AIKEN Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce announced this morning that it withdraws its support for the citys proposed highway overlay district ordinance due to concerns about costs to business owners.
The chambers board of directors met this morning to discuss the ordinance, which would set design guidelines for new commercial and office buildings along the citys major corridors.
Chamber President David Jameson said the current ordinance deviates from the one the chamber supported last year. In September, Aiken City Council members unanimously approved developing the ordinance.
The planning commission has met to develop the ordinance several times since then
I hope the city will listen carefully to business concerns and weigh your valuable input into their decision making process, Jameson wrote to chamber members in an e-mail this morning. For this to happen, you will have to be engaged.
Chamber member Katy Lipscomb, owner of Material Things on Silver Bluff Road, shared her concerns about the ordinance with city council members in a meeting earlier this month.
Lipscomb has owned her business in Aiken for 16 years. She said letters sent out to homeowners last year about the ordinance were not mailed to business owners.
Im not saying its good or bad, she said this morning. We definitely need design aesthetics, but what can we accomplish economically today that? Theres a better way to do this.
The ordinance outlines improvements to about 1,000 existing business, and all new businesses, which could exceed 50 percent of the sites value, according to earlier reports in the Chronicle.
The planning commission will meet Feb. 9 for the first public hearing on the ordinance.