Irmo Town Council just rezoned approx. 40 acres near Walmart on Salem Church Rd beside railroad tracks from Agricultural to Planned Development District (PDD) for a Housing Project.
During the rezoning hearing February 21st, several dozen residents strongly opposed citing extremely dangerous traffic conditions on this narrow winding road without traffic lights. Two years ago, SCDOT traffic studies recommended a traffic light at an adjacent Farming Creek Rd intersection which has made the Salem Church & Hwy 6 intersection very tricky. Mayor Hardy himself agreed this specific area is overburdened and dangerous. He admitted no new traffic studies had been requested and the town would be wasting time to wait on SCDOT for improvements. Despite unanimous agreement this area is treacherously traveled, Mayor Hardy proclaimed the statement “The town of Irmo is either growing or dying” and the vote to rezone was approved 4-1.
Improper growth is unhealthy. Damaging growth like Cancer typically leads to a slow painful decline unless promptly treated. A Housing Project on this narrow road without traffic lights will exacerbate current traffic safety concerns and is an irresponsible plan. It puts the safety of our citizens at risk. Furthermore, a cheap Housing Project will exert downward pressures on surrounding Irmo property values.
In my professional opinion as a Real Estate Appraiser & Broker, Irmo has better options. The highest & best use of the rezoned land is neighborhood commercial which would generate more tax revenue for the town & better preserve existing residential values. Instead, for some reason, Council was convinced by someone this Housing Project is needed even though better alternative sites are available with existing supporting infrastructures for responsible & healthy residential growth.
Irmo Town Council’s decision for this cancerous growth is not in our community best interests and has questionable motives. Richland County’s impetuous growth sprawl from the broad river bridge continues its decades long steady march west through St Andrews and now consuming Irmo with its lack of master planning and misguided leadership.
John Mitchell is a Certified General Appraiser & Broker in Charge with 30 years of Residential & Commercial experience. John can be reached at [email protected].
PO Box 316, Ballentine, SC 29002