Judge to rule in McMahan versus Oconee

The next step in a lawsuit that seeks to strike down a section of Oconee County zoning law is up to a circuit judge. After hearing yesterday from both sides, Common Pleas Judge Lawton McIntosh says he’ll study further what he heard and make his decision. The moving party during yesterday’s proceedings was Oconee County whose lawyer, James Logan, asked McIntosh for a ruling of summary judgment in favor of the county or a dismissal of the lawsuit filed last year for David and Michelle McMahan and others. Plaintiffs’ attorney Roberta Barton maintains the county’s action to create an agricultural residential district a classification of its zoning enabling law is a violation of the South Carolina Right to Farm Act by limiting property owners inside the ARD to part-time farming as a way to supplement their income. It’s the second zoning challenge lawsuit attempted by some of the plaintiffs, and Oconee attorney Logan argued the Right to Farm matter was ruled on in the dismissal of the previous lawsuit. Logan says the Right to Farm Law doesn’t pre-empt a county’s right to zoning. About the plaintiffs, Logan said, “These folks don’t want any prohibitions at all.” McIntosh said both sides raised points yesterday he had not thought of and he’ll take those into consideration as he makes a ruling.