COLUMBIA — The city and local environmental groups are more than a year into a legal fight to challenge the city’s own zoning board over allowing an auto salvage operation that opponents say clashes with efforts to clean up and beautify a gateway with a history of industrial pollution.
The thoroughfare of four-lane Shop Road is a highly traveled route off Interstate 77 that leads to downtown Columbia, University of South Carolina football games at Williams-Brice Stadium and the State Fairgrounds.
Along the route are rows of decommissioned vehicles — sedans, work vans, pickup trucks and at least one small bus — behind tall barbed-wire fencing along Shop Road at the intersection of South Beltline Road. They belong to American Scrap Iron & Metal, the company at the center of the zoning fight. (...)
Now the city and local environmentalists are fighting the arrival of a business they feel would be a setback to those efforts.
The city’s Board of Zoning Appeals voted unanimously in March 2021 to approve a special zoning exception for American Scrap at 2420 Shop Road, with the condition that the vehicles be screened from the roadway. The business plans to break down vehicles and sell the parts wholesale and required the board grant an exception to the allowed uses of the property to be able to store scrap metal on site and dispose of the junked cars.
The city sued its zoning board the same month to appeal the decision, arguing the board failed to properly consider guidelines for approving a special use at the site.
American Scrap owner Tim Dickensheets said he has paused operations at the site while the appeal is pending.