The town of Dearing took the first step to move toward zoning when the town council voted Monday to approve a resolution authorizing the mayor to contract with the CSRA Regional Commission to prepare a land development ordinance.
"The resolution basically means that the city will sign a $5,000 contract with the CSRA Regional Commission," Mayor Sean Kelley said during the Dearing Town Council meeting. "The regional commission will be facilitating the meetings on zoning and advising us, but the zoning rules and regulations will be completely up to the council."
Kelley said zoning could be a fact in Dearing within 11-12 months. The next step involves a series of town meetings at which residents can give input.
"The Land Use Ordinance is our guideline for zoning, but we're not going to be pushed into anything we don't want," Kelley said. "If people want to have input on the zoning, they need to come to the meetings. We want to make this as painless for Dearing as possible. But, no offense, we don't want to end up like Harlem, with all the restrictions they have."
Whatever zoning regulations are decided upon, they won't affect buildings or businesses already in place.
"Everything in current existence will be grandfathered in," Kelley said. "This will only affect future development, growth, etc., within Dearing."
On other issues, Kelley reported that the National Night Out had been successful for Dearing.
"I estimate we had over 250 people attending, and the Columbia County Command Center was a big hit with people attending," Kelley said. "I also especially want to thank the sheriff's department for their participation."
Kelley was also able to give a final number for the amount raised by Mayfest.
"I'm happy to report that Mayfest was able to donate $12,000 to Good Samaritan House, the local charity we sponsored this year," Kelley said. "I'm also happy to report that Advanced Primary Minerals says they plan to start contributing to Good Samaritan House, which is something they said they'd do when they moved here. Advanced Primary tells me that they're anticipating growth, and may be considering adding some jobs in the future as well, and that's also good news for Dearing."