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Developer looking to bring housing units to Bamberg Print E-mail
Written by Jerry E. Halmon   

A Charleston-area realtor whose company works with a number of multi-family housing developers across the state, told Bamberg City Council members at their November 12 meeting that the City of Bamberg has been identified as an area that can support 40-45 multi-family housing units, (a five million dollar investment in the community) contingent on the City being able to target five to seven acres of land in the city within a 72-hour time frame (November 15) where the development could be built.

“It’s a very quick trigger on this, very fast,” Commercial Real-estate Agent Edward Oswald of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina - based Oswald Cooke and Associates told Council members of the 72-hour time frame needed to identify the property the multi-family housing units would be built on, adding “but it could happen, I’m here to ask ya’ll to help us by identifying some areas in Bamberg that could be suitable for revitalization.”

Oswald said the developers were not looking for the City of Bamberg to donate any land for the project and the that the developers would come in and buy the property. He also noted the application through the Low Income Tax Credit Program is a “competitive program.” Of the 80 applications submitted to the program last year Oswald noted that he and his partner were involved in 12 applications, with a total of 15 being funded.

“When you boil it all down, we have a pretty good track record of getting applications selected state wide,” he stated. City of Bamberg Clerk/Treasurer Bruce Watson noted that bringing in more multi-family housing was a goal that the City of Bamberg had set for a while.

“When Council approved the last Comprehensive Plan, it basically said we need some more low income multifamily housing in the City of Bamberg, it was something they kind of targeted,” Watson noted.

One piece of property mentioned as a possible site for the development was the property owned by the City of Bamberg located behind City Hall. Watson noted that if that particular piece of property were used it would require several steps to be taken including: re-zoning from industrial to residential, the Planning Commission being involved, City Council giving final approval with a recommendation from the planning commission.

“And it’s not a done deal even then,” Watson said, adding residents would have to be notified and have access to a public hearing.

“I don’t know just how that’s going to go. I hope they would back it, but I’m just not sure,” Watson said.

Bamberg Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Foster noted that she did not have a problem with the proposed development and she would prefer it be located in the City of Bamberg for the tax revenues. “I don’t have a problem with it. I would rather see it in the City limits,” Foster said.

Also during the meeting Councilmember Bo Griffin commended Councilmember Cynthia Summers and her committee’s work on the City’s Veterans Day Program. Griffin also congratulated Jerry Halmon on behalf of Bamberg City Council for being named Bamberg County 2011 Waddy Thompson Citizen of the Year. “Let the minutes reflect that we as a Council appreciate his service to our community and county and we acknowledge that in his volunteer efforts, governmental and sports functions and school you made a difference in our community and touched a lot of lives. We want to recognize that tonight.

In a special meeting of Bamberg City Council on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 Council members approved Resolution 2012-04 targeting Residential Revitalization in the following areas of the City: The intersection of Weimer Street and Main Highway 301/601 southward to City Limit Line then westward down City Limit Line to Capernaum Road then northward down Capernaum Road to intersection of Weimer Street then eastward down Weimer Street to intersection of Main Highway 301/601 as well as beginning at intersection of north City Limit Line and Main Highway 301/601 then southward to intersection of New Bridge Street then southward down New Bridge Street to intersection of Zeigler Street then southward down Zeigler Street to intersection of Heritage Highway 78 then westward down Heritage Highway 78 to intersection of City Limit Line then northward down City Limit Line to intersection of City Limit Line and Main Highway 301/601, as Residential Revitalization Areas targeted for multi-family housing.

Bamberg City Clerk Bruce Watson stated that he was “a little concern” that the Planning Commission had not been involved since they developed the Comprehensive Plan for the City of Bamberg. Councilmember Nancy Foster noted that Council had no choice but to pass the resolution identifying the targeted areas due to the time remaining.

Foster noted that the proposal would “eventually” have to go through the Planning Commission.

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