Pickens County Public Relations Director Norman Pope announced last week that the county is seeking volunteers for the Pickens County Comprehensive Plan.
During the October commissioner’s meeting, Pope said the data have been gathered and that the committee is needed to guide the county through the process. In February, citizens railed against a proposed character plan, which would have been part of the county comprehensive plan.
On February 6th, citizens came out in droves to oppose the character plan during a planning commission meeting. Representing the Yellow Creek community, Local Attorney and Former Pickens County Commission Chairman Candidate Wesley Weaver read a petition with 381 signatures stating multiple grievances against the plan. The petition also requested to rescind the character plan, which was still in its infancy with nothing formally proposed.
“We do not voluntarily agree to have our behavior controlled by or refined by restrictive covenants,”
“We did not agree that we could only paint our houses a certain color; we did not agree that we could not put signs in our yards; we did not agree that we could not have old cars in our yards; we did not agree that we are prohibited from cutting trees in our own yards.”
Resident William Blackwell said the plan is way to tell citizens how to live and that he wouldn’t abide by those dictates, while another citizen called the character plan Communism.
“That’s what it is,”
“communal ownership of our properties and theirs.”
Former Planning Commission Member Phil Anderson was quoted in a local publication in January suggesting the character plan, which initially ignited the backlash. At the February meeting, though, Anderson said he was misquoted and only suggested beginning a discussion of the process. Regardless, Mr. Weaver called for Anderson’s resignation from the board. In March, Anderson resigned and was replaced by Maurice “Toddy” Hendrix, whose term expires December 31st of this year.
Pope explained the comprehensive plan was simply a plan required to show building development, adding that the plan is required to receive state and federal funding. In February, the planning and zoning board deferred any formal consideration of the Character Use Plan until after the 2013 Comprehensive Plan has been adopted and considered and the input of the citizens heard. The advisory board is an effort to receive citizen input for the comprehensive plan, which is due by June 30, 2013 and is revised every five years.