Standing room only at Spartanburg Water meeting

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SPARTANBURG Co., S.C. (WSPA) — Lake Bowen and Lake Blalock property owner packed Spartanburg Water’s monthly meeting on Tuesday.

Officials had to move the meeting to the Spartanburg Marriott to accommodate the crowd.

Homeowners are angry about new property restrictions, while the utility says it’s simply protecting the water supply.

While the speakers were few, the message was loud and clear.

Homeowners will not take property restriction and regulations from Spartanburg Water without a fight.

Although the meeting was filled to capacity, when it came time for public comment, just two property owners signed up in time to speak on the crowd’s behalf.

“I thought it was a typical meeting of the water system where everything had been predetermined and there was really no discussion,” property owner John Poole said.

Away from our cameras, homeowner after homeowner shared the same message: They want to be heard.

“They can absolutely request a meeting with any of us. I’ve personally met with some homeowners, with one of our engineers, having a public forum like this, we have a monthly commission meeting. We’d love to hear from them,” said Spartanburg Water Communications Manager Jennifer Candler.

On Spartanburg Water’s website, there’s a link for public comments and where the 84-page draft of the rules and regulations that homeowners are angry about has been posted.

“The intent on punishing the adjacent landowners is prominent right now, instead of working amicably, they are using government power to try to persuade and even try to intimidate,” Ben Smith said.

Attorney Trey Gowdy sent a letter on behalf of lake front property owners, challenging the water utility’s draft of rules and regulations. While the utility acknowledged receiving the letter, they say they’re still looking for public comment to help them resolve this issue.

“All of the comments, all of them online, submitted through the mail will be reviewed by the commission and they will look to see what might need to change,” Candler said.

Although their attorney was not at Tuesday’s meeting, homeowners say they’ll fight this through the court system.

Public comment is open through Friday, Aug. 30.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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