Spartanburg Water pulls Land Access Agreement

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – A year long battle between an Upstate utility company and a group of homeowners appears to be over.

The Spartanburg Commission of Public Works has dropped a requirement that lakefront property owners sign a land access agreement.

Spartanburg Water had said that agreement was aimed at making sure future property owners around Lake Blalock, Lake Bowen and Municipal Reservoir 1 were aware of their rules.

But, 7News has learned that agreement’s been tossed out.

A spokeswoman with the utility said Tuesday a big reason they canned the agreement last Friday is push back by the homeowners.

Those homeowners are reacting to the news and say they’re pleased but some said there’s more to be done.

This started in the summer of 2018 when homeowners started to learn Spartanburg Water owned and managed the lakes and reservoirs they lived along.

Homeowners like Dan Hargett, who lives on Lake Bowen, were not pleased to hear what they learned.

Now he’s reacting to the news the agreement has been tossed.

“We believe that’s a great first step,” said Hargett.

The land access agreement was very unpopular out in these parts.

The utility’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Candler told 7News pushback by homeowners was part of the reason that decision was reached.

“The commission came to that decision really just based on the fact that they wanted to listen to the adjacent property owners,” said Candler.

Hargett said, “That document was aimed at claiming a portion of this property that’s not on anybody’s deed.”

The back and forth between homeowners and the utility came to a head when the utility announced a “Press Pause” program.

That gave homeowners an extension in order to make changes to things like their docks and lakeside porches while applying for a permit rather than waiting for a permit to start work.

Candler said, “Certainly we want to work with the homeowners.”

Candler told us the land access agreement will no longer be a part of the “Press Pause” program.

Hargett considers that a good thing.

“Then they could push you off the lake, no access to your boats, or use of the water. So it was a really bad document,” he said.

Hargett said the issue isn’t quite over. The next step is a set of rules and regulations being considered by Spartanburg Water.\

Hargett and others believe those rules as they stand now go too far.

“They came out with 84 pages of rules. Rules that I don’t believe any normal person could memorize them and honor all of them,” he said.

Hargett believes things started to turn in favor of the homeowners when they brought up financial issues and enlisted Trey Gowdy as their legal representation earlier this year.

7News will continue to follow this story as the Public Works Commission continues to work on the latest proposed rules and regulations.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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