Irmo Council hears more dissent

By Al Dozier

The outrage over a now-abandoned plan to acquire property around Mosely Avenue to create a new business district in Irmo surfaced again at Tuesday’s council meeting.

A resolution on the council agenda that actually called for suspension of any land acquisition activities on Mosely Avenue near the Irmo Community Park prompted protests from some residents who said the matter should no longer be up for discussion at council meetings.

“Why is it still coming up?” asked resident William Bowman. “Why isn’t it dead?”

Another resident reiterated concerns the town was attempting to force residents to give up long-held residential property.

“Don’t take my property,” said resident Marion Boyd.

If the town wants a Main Street it already has one on Lake Murray Boulevard and St. Andrews Road, he said.

But Mayor Barry Walker Sr. said the resolution will not hurt anyone, but rather assure residents the land acquisition would not happen in the future. He said the resolution would take away an ordinance that was originally enacted to enable the town to proceed with property acquisitions

Councilman Erick Sickinger described the resolution as a ceremonial action that reflects the town’s move to discontinue with the project.

“It’s dead,” he said of the former project.

Sickinger also pointed out that it was never council’s intent to force people to sell their property.

The resolution was unanimously approved.

In other action the council held off on approving a contract to restripe roads, expressing concerns that contract information and details about the scope of the project were not made available to council.

The contract for $15,500 was negotiated with Parking Lot King. The council is expected to reconsider the proposal after receiving additional information.

The council approved the submission to the Hometown Economic Development Grant Application for a $25,000 grant that would provide new sign signals around the town. The grant would require a 15 percent match.

The council also approved the following awards from Accommodations Tax Funds, as recommended by the Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee: $21,549.99 to Capital City/Lake Murray; $15,000 the to the Greater Irmo Chamber of Commerce; $10,000 to the Irmo Future Growth Corp.; $10,000 to the Irmo International Festival; $10,000 to the Irmo Okra Strut.

Mayor Walker voted against the measure after expressing concerns that the Irmo Future Growth Corp. has $37,000 that has not been accounted for. Other council members said the council should support the recommendations made by the tax advisory committee.

The council approved a contract with Corley Lawn & Construction LLC for $150,780 to make improvements to the Irmo Community Park. The improvements include sealing, striping, flatwork, carpentry, painting and earthwork.

After hearing a report from a technician who reviewed the project, the council gave final reading approval to an ordinance that permits the use of small wireless facilities throughout the town. There were some original concerns such devices could interfere with other electronic communications devices, but the technician did not foresee any problems.

The council also gave second and final reading to an ordinance updating the town’s building codes to keep them in compliance with the state Department of Labor’s licensing requirements.

The council approved on first reading an ordinance that will provide buffer requirements, tree replacement and landscaping in new developments.

Cassell Brother’s Home Services was recognized as the Small Business of the Month for September.

New in-town businesses recognized during the meeting included: Hurricane Express Wash, 7719 Broad River Road; Bart’s Crazy Good Coffee Shop of Irmo, 7949 Broad River Road; Bronzed Bombshell Beauty Bar, 10071 Broad River Road; EssentiallyYou Esthetics, LLC., 10071 Broad River Road; Foxology Beauty Bar, LLC, 10071 Broad River Road; Tincyborg, 506 North Royal Tower Drive.

During the Community Connections presentation, Councilman Barbara Waldman informed the council about a free paper shredding event September 23 on Friarsgate Boulevard.

She also reminded the council of the up-coming Okra Strut September 29-30. Volunteers are still needed.

The School Showcase presentation featured Dr. Kaaren Hampton, Principal of the Irmo High School International School of the Arts. She outlined a multitude of programs now offered at the school, which now has 90 staff and faculty members. The school will soon add a new wing to accommodate a growing program.