• Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pat Brady and his Jeep Nellybelle were sidekicks to Roy Rogers on his TV show in the 1950s. Before that, Brady rode a mule “Nelly” in several movies. Later, college football announcer Keith Jackson used “Whoa Nellie” sometimes, though he says Bob Griese used it even more.
Now, we say to the Georgetown County Planning Commission and County Council: “Whoa, Nellybelle!”
During the well-attended Sept. 20 meeting of the Planning Commission, some 1,400 people showed up to listen and voice their opinions of plans to redo Pawleys Plaza with a 119,500-square-foot big box store.
We’ve presented the plans, the comments and statements from developers, planning staff and opponents.
That night, as more than 50 people spoke about the plans, many in the audience left as the meeting dragged on.
Finally, after sitting through about four-and-a-half hours, the remaining 50 to 100 people heard motions, amendments, adjustments, statements from commissioners and much more.
There was a 4-1 vote to send the rezoning request to County Council, but instead of the original plan, it was changed to 45,000 square feet, or 60,000 square feet, or one idea was 80,000 square feet.
For days afterwards, planners, staff, County Council members and people at the meeting have said they’re not sure just what happened.
One person who was there said, “Ask me anything about the meeting except what happened.”
With that sort of statement, “Whoa, Nellybelle” is definitely in order.
Planning Director Boyd Johnson has been out sick and not until Tuesday did he “sign off” on an official transcript of the meeting.
The residents, citizens, tourists and other business owners deserve to have a clear idea. Planning Commission members and staff need to understand, and the developers and investors also deserve to know what took place.
Right now they don’t.
We believe that everyone concerned should have a clear statement of the motion, an affirmation that the four members of the Planning Commission who voted on the motion agree that its wording is what they voted to approve, and that members of County Council understand precisely what the commission is recommending.
If that requires that the plan be deferred, be reconsidered, or a new plan be presented, so be it.
It’s vital that there be clarity, and if those present and close to the situation can’t say for sure, then Nellybelle, as well as the commissioners, council and developers need to take the time necessary to be sure.
Anything less than clarity is short-changing all concerned.

vvv

We’re glad to learn that on Tuesday afternoon the developer requested a deferral until Nov. 13.
We trust this time will be used to good advantage for all.

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