City Council adopted both the 2020-2030 Comprehensive Plan and Updated Land Development Regulations of the City of Newberry Tuesday during their October City Council meeting.

Prior to second readings on both topics, two public hearings were held for those wishing to speak in favor or opposition to the two agenda items. With no comments submitted for the virtual meeting, the public hearings were adjourned.

The City of Newberry Planning Commission is responsible for updating the city’s Comprehensive Plan every 10 years, the last update being in 2010. The city’s Land Development Regulations were last updated in April 1999. Working with the Matheny-Burns Group, both were updated and presented by the city’s Planning and Development department to council for approval.

Mayor Foster Senn said both documents would be available soon on the city’s website, www.cityofnewberry.com for viewing.

Under old business, second and final reading was also held on the acquisition of property by the Newberry Fire Department. The couple that previously owned the property adjacent to fire station on Wilson Road (2718 Deloache Avenue) had passed away and asked their son to offer the property to the fire department first because they were aware of the difficulty the department had in backing their large ladder truck in from Wilson Road, especially during times of heavy traffic.

Acquiring the property will allow for a drive to be put in around the back of the property, allowing the ladder truck to be pulled in without blocking traffic along Wilson Road, creating a much safer atmosphere for firefighters and pedestrians alike. Acquisition of the property will cost the fire department $85,000.

The house and property will be kept up by the city’s fire department and will be used as the department configures living spaces for on-duty personnel. Motion was made by Councilman David Force and seconded by Councilman David DuBose to accept second reading.

Motion was made by Force and seconded by Councilwoman Holmes to accept second reading of an ordinance to authorize the transfer of property located at 1505 Main Street, current home of The Aviator.

The owner is looking to build a deck off the back of the bar to allow for outdoor seating and expand his business’ ability to serve customers. To do this, he needs about 50 foot of city property to transfer from the city to his property on Main Street. The owner agreed to construct a deck at a cost of no less than $20,000, an investment that will be added to his property taxes and value and how the city will be made whole on the transfer, Senn said.

Updates/Announcements

Under updates and announcements Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Scott Sawyer provided an update to council on the Newberry Recreation Complex. Sawyer said staff was excited the facility was now open and he had seen many community members take advantage of the playground facility and nature trail.

Senn confirmed that catch and release fishing was permitted in the pond at the complex.

The press box construction would soon begin, Sawyer told council with the anticipation that it may be 2021 before completed.

City Manager Matt DeWitt provided an update on a safe alternative for the traditional Halloween festivities in the city to include city staff passing candy to children in a drive-thru form on Halloween night from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the city’s recreation complex (1786 Glenn Street Extension). DeWitt said city staff realized there may those in the community that do not feel comfortable taking their household to trick-or-treat in the usual capacity, as well as many homes that may choose not to offer candy at their doors this year, so they wanted to provide a safer alternative for households to enjoy the holiday together.

“We hope it will be well received by the community,” DeWitt said.

Senn updated council on three recent proclamations to include Public Power Week, Fire Prevention Week and National Newspaper Week. He also spoke on National Hispanic Heritage Month that took place September 15 – October 15 and thanked the city for their presence of all on their social media pages.

New Business

Under new business, council unanimously voted to extend their ordinance regarding face coverings. Originally set to expire on October 31, the ordinance has been extended 61 days into December.

The measure requires masks or face coverings in grocery stores, pharmacies and dollar stores and clarifies the term grocery store to mean an indoor or outdoor establishment that primarily sells food but may also sell other convenience and household goods.

Motion was made by Councilwoman Jackie Holmes and seconded by Councilman Edwin Wicker to approve the ordinance.

Senn said DHEC had reported that communities that established ordinances had been more successful seeing a decrease in cases and while we had recently seen an uptick it looked as if that was now declining again.

Following a motion made by Wicker and seconded by Holmes, council tabled the consideration of a resolution to add a color to the Architectural Review Board’s color palette until more information could be received by council.

During last month’s ARB meeting, the owner of 1300 Main Street requested painting the trim of the building a Sherwin Williams color of SW6740 Kilkenny. The color is not on the approved color palette and must be approved by City Council before used.

Council requested more information so as to know how much of the color was going to be used on the building.

Due to the recent passing of Councilman Zebbie Goudelock, two vacancies were left on both the Clinton-Newberry Natural Gas Authority and the Central Midlands Council of Governments Boards. Motion was made by Councilman Lemont Glasgow and seconded by Wicker to appoint the next senior member of council, Councilman Dubose to the board of CNNGA.

Holmes made a motion, second by Councilman David Force to appoint Senn to the board of the Central Midlands Council of Governments.

City Council will meet virtually again on Tuesday, November 10. Information will be shared on how to view the meeting prior to that date.