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Orangeburg County Council halts development request after community pushback

Over 50 people opposed a request from Colonial Holding Group LLC to build a residential and commercial development on 80.75 acres off of Five Chop Road.

ORANGEBURG, S.C. — Orangeburg County Council has halted a request from Colonial Holding Group LLC to build a residential and commercial development on 80.75 acres off of Five Chop Road.

The county council sent back the company's request to the Orangeburg Planning Commission after 57 individuals opposed the area's development during their regular council meeting.

"What I would like to see is the planning commission hear what those petitioners have to say," said Johnny Ravenell, Orangeburg County Council District 2. "I'm also finding out most of those folks complaining don't even live near the area."

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The proposed request is in Councilman Ravenell's district. He says he is concerned with residents opposing the plan, but the possible development aligns with the county's vision of growth.

"We are a large county with 100 square miles pretty much," said Ravenell. "There is plenty of room for commercial, agriculture, or whatever a person wants to develop in this county."

Sharon Smoak is an Orangeburg resident whose family has owned farmland near the proposed property for decades. She says she is concerned with disrupting wildlife, litter, and increased traffic to the area if the county was to move forward with the request.

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"We've asked the developers what their plans are, and they said they don't know what their plans are at this point," said Smoak. "That's also concerning because residents don't know what they are putting back there."

Colonial Holding Group LLC declined News 19's request for an interview regarding community pushback. 

However, a manager did tell WLTX they're exploring all options of both residential and commercial, one of which may be a potential community of manufactured housing. 

Councilman Ravenell says hopefully, a plan is in place by the next council meeting that will suit all parties.

Credit: Devin Johnson

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"We have to make some hard choices sometimes," explained Ravenell. "Some of the decisions we make are not easy, and we can't please everybody. We hope at the same time, and we have to please the majority of the people while trying to make sure we do the right thing maintain our county."

"We're in hopes that they will turn down this rezoning and let it remain agriculture and farming," said Smoak.

The next Orangeburg County Council meeting is on November 1st.

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