IRMO, S.C. — The proposal for a new Irmo Downtown District has hit a snag.
Councilmembers are now backing away from the idea, after weeks of push back from residents who say it could leave them without a home.
On January 17, Rosetta Leaphart, an Irmo resident, joined others to speak against the plan before Town Council.
"We have grew up here from kids so we are not going to sell because you just can't jump up and leave what you have had all your life." Leaphart said.
Hotel, retail and office spaces were among the businesses proposed for the area near Irmo's Community Park.
According to Mayor Pro-Tem Bill Danielson, the proposal would only need about 12 parcels of land, including one or two homes, to be completed.
"That would've been a good location," Danielson said, "but as it turned out, the folks there didn't want it, and so we have to move on."
Brent Chitwood, a resident, worries the project could come back, after no formal vote was made to terminate its creation permanently.
"Because of the way this was handled," Chitwood said, "there's a lot of people like myself who don't necessarily trust what they've said."
At that January 17 meeting, Mayor Barry Walker brought forth a resolution to terminate the project, but no other council member would support it.
Danielson said, not formalizing its termination leaves the door open should property owners feel differently about the project in the future.
"It's also not our role to prohibit those property owners from coming to us if they've changed their minds and they might want to sell," Danielson said.
But, Mayor Walker, who has been an advocate for the district, said a termination vote is now the right move.
"They're saying it'll stop them from going in the future and going back to this," Walker said. "Well, that's what you don't want. If you're telling the people it's going to be a dead deal, then it's a done deal."
Of the 12 parcels, Danielson said, only one, which was about 1.8 acres, was sold to the town.
No other property owners agreed to sell.