PRESENT: Mayor Council: Riley Bradham, Zach Nelson, Henry Holst, Allen Holmes, Frank Thornhill and Town Clerk Colleen Key

ABSENT:  

Meeting called to order at 7:05 with pledge.

Other Present: Dr. Chip Linton, Kristi Nelson, Melanie Thornhill, Town of Rockville Attorney Chuck Baker and Ross Appel, Attorney for Ball Family.

No changes to agenda.

Mayor motions to accept prior Meeting Minutes as drafted.  Seconded by Zach Nelson.  Unanimously approved.

TREASURERS REPORT:

FINANCIAL REPORT as of 12/30/2020

                                                                             PREVIOUS Ending $                            CURRENT Ending $

Wells Fargo Checking                                               $18,931.28                            $21,315.38

S.C. Local Government Investment Pool              $287,285.25                          $ 287,325.15

MAYOR / COUNCIL REPORTS:

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

  1. Planning:  Melanie Thornhill – nothing to report.
  2. BZA:  No one reporting.
  3. Code Enforcement: No one reporting.
  4. DRB: Kristi Nelson – Nothing to report.
  5. WLPC: Henry Holst – Nothing to report.

New Business:

Mayor reads/submits for the record the letter submitted by Linda Folk voicing concerns about the proposed mediation agreement between the Town and the Balls.

To summarize:

  1. Questions ethicalness of Ross Appel representing the Balls as he previously represented the Town in a similar suit.
  • Shed, new driveway and new walkway are addressed in mediation proposal.  None of these issues were discussed in prior DRB meetings.
  • Façade easement should be registered with the deed of the property and recorded with the County.
  • Easements on facades of historic structures should be held by and entity whose mission it is to protect historic structures and not a government entity that changes with each election.
  • Landscaping and tree work was approved by proposed settlement, which have not been reviewed by the Town or Charleston County.

Additionally, Linda Folk suggests Town Council consider passing a moratorium on R ½ permit applications for new construction and renovation until the Town/DRB can amend guidelines to further protect the R ½ district.

Dr. Linton comments on/submits for the record his own letter explaining his observations on the proposed mediation agreement between the Town and the Balls.

To Summarize:

  1. DRB proposed placing a façade easement on the Ball’s property in exchange for permitting the addition as recorded in county documents.  Multiple attempts at a compromise were unsuccessful.
  2. No representative of DRB was asked to attend mediation.
  3. DRB nor Town has seen tree and landscaping plan that the mediation agreement seeks to approve. No mention of DHEC rules regarding critical lines and marsh protection. The arborist evaluation needs to be approved by the county.
  4. The easement as proposed will not be recorded with the deed of the property as the Balls feel this will devalue the property. The Town should not be responsible for facilitating future real estate plans. Easement should be recorded with the County.
  5. No DRB member was asked to attend mediation. No one from Town Council attended the three DRB meetings that addressed the Ball permit application. Nor was any organization who frequently deals with matters of preservation and zoning. 
  6. Linda Folk had not received a copy of last meetings minutes.

Additionally, Dr. Linton suggests Town Council consider passing a four-month moratorium on R ½ permit applications for new construction and renovation until the Town/DRB can amend guidelines to further protect the R ½ district.

Mayor notes the official presentation of the Settlement Memorandum is set for this evening’s meeting. Also stating that regarding Linda Folk’s question about Ross Appel representing the Balls, the Mayor was advised by Town Attorney John Warren that a conflict does not exist in this instance.

Town Attorney Chuck Baker, who works with Town Attorney John Warren, and has served one four-year term on the County Board of Zoning Appeals and has been involved in these types of issues in the City of Charleston and Mt. Pleasant explains details of Settlement Memorandum.

To summarize:

  1. The Balls appealed decision of DRB and rather then going directly to circuit court they asked for mediation which is allowed by law.
  2. DRB not being included in mediation was by design to promote a fresh negotiation, rather than rehash the past hearings to see if an agreement can be met. If council does not approve the Settlement, then appeal moves forward and the circumstances of the DRB meetings would be discussed.
  3. The Town has full discretion to reject proposed agreement.
  4. The Balls may proceed with additions and renovations to the property which include a shed, driveway and front walkway but are subject to all applicable DHEC and OCRM regulations as well as permit requirements. Of note is that the shed, driveway and walkway were in fact approved by the DRB Exhibit A
  5. Work recommended by Tree Preservation Report may proceed. Exhibit B
  6. Balls must comply, always, with the UDO of the Town of Rockville. Approval of DRB, BZA and Planning is still required. Future additions to the home’s primary building envelope may not be made without prior written consent of the Town. Balls agree to execute a restrictive Covenant that will be held by the Town.  Exhibit C
  7. The Balls shall have the right to perform maintenance, repair, or replacement activities, to rebuild/ refurbish in the wake of an act of God, to construct features in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and to make improvements to the interior. And they may seek future improvements approval from the Town, DRB and BZA.

Question from DR. Linton: Is selected arborist on County approved list? Do they need County approval?

Mayor reiterates that Settlement is in line with current UDO requirements. Joel Evans, with the County was consulted.

  • Balls would not agree to have the proposed easement be recorded.  As the settlement is just applicable to the Balls and their ownership, there is no meaningful reason to record.
  • A more formal agreement will be drafted if this settlement agreement is accepted.  Each side agrees to pay their own attorney fees, which if appeal continued, the Balls could move to have their attorney fees paid for by the Town.

Allen Holmes asks about shed plans.  And rising tides decreasing lot size?

Mayor notes that all set back requirements have been met.

Henry Holt directs question to DRB members: Are you all ok with the plan to enlarge?

Dr. Linton reiterates that the DRB has reservations regarding the visual aesthetic and scale being an historic home and mentions that a compromise was attempted and was not reached.

Frank Thornhill motions for Executive Session to receive legal advice. Seconded by Mayor Bradham. Unanimously approved.

Regular session reconvenes. Mayor notes that no decisions were made by Mayor / Council during executive session.  Ross Appell, Defendant’s Attorney, recused himself for the duration of the executive session.

Mayor motions to accept proposed Settlement Memorandum in the Case of Maynard M. Ball and Barbara K. Ball The Town of Rockville and The Town of Rockville Design Review Board.

Vote commenced and resulted in a 3- 2 decision.

In favor: Mayor Bradham, Frank Thornhill and Zach Nelson

Opposed: Henry Holst and Allen Holmes. Holst stated that he supported the DRB and Holmes agreed with Holst

Old Business:

Road cone has disappeared and reappeared.

Scheduling Order:

  1. Effectively codify changes to UDO that will help preserve historic homes.
  2. Research Moratorium to provide clear and defined terms.

Mayor motions to adjourn 8:27. Seconded by Frank Thornhill


Notice of Meeting: In accordance with the SC Code of Laws, 1976, Section 30-4-80(d), as amended, notification of the time, date and place of this meeting has been met via the Rockville Website and/or King’s Grocery Store Bulletin Board. The agenda was posted on the website and King’s Grocery Store Bulletin Board prior to the meeting.


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