SUMMERVILLE -- Little more than a decade ago, in the booming suburbs of lower Dorchester County, some of the best deer hunting still could be found in the sprawling woods that is now the Wescott Plantation golf course subdivision. Barking dogs weren't a problem; they were for hunting.
Now they're a problem.
So County Council tonight considers creating a "livability" ordinance, a set of laws regulating nuisances like howling hound dogs. The move comes a few months after a resident in a neighborhood alongside Wescott complained about neighbors bringing home their hunt club dogs, and a Wescott resident made a similar complaint that Council Chairman Larry Hargett finds particularly disturbing.
The resident, an Air Force pilot, was forced to spend the night at a motel in order to get mandated pre-flight rest, said Hargett, who is proposing the law. The barking was so incessant the pilot took the dog owner to court to get some of the hounds removed.
"When things like that start happening, you think you might need to change some things," Hargett said. His district includes Wescott neighborhoods in North Charleston.
Changing won't be easy. Co-existence is still a work in progress between the rural traditions of the woodland county and the cul-de-sac compactness of its Summerville-area neighborhoods. It's only been two years since complaints about leaf and debris burning led Hargett to wage an unsuccessful, eight-month campaign to craft a controversial ordinance governing the burning.
Leaf burning is an issue in Hargett's subdivisions. But it's an old country custom still practiced widely. Council members never agreed on where to draw the line allowing or not allowing it. Hargett also hopes the new ordinance can draw that line. He sees it directed at "the urban unincorporated areas" of the county.
Hargett also hopes to move animal-control jurisdiction from the zoning department to the Sheriff's Office. He will propose the council set up a committee of council members, county officials and a resident to come back with recommendations.
In other business, the council will also hear the audit report of 2010-11 fiscal year.
Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744 or follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bopete.