During the Ninety Six Town Council meeting last night, residents spoke up against the proposed rezoning request for two parcels to develop low income housing in town.
Over the past month residents have been sounding off strongly against the proposals through online petitions, yard signs and social media.
Representatives from the Bennet Group were on hand to make their case for the proposed rezoning and development located at Cambridge and Rogers Street. Unfortunately for them, the residents had already decided on their own this is not what they wanted to see.
One business owner in town, Travis McCombs shared concern that their plans to have an age-restricted development actually has no protection from changing that in years to come.
Mandy Hairston, who started an online petition against the rezoning effort, spoke last night during the meeting. She said “It is a dressed up pig and these developers are painting a vision of a new and improved design and management of public housing that will work out. Sure, we've failed so far, but this time it will work. We finally got it right....hooray for us. It clearly makes no sense. This will be detrimental to our schools as our teachers will be overwhelmed as classroom size will expand without the resources to uphold this expansion resulting in a "not so thorough" education that the people of this town have bought and paid into. The once amazing school system that Ninety Six is known for will vanish. It is 96 CHILDREN AND THEIR FUTURE that will pay the price. See Mandy’s full speech here...
Dr. Bryan Green & Kellar Rogers both spoke out against the development saying this is not the type of growth Ninety Six needs. Dr. Green further explained how this is not financially reasonable when comparing taxes gathered from the development vs tax dollar burden this could create just in the educational system in town.
Fred Bennett from the development firm told the council that the property would generate about $26,000 in taxes but Green said that’s not taking into account the tax exempt bond and other credits they would be receiving.
Bennett and others representatives left the council meeting prior to council’s vote but not before taking a shot at the Green & Rogers. Bennett said they were opposed to the development mainly because they have rental properties in town and do not want to see competition come in. This statement caused enough uproar in the room that Police Chief Chris Porter had to step in and keep everyone calm. As the development representatives left, the crown cheered.
As it became the Council’s turn to speak, it was unanimous and they all opposed the rezoning requests. Mayor Mike Rowe said that in the beginning he personally thought these developments would be good financially for the town but changed his mind about it after hearing from so many in town that were against it. He said he is proud to see so many concerned about the town and hopes everyone will continue to support the town.
After the meeting, Kellar Rogers made it clear that she is not a fan of Bennett.
“Mr. Bennett was bogus and untruthful from day one” said Rogers. “I made it very clear to him, rentals are not the way we make our living! Bryan is a gastroenterologist and I am in healthcare consulting! Yes, however, we do own a fair amount of them.
Rogers went on to say “I truly think that no one or any town had every been willing to stand up to his targeting before and he was baffled when our town did!”