GEORGETOWN — The Georgetown County Council unanimously denied a rezoning request March 23, as recommended by the Planning Commission, for a 3-acre parcel of land owned by Church of God and True Holiness.
This is the second time the rezoning request has been denied, with the land in question located on the east side of Rose Hill Road and its intersection with St. Luke Trail and Ritch Lane in Georgetown.
The last time it was rejected was in 2015 — but the latest setback will not deter the church trustees, according to agent Christopher Frasier.
"All we ask for is transparency," Frasier said.
The Church of God and True Holiness bought the land from St. Luke’s Church, and previously planned to use the land for a new church, according to Richard Cox with St. Luke’s Church.
Frasier said The Church of God and True Holiness wants to use the land now to build its own cemetery so that it no longer has to pay fees to use the community cemetery owned by St. Luke's.
According to Frasier, members of St. Luke's Church do not have to pay fees to use the community cemetery, so he doesn't understand why his congregation has to.
"They're saying that their members pay tithe and offering, so our argument is that our members do the same, so if its a community (graveyard) and you don't have to pay, why do we have to pay?" Frasier said.
Several residents around the area were also opposed to the cemetery for mental health reasons, even with a buffer separating the land and the adjacent homes.
“I don’t want to walk out my front door, sit in my garage and there is a graveyard,” said Leola Thompson, a resident whose front yard faces the land. “My mom just passed 3 years ago … I don’t want to be reminded about that every day having a graveyard there.”
The Church of God and True Holiness can use its 3 acres for other church needs, or it can apply for a rezoning request again.