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Businessman to CPW: 'I feel we are being bullied.'

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Tuesday, March 1, 2016

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Greer businessman Brent Jones told Greer CPW commissioners he wants the utility and guy wires removed from his property.
 

Jim Fair

Greer businessman Brent Jones told Greer CPW commissioners he wants the utility and guy wires removed from his property.

 



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A CPW solution suggests the utility pole and guy wires be moved toward the end of the property line, away from the business entrance.
 

Jim Fair

A CPW solution suggests the utility pole and guy wires be moved toward the end of the property line, away from the business entrance.

 



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Brent Jones suggested moving the pole onto First Presbyterian Church's property. First Presbyterian officials, reportedly rejected that idea.
 
 
 

Jim Fair

Brent Jones suggested moving the pole onto First Presbyterian Church's property. First Presbyterian officials, reportedly rejected that idea.

 

 

 

 

The Greer Commission of Public Works was accused of being a bully and has been put on notice by a local businessman that the Greer utility faces imminent danger for a personal injury lawsuit.

"I feel like we are getting bullied,” Brent Jones told commissioners Eugene Gibson, Jeff Howell and Perry Williams at Monday’s regularly scheduled public meeting. Jones owns the property he is leasing to Benchmark Bicycle Supply Co. at 207 Randall Street.

It was an opening salvo from Jones during the public comment session of the meeting. Commissioners and CPW executives typically don't respond.

Jones told commissioners that he and CPW General Manager Jeff Tuttle don’t agree with his demand to remove a utility pole and guy wires at the entrance to the Benchmark Bicycle Supply Co. “And what we’re trying to do with downtown Greer doesn’t match up with CPW,” Jones said.

Jones pointedly told commissioners South Carolina personal injury attorneys like Joel Bieber and Dick James will be at CPW’s doorstep, “If somebody gets hurt on the property. This opens you up for a suit and our appearance here serves public notice you have been warned of that possibility,” Jones said.

The utility pole, that serves CPW and Charter Communications, is set within feet to the left of the door entering the bike shop. The guy wires that supports the pole is virtually in front of the entrance.

The utility pole has been in place since 1949 and the original building was erected in 1951.

“(Jones) bought the building with the pole where it is,” said Gibson, who calls the dilemma an operational issue. “The pole has been there since 1949. There have been any number of businesses in there and so far nobody has impaled themselves on those guy wires.”

Not mentioned was if Jones leased the building to Benchmark without either party receiving documented agreement from CPW regarding the utility pole’s presence and resolve in relation to the design of the shop.

“Should we spend any money because he wants the pole moved? First Presbyterian Church already said they don’t want it moved,” Gibson said. “The city said they don’t want it moved. They don’t want the sidewalk and road torn up, so I can sympathize with them.”

First Presbyterian owns the property adjacent to Benchmark Bicycle Supply Co. and uses it as a parking lot. Tuttle suggested moving the pole and guy wires to the church parking lot had a more likely opportunity of being hit and causing considerable damage.

Jones asked the principals of Benchmark to attend Monday’s meeting. It was their first contact with CPW officials making their views known.

Tiana Cain, one of three owners and an insurance executive, said, “With poles and wires in front, it’s not the kind of business we want,” Cain said. “Safety is one of our focuses and having a liability hazard within feet of our door makes it very difficult.”

Cain said signing the 3-year lease with a 5-year option with Jones was conditioned on obtaining safety insurance. “We considered safety insurance very seriously, “ said Cain. “As a small business we can’t (afford) to defend ourselves nor would we want to if customers fall at our building.”

Cain said there has been also been difficulty getting signage on the building because of the pole and guy wires placement.

“We definitely want to have a workable solution but we can’t get rid of the pole. That pole is supporting a lot of weight,” Tuttle said. “To bust out the sidewalk and part of the street, is incredibly expensive. We can put a self-supporting pole in there but it will cost about $40,000. We have to dig it down to about 20 feet into the ground to support it.

“Then you have to figure out who is paying for it, and it’s the rate payer, of course,” Tuttle said.

“The problem is whatever we do is going to lose money,” Gibson said.

 

 

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