South Carolina property owners currently have the right to block land development near their home by issuing what’s known as an “automatic stay,” which halts construction until a judge can hear the dispute.
Under a bill which passed a state House subcommittee on Thursday, developers could resume construction after 30 days if a judge does not rule before then. The Senate approved a different version of the bill earlier this year with a 90-day limit. The measure has been a top priority for legislative Republicans who argue stays are abused by conservation groups to block permits as soon as they are approved by state regulators.
State Rep. Chris Murphy, R-Summerville, said he thinks a 30-day window is enough time for a citizen or conservation group to hire a lawyer and investigate any questions about the environmental impact of a construction project. “This bill does not take away any arrows from the quiver of a private citizen,” he said during Thursday’s hearing. “It does enact a time limit.” [Read more…]