By Al Dozier


The Irmo Town Council Tuesday gave final reading approval to a zoning change that will clear the way for a large number of new homes along Salem Church Road.

The rezoning would change an area now designated for Fringe Agriculture and General Commercial to Planned Development District. The change, which has been approved by the town’s zoning board, has been requested so a developer could build new homes along both sides of Salem Church Road.

But area residents said it would create a traffic nightmare for an area already plagued by traffic problems.

Councilman Mark Pouliot cast the only opposing vote for the change. He said road improvements are needed before the town permits new housing that will bring more traffic.

Mayor Hardy King said any traffic problems would have to be addressed by the state Department of Transportation. He said the town should welcome new neighborhoods that will spark new growth and bring more young people into the town.

A representative of developer AJ Holdings said the community could expect single-family homes, 1,600 to 3,000-square-feet. None would be low-income housing, and the area would not include patio homes.

In other action the council voted against a proposal to spend $13,500 on a beautification project along Woodrow Street and St. Andrews Road after questions were raised about how the town could keep new plantings watered.

The council gave second reading approval to an amended ordinance that would include commercial sites in new provisions on nuisances and unsightly properties that currently only apply to residential properties. The council also approved an amendment that requires any enclosure fencing that would hide unsightly property be properly installed.

The council also gave final reading to a new measure recommended by the Municipal Association that would result in any failure by an attending council member to vote on a matter to automatically become a “yes” vote.

The council heard a request from Irmo property owner Ron Dula to allow him to proceed with improvements on his business property, which are currently restrained by zoning requirements for additional parking spaces. The council agreed to help him address the problem, possibly with an amended zoning ordinance.

The council agreed to reappoint George Glassmeyer to the  town’s Zoning Board of Adjustment.