Location of schools in Sumter could expand to other zonings

BY ADRIENNE SARVIS
adrienne@theitem.com
Posted 9/20/18

Sumter City Council discussed a proposed ordinance amendment that would expand the zonings in which schools are allowed at its meeting on Tuesday.

Reading: First of two

Agenda item: A request …

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Location of schools in Sumter could expand to other zonings

Posted

Sumter City Council discussed a proposed ordinance amendment that would expand the zonings in which schools are allowed at its meeting on Tuesday.

Reading: First of two

Agenda item: A request to amend the city zoning and development standards ordinance to add elementary and secondary schools as conditional uses in the professional office, neighborhood commercial, limited commercial and general commercial zoning districts.

Background: The request comes from the Sumter City-County Planning Commission, Sumter Planning Department Director George McGregor said, though it originated from a county property owner who intended to open a private school in a general commercial district.

In the existing zoning ordinance, elementary, middle and high schools are only permitted in residential zones by conditional use, he said.

After conversations with the Sumter School District interim superintendent and city administration, McGregor said, planning staff knows this is something that needs to be changed in the city. Planning staff recommend council consider this amendment specifically because of general commercial property owned by the school district at Broad Street and Wise Drive, he said.

If approved, McGregor said each application for a school will be reviewed to ensure the location is compatible with neighboring businesses and suitable for school operations.

Planning staff and the planning commission recommend approval.

Discussion: Mayor Joe McElveen asked if only secondary schools can be permitted in commercial districts through the proposed ordinance amendment.

McGregor said council could vote to allow both levels of school or just one.

Vote: 5-1 approval - Councilwoman Ione Dwyer voted in opposition, saying she wanted more time to review the issue. Councilman Robert Galiano was absent.