The Pendleton Oil Mill has long been a staple of the town’s landscape, for good and bad. This summer, a judge, due to a large lien against the property, ordered the mill to be sold. The property taxes are also delinquent which means the property was sold at a Tax Sale Auction, and the buildings continue to fall into disrepair. Although much of the work has been behind the scenes, this is an issue the Town of Pendleton has been working on for quite a while now. In the past, we have cited the owner for junk and abandoned vehicles and held several conferences to discuss the future of the Pendleton Oil Mill Site. As it currently stands, the Town cannot afford to remove and redevelop the site without assistance from EPA, DHEC, and the County unless we dramatically increase our taxes and fees that we currently charge to our citizens and property owners. Furthermore, due to the potential for contamination, the Town cannot take ownership of the property through any type of condemnation or other avenues, without ourselves becoming a responsible party and liable for any future or current claims on the property. There is currently an active investigation on the property, one being conducted by DHEC and the other being conducted by the EPA. The EPA has stated they will be coming back out to the site after the first of 2018 to conduct an RSE report and look to see if an emergency cleanup is warranted. In the past, we have collaborated with Clemson University’s Landscape Architecture Program to come up with ideas for redevelopment, and have examples of potential future uses of the property that can benefit the Town. A few of those pictures are below. The Town has also entered preliminary talks with developers who have experience in site development and reuse.
The Mayor, Frank Crenshaw, along with the Town Administrators are working on the project, and wanted to make the people of Pendleton aware of the work being done on it. A solution is being sought, although it is not an easy process. Due to the size and nature of the project and the impact that this site can have on the future of Pendleton, we know that the process will take time and collaboration to produce an end result that we can be proud of as a Town.