IRMO, S.C. — A small Lake Murray neighborhood is upset after a home on their street announced its plans to become a wedding venue.
“I never thought in a million years that I would be having to battle a commercial venue within 100 ft of a residential home," Sid Mullins, a homeowner in the Laguna Vista community told News19.
The house was bought out of foreclosure at the end of a quiet street on the Richland County side of the lake.
“This is an area that’s zoned residential and not zoned for this type of commercial use," Eric Bland is a Columbia lawyer representing the homeowners of the Laguna Vista neighborhood who officially filed a lawsuit against Dontrelle Inman and Lake Murray Manor Tuesday. Representative Dick Harpootlian is acting as co-council on this case, pro-bono.
“The owner of the home, Mr. Inman, has not applied for zoning variation, he has not applied for a business license, there’s no construction permit, there’s no studies of the impact of traffic that’s been done," Bland told News19, "And, the easement, which provides him the right to go through this neighborhood to get to his house, is for residential purposes only.”
What perturbs the neighbors as well, is when the home was purchased, they were told it was going to be a "summer home."
"We were very excited to have a new neighbor," Mullins tells us after Inman purchased the home, "unfortunately a few months later there was a little bit of verbiage coming out that he perhaps might be interested in turning it into a wedding venue," Mullins continues, "and then as a neighborhood, we started to notice a lot more traffic, a lot more items that look like it was going to be a commercial venture."
Mullins says one day they stumbled upon a Facebook Page titled 'Lake Murray Manor' listing it as a wedding venue. Mullins says, "we all thought to ourselves 'that's not what we've been told and not what we signed up for.'"
Many of the neighbors have young children and fear that the increased traffic and the thought of hundreds of people gathering down the street will put their safety at risk.
"This is a small, tight-knit community, lots of families with young children, we like to keep it quiet, we enjoy our peace back here," Mullins says, "the last thing we want is a commercial venue coming into a place that we never dreamed of that occurring."
The neighborhood has a boat ramp and swimming area designated to those who live in the community that fall on each side of the proposed venue.
“Imagine this-" Mullins says, "we enjoy the lake, we enjoy our friends, we enjoy our neighborhood- we’re trying to launch a boat, you’ve got 750 people at a wedding in the way, making all kinds of noise, weddings are loud, weddings are fun, there’s alcohol involved… and then we’re trying to swim on the other side of our easement which we would love to enjoy, as a family and as a community. But there’s not possible way that could happen with that amount of obstruction, noise, and the idea that they’re going to be doing these things at night- we’ve got many small children here- that’s going to mess up the sleep patterns and family cycles that we’ve come to love and know.”
Mullins says not only is their safety a concern, their property value will plumet if this goes through, "In event that it does become a wedding venue, I think that everybody in this neighborhood would automatically begin thinking about moving. We would have absolutely no choice to subject ourselves to that."
We contacted Richland County Development Services who said no rezoning application has been applied for as of Wednesday.
We also spoke with Richland County about a business license for Lake Murray Manor- they told us there is no business license or application.
We have asked Lake Murray Manor to discuss their plans for the property. So far they have declined to speak with WLTX.