By Al Dozier

The Irmo Town Council plans to call a public workshop to address numerous complaints about criminal activity in neighborhoods near the Harbsion Gardens Apartment complex.

At Tuesday’s council meeting Mayor Barry Walker Sr. called for the workshop after hearing several complaints about shootings, break-ins and thefts that appear to be originating in or near the affordable housing complex.

Benjie Friday, a resident of the nearby Beacon Hill neighborhood, said in a letter to Irmo Councilman Bill Danielson that incidents near her home included glass doors broken by gunshots, windows broken by rocks being thrown, cars vandalized and mail stolen.

She said she has made a 911 call about shootings “while cowering on the floor beside my bed.”

Danielson said he met with her to discuss the problems and was joined by Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook, who agreed to seek solutions.

“We had a very good dialogue,” he said.

 Irmo Police Chie Don Perry is also aware of the issues.

Some solutions that have been discussed include limiting access areas to the apartment complex. Owners of the property are being contacted about the problems.

Residents say one of the problems is determining which law enforcement to call in an area under the jurisdiction of Columba, Richland County, Lexington County and Irmo.

During the council meeting the council meeting received calls from residents who confirmed the problems.

Walker said law enforcement officers and residents of the area will be notified and invited to attend the workshop, which has not yet been scheduled.

In other action the council approved first reading of a measure to modify the Irmo code to allow the council to remove any appointed board or commission member for any reason by a majority vote.

A proposal that would allow residents to have as many as four chickens in their backyard failed to pass on first reading, as council members reported strong opposition from local residents. The issue was voted down in a 2017 referendum questions.

The council approved a measure to solicit bids for human resources consultation to provide the town with professional performance review procedures.