Council rejects annexation proposal

By Al Dozier

The Irmo Town Council Tuesday rejected an annexation proposal for a 13-acre tract of land on Rocky Creek Trail that would have been used as an entertainment venue.

The town’s planning commission recommended approval of the annexation with a zoning designation of fringe agricultural, but the council voted it down after an outpouring of complaints that an entertainment area was not suitable for an area made up of residential neighborhoods.

Several residents of the area sounded off about problems that would arise with noise, lights and more traffic, creating safety concerns in a quiet residential area.

“It’s the wrong thing at the wrong time,” said resident David Turbeville.

A barn that would be used as an entertainment venue is located in a flood plain and is surrounded by residential neighborhoods, resident Jim Reagan said.

“I don’t want it in my backyard,” said another local resident, Chris Schroeder.

Supporters of the annexation said one of the purposes of the venue was to promote a youthful ministry and church activities. The site could be used for weddings.

The council considered modifications, such as removing an agreement that allowed business operations after 8 p.m. and changing the zoning designation to residential. But they finally agreed on Councilman Bill Danielson’s recommendation to simply reject the annexation.

“The bottom line is they stay in Lexington County,” Danielson said.

Mayor Barry Walker was the only member of the council who favored the annexation.

He said it’s all about growth.

“I’m about building our town,” he said.

At the end of the meeting several residents extended their thanks to council members for stopping the annexation.\

In other action the council gave first reading to an amendment to the town’s ordinance on unsanitary conditions that would provide clarity to some of the wordage. The amendment would remove the word “leaves” as an example of unsanitary conditions.

The council approved an intergovernmental agreement and adoption of the Richland County Animal Care Ordinance. It’s a continuation of an agreement with Richland County to provide various animal care programs in the Irmo area.

A proposal to award $200,000 in ARPA funds to the Universal Community Improvement Organization did not get council approval. The town has already contributed $100,000 but decided not to award another $200,000 requested by the organization.

The council approved setting a deadline of April 30, 2023 for non-profits to access grant funding from the 2022 COVID-19 grant program.

The council gave final reading approval to an amendment to the town’s zoning and land development ordinance that; will change he language under conditional uses to include multifamily.

The council gave first reading approval to an ordinance adopting a local revenue service agreement with the Municipal Association of South Carolina. The agreement allows MASC to collect revenue on behalf of the town for franchise fees, broker fees and insurance fees.

In other action the council recognized Pathways Massage Therapy as the March 2023 Small Business of the Month.

The Irmo High School Men’s Varsity basketball team was officially recognized for winning the 4A statewide championship game.

The council gave a special recognition to former Irmo Councilman, Terry Hughey, who recently passed away. Hughey was an active volunteer in the Irmo area.

Mayor Barry Walker presented a proclamation recognizing March 26 as Cherry Blossom Day in Irmo.

The council accepted a presentation from DHEC of a Smokefree Palmetto State Certification, recognizing the town’s smoke-free regulations.

In the School Showcase, a presentation was made by Principal Karey Fisher and Magnet Lead Lisa Brooks from Nursery Road Elementary on the schools Arts Magnet program.

Upcoming community events recognized during the council meeting were: The Addams Family Musical, March 23-25; Irmo Cherry Blossom Festival March 25, Irmo Park; Luzianna Purchase Crawfish Boil, April 1; Spring Plant Sale, School District 5 April 13; Peep-a-Paloosza, Irmo Church of God, Broad River Road, March 32; Irmo’s Got Talent, April 8, Irmo Community Park; Irmo International Festival, April 30, Irmo Community Park; Community Earth Day Celebration, April 15, McGregor Presbyterian Church.

New in-town businesses recognized during the meeting are: Advance Automation Consulting, LLC. 7891 Broad River Road; Cigars-R-Us, 1131 Dutch Fork Road; Modern Custom Landscapes, 10020 Broad River Road; La Fe Solutions, LLC. 7801 St. Andrews Road; Mod Wash, 102 Harban Court; Serenity Nail & Spa, 10071 Broad River Road; Small Packages, LLC. 750 Western Lane; TJ McKay Entertainment LLC 1180 Columbia Ave.; Tom’s Lawn Care, 1231 Columbia Ave.; Unified Family Health Care Center LLC., 1032 Kinley Road.