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New Drakesborough traffic lights Beazer's responsibility, Dorchester County Council says

Drakesborough Stop Lights, Summerville (WCIV)

What appears to be the final two properties being developed in Drakesborough may sit empty. Dorchester County council passed a resolution to prevent ownership until Beazer Homes installs a traffic light at nearby Highway 78 and Orangeburg Road.

"Ultimately when you look at this, I think we did everything in good faith," said David Chinnis, a Dorchester County Council Member representing District 2. He’s also chairman of the county’s planning, development, and building committee.

Chinnis says council won't allow a certificate of occupancy, building permits, or assume maintenance of the roads in Drakesborough until Beazer follows a development agreement which includes installation of traffic signals.

"Unless they already have a building permit to actually go verticle with construction, they would not be issued that building permit. And the homes under construction that had not received a certificate of occupancy wouldn't receive the certificate of occupancy either. And ultimately that would prevent a closing," he said.

In a statement from Beazer Homes, company officials wrote “We are aware of the County’s position that Beazer is responsible under the 2006 Development Agreement to install a traffic signal at the intersection of Highway 78 and Orangeburg Road. We are investigating that claim and we are actively working with the County to develop a plan of action that is best for all involved. Beazer looks forward to continuing to be a positive and responsible corporate citizen of, and developing communities in, Dorchester County for years in the future.” The statement came from Joseph F. Hession, assistant general counsel and compliance officer for Beazer Homes in Atlanta, Georgia.

"It's just crazy all the changes that are being made," said Tequisha Geddis, who lives in a house at the intersection near Dawson Branch Road.

She thinks there's a different solution.

"I feel like a caution light, if anything, would be applicable here. I don't think that a full blown stop light would be necessary because it would slow traffic down," she said.

Still, county leaders promise a green light to progress on a busy highway handling more cars and trucks.

"It’s a DOT traffic study. They're the ones that say there needs to be a traffic light there," explained Chinnis.

Councilman Chinnis is hopeful a resolution will take place in the next few days. In the meantime, he says council members are considering passing an ordinance to strengthen development agreements so problems like this won't happen again.

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