Irmo council votes to annex property in Ballentine area - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Irmo council votes to annex property in Ballentine area

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Site of property proposed for annexation to Town of Irmo (Source: GoogleMaps) Site of property proposed for annexation to Town of Irmo (Source: GoogleMaps)

The Irmo City Council voted to annex several properties in the Ballentine area at its meeting Tuesday night.

Council Member Kathy Condom was the only dissenting vote.

"When we annexed WalMart, I remember promising that we would go no further unless the Ballentine community asked," Condom told WIS via e-mail. "They have not, but evidently, no one else remembers. The property owners involved asked, but the community did not."

Several residents attended the last city council meeting two weeks ago, where council voted approved the second reading. The property in question is four parcels on Bickley Road between Broad River Road and Dutch Fork Road, which is in Richland County.

"Be kind to us and don't vote for this," said a member of the Ballentine Civic Association who lives on Saratoga Road. "We'd like to keep our community as it is there in Richland County. It's important to us."

A woman who lives on Marina Road is concerned additional traffic from development of the property will pose a danger to nearby Ballentine Elementary School on Bickley Road.

"Are you willing to take on the accidents between the large trucks and the mothers who are dropping off their kids at school?" she asked.

"We cannot sustain the traffic we've got right now. Marina Road is full of patches. The people who drive down Marina Road don't live there and they go 50 to 60 miles-per-hour in a zone that's 45 and they go bumpity-bump."

"We are not going out looking to annex," Council Member Harvey Hoots said. "The property owners came to us asking us to annex."

Some council members said the current owner of the property wants to sell it, but cannot get the zoning changed in Richland County. Council members said if annexed, the Town will have better control over developing the property than the County.

"If Richland County had allowed zoning changes, the property owners wouldn't be coming to us," said Mayor Hardy King.

Richland County Council member Bill Malinowski claims no applications were submitted by the property owners to the county to change the zoning.

"People do come to me or go to Richland County Zoning Department with inquiries, but they did not in this instance," he said. 

"There should be a working relationship to safeguard against applicants playing the two jurisdictions against each other in order to get the best deal," Malinowski continued. "The two jurisdictions should have a consolidated plan regarding the growth and development of an area, rather than viewing one parcel at a time."

King said the owner of a neighboring boat dealership is looking to expand and would like to buy the property in question, if it can be divided and zoning can be changed.

"I don't think this is about money," King said when someone at the public hearing suggested the annexation would provide tax revenues for the town. "We don't make money off the property. We run our town off business licenses."

King suggested if the people in Ballentine want to control development in the area, they need to go to Richland County officials.

"The people in that area need to get a hold of their representation in that area," King said.

"We like to keep it small," said a Sandy Drive woman who inherited her property from her grandfather. "We want to keep it as rural as possible and preserve things for future generations."

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