Residents say no to Aiken City Council's proposal to rezone Waterloo Street

AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) - Aiken City Council wants to rezone 13 lots on Waterloo Street, but some say that plan will disrupt their daily lives.

"Waterloo street is ugly, "said Rachel D'Entremont. "Waterloo street has been let go. It has not been maintained, but it's closed in the evenings and weekends, and it doesn't bother the neighborhood."

City council made a referral in July to the planning commission to evaluate the zoning for Waterloo Street.

The concern has been about the density, the number of vacant properties, and potential growth in the area. D'Entremont says she wants city council to encourage people to move in the area not out.

"What we like to see it be upgraded residential," explained D'Entremont." Get rid of the substandard buildings and unused building, and encourage people to build residentially."

The city believes the placement of limited and general businesses like restaurants and banks in the area will help Aiken.

The resident who has been living in the area since the 80s says it will only hurt the people living in the area. 

"This is going to chase away owner-occupied homes," D'Entremont. "They'll become rentals, and then they will become other business. It will move out from Waterloo Street." 

Other residents expressed their concerns about building in their neighborhood. 

"We need pedestrian street-scaping, upgrades to existing residential properties in Waterloo, and small public safety in the area to make Waterloo street more attractive," said Dianne Mangiante.  

"We want this part of the neighborhood to revert residential, rather than continue down the road of commercialization," explained Rocky Napier. "Once you go to one level of commercialization, the next step is another level of commercialization; until you're flat out retail." 

After several discussion from concern residents, they are asking council members to reconsider their plan to rezone. 

"I want city council to stop this process right now and look at turning Waterloo back to a residential area," said D'Entremont.

Aiken City Council did not make a final decision. They will revisit the waterloo street rezoning project in the next council meeting on December 10th. 

They want to provide more information to the public. 

Photojournalist: Antony Sherrod

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