Former Irmo town attorney, Jake Moore stated that the current options to resolve an ongoing parking issue were to do nothing or hit the affected citizens with a baseball bat. The council, in an all too familiar 3-2 vote, decided at the end of a marathon 4+ hour meeting, that the baseball bat approach was the best way to handle a complicated parking issue. Councilmen Waites and Pouliot voting with the mayor to pass the parking ordinance. Councilman Walker and Councilwoman Condom voted against.
Moore, speaking on the parking issue at Tuesday’s public hearing suggested that there was not any one solution to the parking issues confronting the town, but that there were possible solutions (plural) that might be considered as a multi-faceted response to the dilemma. Possible solutions offered were using some town-owned property to create parking areas, buying dilapidated property in the areas affected and creating parking places, as well as the town partially subsidizing parking pads on properties to offset the costs of installation.
The prevailing thought by the majority on council is that something has to be done now in order to preserve property values and look at possible amendments to the ordinance at some future date.
Most of the town citizens speaking against the ordinance believe that this was an issue of property rights and government overreach. Some speakers presented data showing that property values were not affected by yard parking.
Council, however, appeared from the outset to have already decided the issue and went through the motions as required by law to implement parking restrictions, that limit what a person does on his own property.
One person responded on a FaceBook page post, “Many aspects of the meeting and attitudes of those on the dais were downright chilling to those of us who grew up knowing freedom and the wonders of Americanism. So much of what we learned in civics class a half century ago went up in smoke in three hours.”
Councilman Pouliot doubled down on his remarks from a previous meeting on parking last year when he referred to parts of Irmo as slummy. This time he inferred that some Irmo residents were “rednecks” by citing the old Jeff Foxworthy joke line, You might be a…. if. He then proceeded to launch into an emotional tirade because he lost $10k on a bad real estate venture up north. His entire outburst can be seen here starting at around the 2:53: 50-minute mark. Most in the audience would agree with Councilman Pouliot on one issue, when he said, “I’m not a politician.”
Councilman Waites gave a long and winding dissertation, peppered with his personal experiences of having lived in Shandon and other places, on the reasons government can and should dictate behavior by citizens when high-density housing is experienced. Waites also tried to define the origins of the term “Redneck” as the sunburn on farmers necks as they toiled in the fields, apparently, this was to give Pouliot some cover from the general derogatory meaning of the word used chiefly to describe a rural poor white person of the Southern United States.
I suppose we should be grateful that Mr. Pouliot is willing to share his vast knowledge and experience garnered from many years in northern climes with us, the ignorant, unwashed derelicts of the South. This is, after all, an effort to help us avoid declining property values.
Remember, “We’re from the government and we’re here to help you!”