The Lancaster County Council to decided to move ahead in circuit court with an appeal to a decision by the county’s Board of Zoning Appeals that favored a local concrete plant.
The county council voted Oct. 24 to appeal the BZA ruling that Thomas Concrete can continue operating in Indian Land.
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“The county decided they are negatively impacted by the board’s decision, so they decided to appeal to circuit court,” Planning Director Chris Karres said.
The factory stopped operating for more than six months, according to the Friends of Indian Land, a group that has been actively working to improve conditions in the Brookchase and Lakeview Landing neighborhoods in Indian Land. The concrete factories in the Perimeter Business Park, including Thomas, are a nonconforming use of the business park’s “Light Industrial” zoning classification. Because the factory stopped operating for more than six months, a Lancaster County ordinance prevents the factories from renewing operations.
Thomas Concrete argued against the decision at an Oct. 11 BZA meeting. During that meeting, the board ruled that the company could continue operating in the business park.
But the Lancaster County Council disagrees with that decision and will go to circuit court to fight it.
“They have been, evidence shows, closed down for a period of time and I’ve gotten a substantial amount of feedback and input from citizens on this,” said Larry McCullough, Indian Land’s representative on the council.
“So with all of this taking place, I support appealing.”
The county has 30 days to formally file an appeal with circuit court, according to Karres.
Concrete Supply, another factory in Perimeter Business Park, has also stopped operating for more than six months, according to the BZA. The company will go before the board in December.
The concrete factories were allowed in the Light Industrial zoning classification when they opened more than five years ago. The county council later removed concrete factories as an acceptable use in Light Industrial zoning, when homeowners near the factories began complaining of problems with noise, light and dust coming from the factories.
But the ordinance that prevents a nonconforming use from renewing operations if they shut down for more than six months is a standard ordinance in most counties and municipalities, said Karres.
“It’s normal planning practice to have a time frame in which if a business stops that is nonconforming, then it can’t go back in, like in this case,” Karres said.