DPNC MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
When: Monday, February 15th, 2010
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Place: Deer Park Baptist Church Fellowship Hall
Speaker:
Paul Cummings - Tax Preparer


THE ANTLERS’ SPREAD
The Voice of the United Estates of Deer Park
Official Publication of the Deer Park Neighborhood Council
Vol. 16; No. 60 February 2010



PRESIDENTS CORNER
By Julia Long

At our meeting this month, we're fortunate to have with us Paul Cummings, tax preparer, to respond to our inquiries about our income taxes. Many of you know Paul from his years living on Storen Street here in Deer Park, where he had a home office. He has now moved his office, though not his residence. The new office is just across Rivers Avenue at Otranto, behind the gas station. If you use that Rivers/Otranto intersection to go over to the Piggly Wiggly to shop, then you probably make the first left turn right behind the gas station to head to the grocery. As soon as you turn, Paul's new office is immediately on your right. He's helped me through the years with taxes on my salary, then on my retirement income, and also on rental property. It can be a long wait when you call the IRS for information, so this may be just the chance you're looking for to get some questions answered.

Right now our biggest project is working on updating and removing errors from the city's Comprehensive Development Plan for our neighborhood. For example, would you believe that the plan still shows the Fernwood lot where the hotel is located as planned for single-family residential? Let me know if you have any comments or questions on the land use plan.

Recently, several people were disturbed by a subpoena-serving group calling or visiting, trying to find someone from the civic club to give papers to. Just in case you heard about that and wondered what in the world is going on, it was a mistake. In fact, it was a mistake that's happened before. You see, when a financial institution forecloses on a home, one step in the process is to get testimony from the applicable homeowners association (if any), to see whether the previous owner was behind in making mandatory dues payments. We, of course, are not a homeowners association at all, though our name causes some financial lenders to think that we might be. This issue is likely to come up again for some other foreclosed property someday. So if you ever get someone asking if you'll take legal papers for the Deer Park Neighborhood Council, please say no; and then ask the person to call me.


SCHOOL STANDARDIZED TESTS

You may have noticed a recent news article about the new standardized test results for the state. The article gave comparative percentages on pass rates for several counties and the state overall. To simplify, here are the numbers just for Charleston County. For third-grade English and Language Arts, 200 students out of every thousand failed. For eighth-grade English and Language Arts, 299 students out of every thousand failed. For third-grade science, 360 students out of every thousand failed. For eighth-grade science, 378 students out of every thousand failed. As if there weren't bad enough, in upper Dorchester County out of every thousand students, for English and Language Arts, 277 third-graders and 539 eighth-graders failed. In science, 365 third-graders and 600 eighth graders failed. Yes, people, just a few miles from us, more than half of the children in eighth grade cannot meet minimum standards for their English and science lessons.

Do you ever feel that maybe nobody needs you? If you are able to drive there, call a school and ask how you can volunteer to help. Somewhere nearby, there's a child who needs you very much.


DISCUSSION AT OUR LAST MEETING

At our January meeting, we revisited an old issue: the question of buffers between business and residential property. There seemed to be complete agreement that the ordinance we have now is a good one, and we continue to support it. No one wanted a change. The present ordinance, passed with the aid of our Councilman Bobby Jameson, uses a particular fence placement as a way to force businesses to keep all business activities at least 25 feet away from the property line of a resident.

Buffer attempts in many other areas around the country have failed to give residents the quiet and peaceful distance necessary to preserve property values and quality of life. Why so many failures? Because of the extreme difficulty in enforcing such buffers. A customer at the business may pull his/her car forward too much so as to park partly in the buffer. Delivery trucks may see the buffer area as the perfect extra parking space their vehicles need. Some employee may take to parking in the buffer area regularly to leave space for customers. Passengers waiting for someone from the car to go into the business may get out and stroll around in the buffer area. There have been occasions when some employee at the business put a picnic table and chairs in the buffer area for lunch and break time enjoyment. No city, and certainly not ours, spends taxpayer money on an enforcement staff large enough to make every business stay out of its buffer area all the time.

So what makes the buffers in Bobby Jameson's district work when others don't? It's because our buffers are wisely planned with a requirement for the 8-foot privacy fence to be placed on the business side of the buffer. That way, the fence is between the business activities and the buffer area. This makes it impossible for the business and/or its customers to gradually encroach into the buffer and deprive residents of the distance the law guarantees them.

The fence on the business side of the buffer protects the business from legal consequences due to the behavior of thoughtless customers and/or employees. It can save the business money: not only does it make it easy to maintain the fence without trespassing on the resident's yard, but it also may also reduce buffer maintenance fees. You see, once the buffer is planted on the outside of the fence, we do not insist that it remain a formal, decorative area. We are delighted for low-maintenance native plants to grow up naturally (wax myrtle is a particular good plant here), thus enhancing the ability of the buffer to do its job of providing screening and distance from business noise and activities. When the fence is on or near the property line, the business must spend considerable money keeping the buffer as a decorative area suitable for view by customers.

We are extremely fortunate to have such an advanced ordinance. Many people from civic groups outside our district have expressed envy for our superior buffers. At our last DPNC meeting, there was much appreciation expressed for Bobby's past support of this ordinance, with the 8-foot privacy fence on the business side of the 25-foot buffer, as well as the hope and request for that support to continue.


OTHER COMMUNITY NEWS

Tim Scott, our neighbor from Northwood Estates and our former representative on County Council, has announced that he is running for Congress in the First Congressional District (that's us).

Dennis and Annette Isgitt have welcomed a new grandson, Jackson Walker Isgitt, born 2-8-10, at 1:59 pm. He was 7 lbs 0 oz and 20 ½ inches long. Congratulations!


Garbage Pick-up Schedule

Garbage: Every Wednesday
Leaves/Grass: Every Wednesday
Large Trash: Every Wednesday
(Please note that Thursday will be pick-up day when City Holiday falls on Mon., Tues., Wed.)
Recyclables: every other Thursday - Feb 18th, March 4th

Board of Directors

President: Julia Long 553-3235
Vice President: Dennis Isgitt 797-2455
Secretary: Beth Evans
437-4140
Treasurer: Linda Brinson 553-8832



Board Mbr. Apptd: open

Board Mbr. Elected: Susanne Azevedo 572-2321
Board Mbr. Elected: Audrey Carpenter 553-7768
Board Mbr. Apptd: Mary Hutson 553-4451

Key Personnel

City Council District 3: Bobby Jameson 824-1500
County Council Rep: Elliott Summey 200-4244
Neighborhood Crime Watch Representative: John Flinn 863-0659
N. Chas. Dispatcher:   745-1015
Housing Director: Darbis Briggmann 740-2560
Crime Prevention Officer:
Cpl. Brian West
745-1096
Code Enforcement: William Holley 740-2681
CAC Representative Membership: Linda Brinson 553-8832
Newsletter Distribution: Jimmy Mitchum
Jim Driver
Bill Lusk
553-0665
553-0768
553-1348
Newsletter: Susanne Azevedo 572-2321
Disaster/ Preparation: James Brown 553-4329
Sick & Sunshine: Susanne Azevedo 572-2321
Voter Registration: Douglas Azevedo 572-2321

Our Neighborhood Website: www.ourdeerpark.net