“Municipal Corporation of Clemson University”

Oconee Planning Commission received a legal opinion this week as it went about sorting through what properties may be included in a public recreational lands district. It’s a proposed ordinance on which County Council has asked its planning commissioners for a recommendation. The commissioners were told Monday night by Tom Martin, County Attorney, that in the matter of some Clemson University-owned property in Oconee, the county may not regulate the property through zoning. Martin gave an explanation and interpretation of a state law establishing a “Municipal Corporation of Clemson University.” Commissioners spent time Monday night getting their heads around the fact that, although the university owns property in un-incorporated sections of Oconee within a certain radius of the heart of campus, that property by law is actually classified as municipal—–and the county has no authority to zone any municipal property. The legal wording of the law in question, in part, reads: “A municipal corporation is hereby created, known as Clemson University, the limits of which shall consist of all lands belonging to Clemson University and cover all territory included in a circle formed with the university building as a center, with a radius of five miles, thus making the diameter of the circle ten times within the boundaries the jurisdiction of the corporation shall extend.” Commissioners also discussed whether Clemson University-owned land outside the 10-mile circle would be subject to county regulation.