County Staff Says Candidate Not Breaking Zoning Law

BISHOPVILLE –
Accusations consistent with the election season are alive and well on the
campaign trail, with a question recently raised that District 6 Commissioner
candidate Jimmy Bunting, a longtime member of the county planning and zoning
commission, may be violating county zoning law.

The allegation turned
out to be incorrect or at least not a clear violation of the county’s code.

Bunting faces incumbent
Worcester County Commissioner Linda Busick in the Republican primary on Sept.
14. The primary will essentially decide who holds the District 6 commissioner
seat, since there are no Democratic or third party candidates.

Murmurs in the
Bishopville community held recently that Bunting had sold his surveying
business, located at his home on a farm in Bishopville, and was allowing the
new owner to operate the business off his land, which is illegal under the
zoning law.

In order to keep his
health insurance after he retired, Bunting did not sell his actual business,
retaining legal ownership of Madison J. Bunting Surveyors, and it is still a
registered business.

Bunting holds a valid
home occupation permit for his business, county staff confirmed.

That permit requires all
workers in a business operated on agricultural land to live on the
owner-occupied property, except for a single employee.

Last December, Bunting
sold his surveying equipment and records to another surveyor, Greg Wilkins, and
allowed him to keep the equipment on his property until Wilkins’ new property
in West Ocean City is complete this fall. That is legal, county staff said.

Wilkins does not operate
any business off Bunting’s land, Bunting said.

“Nobody goes back there.
It’s just a place to keep equipment,” said Bunting.

There are no signs for
his own business, he pointed out, much less Wilkins’, and no customers coming
onto the property. In fact, Bunting said, he has never had customers on his
land, preferring to meet customers at their place of business.

Bunting alleged that
supporters of his opponent, Busick, who was unavailable for comment, are
engaging in political mudslinging.

“I knew that was going
to happen,” Bunting said.

Bunting said he would
not return the favor.

“I’ve run a very honest
campaign, and a clean campaign, and I’m not going to sling any mud,” Bunting
said.

 

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