Southern Homes offered a new plan for a residential development in Irmo’s Palmetto Woods Parkway area, but opposition from nearby neighbors continued at a public meeting Thursday.
An earlier plan to construct 74 townhomes failed to win approval from Irmo Town Council. The new plan would drop the number of homes to 66. They would be detached, patio-style homes instead of townhomes.
Town officials say approval for the new proposal remains uncertain, but the council has already given first-reading approval to the zoning classification of single-family residential. Second reading is expected to come up at the next council meeting scheduled for March 15.
Irmo Councilman Bill Danielson said he anticipates approval of the zoning request, but won’t be casting a vote. He said he has recused himself from the vote because he received campaign contributions from Southern Homes.
He said the issue before council is the appropriateness of the zoning, not the multiple issues that arose during the presentation.
Irmo Town Administrator Courtney Dennis had a similar view when asked about the next steps for the plan.
He said the various concerns raised by citizens at Thursday’s meeting could be addressed through zoning regulations, building codes and other guidelines followed by the town of Irmo. The council’s pending action on the zoning classification is just “the first step” in addressing the plans, Dennis said.
The new homes would be approximately 1,636 square feet and include a closed garage on a small lot with landscape buffers.
And they would be pricey. Estimated costs per unit range from $250,000 to $275,000.
As Southern Homes CEO Mike Satterfield made his pitch on the project before around 50 citizens at Irmo’s Municipal Building, he heard a lot of gripes: It will be a “bottleneck” for traffic; homes are still two stories; no bricks in the structure; there’s just one exit; residents will be street parking.
The new development arises next to neighborhoods with elderly residents, said one citizen:
“Change is hard for old people.”
Southern Homes officials responded that the residential plan would have much less an impact on the community than what could come later. Zoning for commercial development instead of residential would produce much larger traffic problems.
At the beginning of the meeting, Satterfield spoke about the long-time relationship between Southern Homes and the Irmo community, where his business is headquartered.
Southern Homes has developed several residential neighborhoods in the Irmo community during the past several years. Satterfield said that during his career the company has built more than 16,000 homes.
He was well aware that new neighborhoods worry people.
“You all probably don’t want us here,” Satterfield said. “But ideally, it will be something that works for the town, works for us and for you.”
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