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Back door deal

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By The Staff

You may have read the article in the paper about an annexation request from Redline Properties, a subsidiary of Interstate Equipment Sales and Rental for a property on Veechdale Road.

While the article was accurately reported, it could not do justice to the real Story, the appalling good-old-boy politics in Simpsonville. Let's take a look at the situation.

In spring 2007, Interstate Equipment Sales and Rental (parent company of Redline Properties) requested a zone change on this property, to build a heavy equipment sales and rental facility. The zoning commission unanimously turned down the request at a hearing with over 100 citizens attending to oppose the zone change.

Interstate Equipment found a back door -- through Simpsonville. As soon as the ink was dry on the minutes of the zoning meeting, the company sent the city of Simpsonville a request to annex the property.

IMPORTANT: By annexing this property, Simpsonville can ignore the denial by the zoning commission, and can allow Redline to put whatever they want on this property.

It appears that Simpsonville orchestrated the meetings so that they could quietly annex the land without public awareness. The next meeting (where the approval will occur) is scheduled for Wed. Nov 21 (the day before Thanksgiving), at 8:30 in the morning when it is almost guaranteed that people will not attend.

A deal seems to have been struck. In exchange for bringing sewers across I-64, Simpsonville will annex the property, and can ignore the zoning commission and can let the company build their heavy machinery sales and rental business.

Note -- Sewers are the key for Simpsonville to be able to reach across the interstate to develop so they can attempt to foist their bad planning and shocking lack of foresight onto that area. Let us recap: Simpsonville City Council wins. Interstate Equipment wins... But, the residents lose. Again. (Don't forget the truck stop.)

If Interstate Equipment (Redline) intends, as they claim, to be considering commercial endeavors, such as hotels or restaurants, then why didn't they just go back to zoning with their new plans? Why would they ask Simpsonville to annex the property if not because they received a guarantee to get a different answer than they got at the zoning meeting?

Does this company (and Dave Eaton and the Simpsonville city council) really expect us to believe that they intend to walk away from their original intent for this land? They must think that we live in a place called "Simpleville," as one local developer refers to the town.

No one has heard anything about this annexation. It has not been reported in the newspaper, which attends the city council meetings. When and where did discussions about annexation take place prior to the vote last week? Why did Simpsonville do all this in secrecy , hiding this from the community until the deal was done? It is disgraceful that the mayor and city council of Simpsonville consistently behave in this underhanded manner. This is the kind of stuff that gives politicians a bad name.

Get ready folks. Pretty soon, we will be greeting people coming to Simpsonville and Shelby County with a truck stop on one corner, a flea market on another -- topped off on the other side with rows and rows of giant heavy equipment, leaking fuel tanks and oversized trucks pulling in and out all day on a beautiful rural road. Courtesy of the Simpsonville mayor and city council.

By the way, I have seen Interstate Equipment's Richmond facility. Be afraid, be VERY afraid.

B.S. DeWeese,

Simpsonville