved to hear that wasn’t the topic being discussed. “People get scared when they think someone’s going to do something to hurt their livelihood. My family has been doing business here since the ‘60s so I guess we aren’t a new business for sure,” Jeffcoat said. He has supported the town’s efforts to clean up Main Street and has made multiple changes over the last year to improve the curb appeal of his garage and auto sale lot.

One other topic on tonight’s meeting agenda is voting to hire someone to handle communications for South Congaree. After this type of rumor gets going, Mayor Jones said that he felt that had to be one of their top priorities. “We’ve got to be able to get the word to the public better so that these types of things won’t get going,” Jones said. “One spark of a lie or misunderstanding can spread like a brush fire during a drought. This is a perfect example of that again.”

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