Irmo zoning change sparks complaints

By Al Dozier

Plans for a commercial development on a 30-acre site at Dreher Shoals Road and Farming Creek Road stalled Tuesday after several residents voiced concerns at the Irmo Town Council meeting about the impact on nearby residential communities.

An ordinance that would change zoning for the area from fringe agricultural to commercial failed to get a final reading after the council decided to defer the action until the town receives a new “tax map” from Richland County with details on the site.

By obtaining a map, the council would focus on a 9-acre tract sought for development, not the full 30 acres. Councilman Bill Danielson said that would assure local residents that the full 30-acre tract would not be designated for office-commercial. All remaining parcels outside the 9-acre tract would remain Fringe Agricultural, a designation for rural development.

But opposition could continue.

Traffic is a problem in the area, residents said, and the town does not have a development plan for future growth.

“What draws people to Irmo is elbow room,” said Lisa Jurgensen. She expressed concern that there have been no studies on controlling future growth.

Another resident said she is unable to make a right turn out of her neighborhood between 7 and 9 a.m. and 5 and 6 p.m. She also pointed out that Irmo already has vacant business locations to accommodate future growth.

“Growth is not being fully planned,” said Les Tweed.

The commercial site that would be used for a storage business. Storage bins would be made available at the site for businesses and residents of the area. The site would also have some limited retail development.

The council gave final reading approval to a zoning classification of General Commercial to a recently annexed property at 1191 Dutch Fork Road. The property is surrounded by commercial properties.

In other action, the council approved a resolution to apply for a hometown economic development grant in the amount of $25,000 with a 15 percent loan match ($3,750) to be used to purchase signage, landscaping and other items to enhance the town’s streets and roads.

The council approved a contract with Custom Audio in the amount of $11,250 to provide sound, production and lighting at the Okra Strut Festival.

The council also approved the following Accommodations Tax Fund awards: $11,988, Lake Murray Country; $13,050, Irmo International Festival; $10,000 Irmo Okra Strut Festival; $5,000, Greater Irmo Chamber of Commerce.

The council gave first reading approval to an updated ordinance on the town’s bike rack requirements at commercial sites. The new ordinance clarifies the language in the ordinance.

The council also updated town regulations authorizing designated municipal officials to conduct banking business.

The council gave first reading approval to an ordinance that would create a board to hear appeals of building codes in accordance with the International Building Code.

The council approved the adoption of the All-Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan established by the Central Midlands Council of Governments. The plan addresses natural disaster needs during times of emergency.

During the special recognition period, the council recognized Studio 3P as the September 2022 Small Business of the Month.

Two Irmo police officers, Corporal Charles Black and Patrolman Vincent Silano, were also recognized with Life Saving Awards for their assistance with a victim suffering from bleeding wounds who would likely have died if they had not provided a tourniquet.

Two Irmo residents were also recognized for noticing a fire at a local residence and quickly stopped it from spreading.

Sean Madden was recognized as Artist of the Month.

The council was advised of a School Board Forum planned for two candidates for the District 5 School Board on Oct. 3 and Oct. 11.

The council was informed that a final design for the new skate park at Rawls Creek Park has not been completed. Fundraising efforts are still underway for the park.

The council also received an update on plans for a new Arts and Music Fallfest scheduled for Oct. 15. The council was asked to help provide funds for security, sanitation and staffing at a cost estimated at $5,000.

New in-town businesses recognized were: Classics Barbershop, 7949 Broad River Road; Achieve Behavioral Health SC, 108 Park Drive; Zen Skin, LLC, 7001 St. Andrews Road; The Pink Broom, 7821 St. Andrews Road; Abundant Grace, LLC, 107 N. Royal Tower Drive: Wright’s /Trucking, LLC, 104 Whitby Court.