Ruling in favor of zoning challengers

Oconeeans opposed to agricultural residential zoning in their county won a court ruling. An informal order filed Friday by 10th Circuit Judge Lawton McIntosh grants David and Michelle McMahan and others summary judgment in their challenge of agricultural residential district zoning. The plaintiffs went to court last year, contending that the county’s inclusion of ARD zoning in the county ordinance violates the South Carolina Right to Farm Act, and McIntosh agreed with them. The judge’s decision reads, in part, “While counties are free to enact ordinances identical to state provisions, the SC Right to Farm Act was constructed to pre-empt the entire regulatory field of agriculture. Ordinance Number 2012-14 violates the Act, as it means to regulate agricultural facilities and operations outside the scope of state provisions.” McIntosh’s decision instructs the plaintiff’s attorney to prepare a formal order—and these are the judge’s words—-“consistent with these instructions, oral arguments, memoranda, and the pleadings.” He further instructed plaintiffs’ attorney Roberta Barton to provide James Logan, the attorney representing Oconee County, with a copy of the order before it is sent to him.  Neither Barton nor plaintiff Jean Jennings chose to comment when asked by 96.3/WGOG NEWS.  Barton says she wants to wait until the order becomes final.   The county has the right to appeal.  Besides the McMahans and Jennings, plaintiffs include Lillie Davis.