Richland County Land Development

While I’m always here to help (and this week alone have been involved fixing multiple “county issues”) our local Richland County Councilman is the first point of contact for any county issues – particularly zoning and development. As your State Representative, I have no vote on those matters. However, I did want to share this article with you that I ran across this week. I’m certain many of you are interested and can provide great input as the county seeks to update their standards.

New Land Development Manual Aims to Better Protect Water, Road QualityWednesday, June 27, 2018

Richland County is seeking input on a new set of guidelines aimed at limiting the negative effects construction projects may have on the surrounding environment.

The “Land Development Manual” establishes minimum standards for engineers, developers, plan reviewers, inspectors, contractors and other parties to abide by during the planning, designing and construction of land development and redevelopment projects in Richland County. The manual specifically targets stormwater issues and puts measures in place to ensure privately built roads meet S.C. Department of Transportation standards.

“Richland County development standards have not been significantly updated since 2001,” said Tracy Hegler, Richland County Director of Community Planning & Development. “We are requesting and encouraging input from every resident, developer, design professional and special interest group within the County.”

The Land Development Manual has four main objectives:

*Reduce how stormwater affects the water quality of nearby waterways (Stormwater is untreated water that enters storm drains and flows directly into nearby creeks, streams, rivers, lakes, ponds or dams. Pollutants that enter storm drains can negatively affect the animals and plants that rely on those waterways, and debris that enters storm drains can contribute in localized flooding.)
*Protect areas downstream of a construction project from adverse stormwater impacts
*Accept into the County’s road maintenance inventory roads built to specific standards
*Explain all County procedures associated with land development or redevelopment regulations

Residents are asked to review a working draft of the Land Development Manual online at and submit feedback about the draft document by contacting Engineering Associate and Plan Reviewer Kathleen Hatchell at or 803-576-2383.

The deadline to submit comments is 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30.

Residents can view a hardcopy of the manual at Richland County Development Services on the first floor of the County Administration Building, 2020 Hampton St., Columbia.

Tax Free Weekend – August 3rd – 5th

Official list from SC Department of Revenue – click here

From The State

With back to school just around the corner, South Carolina is rolling out once again its tax-free weekend.

Each year at 12:01 a.m. on the first Friday of August, the state waives its 6 percent sales tax on a wide range of selected items.

There have been no major changes this year, according to S.C. Department of Revenue spokeswoman Bonnie Swingle. No new items on the list. No items taken off.

Last year, tax-free weekend shoppers saved $2.2 million buying everything from ink pens to computers. And those savings extended to online purchases as well.

Here’s the list of items that are tax free this weekend:

Adult diapers

Aerobic clothing

Antique clothing


Athletic or sport uniforms or clothing (but not equipment such as mitts, helmets and pads)

Baby bibs

Baby clothes

Baby diapers, cloth or disposable

Baby shoes



Bath mats

Bath rugs

Bath towels (all sizes, including beach towels)

Bath washcloths

Bathing caps

Bathing suits

Bathing trunks

Beach capes and coats

Bed comforters and bed comforter sets

Bed duvets and covers

Bed linens, including baby bumper pads, canopies, baby crib padding, bed skirts, box spring covers, dust ruffles, mattress pads, mattress toppers, pillow covers and shams.

Bed pillowcases

Bed pillows (e.g. baby pillows, body pillows, husband pillows, throw pillows)

Bedsheets and bedsheet sets


Belt buckles


Blankets such as afghan, baby, electric and throw blankets


Bobby pins


Boots, including climbing, hiking, riding, ski, waders, fishing, cowboy

Bow ties


Bridal gowns and veils (must be sold; rentals are taxable)

Capri pants


Coats, capes and wraps

Computer hardware service contracts sold in conjunction with computers

Computer software

Computer software service contracts sold in conjunction with computer software

Computer software service contracts when the true object of the contract is to obtain computer software updates during the contract period

Computers: see end of post ***

Corset laces


Costumes (must be sold; rentals are taxable)


Daily planners or organizers when used by school children as a school supply

Dress shields



Elastic ponytail holders

Fishing boots

Formal clothing (must be sold; rentals are taxable)



Garters/garter belts


Gloves, including those for batting, bicycle, dress, garden, golf, ski, tennis


Graduation caps and gowns (must be sold; rentals are taxable)

Gym suits

Hair bows

Hair clips

Hand muffs






Hunting vests

Ice skates (rentals are taxable)

In-line skates (rentals are taxable)



Jogging suits


Leg warmers

Leotards and tights









Personal Digital Assistants or PDAs (PDAs are handheld computers used as daily planners. Please note that the exemption does not apply to cellphones with a PDA, computer applications or similar components.)


Pillows (all types)


Printer supplies

(Note: replaceable ink cartridges used in printers are exempt from tax as “printer supplies.”

Printers, but replacement parts are taxable)

Prom dress (must be sold; rentals are taxable)



Rain wear

Riding pants


Roller skates, provided the skates are permanently attached to the boots.



School supplies, including, but not limited to, pens, pencils, paper, binders, notebooks, books, blue books, book bags, lunchboxes, musical instruments (but only if the musical instrument is used in the classroom or at home in relation to school assignments).

Note: Items such as refrigerators, toiletries, bicycles and food purchased by college students are not school supplies and not exempt from the tax.

School uniforms

Scout uniforms

Shawls and wraps


Shoes, including ballet, baseball, bicycle, boat, boots, bowling (taxed if rented), cleated, cross trainers, flip-flops, football, golf, jazz/dance, soccer, track, in-line skates, ice skates, running, etc.) (rentals are taxable)


Shoulder pads for dresses, jackets, etc. (but not athletic or sport protective pads)

Shower curtains and liners (shower curtain hooks and rings and shower curtain rods are taxable)

Ski boots (snow) (rentals are taxable)

Ski masks

Ski suits (snow)

Skin diving suits







Sport clothing and uniforms, but not equipment such as mitts, helmets and pads.

Sport jacket



Support hosiery




Sweat suits





Towels of all types and sizes, including bath, beach, kitchen and sport towels. Paper towels are taxable.


Tuxedo (must be sold; rentals are taxable)




Wet and dry suits


(The following are examples of devices that are not considered computers for purposes of the sales-tax holiday exemption: cellphones, smartphones or any other handheld devices that allow users to make telephone calls; handheld devices that are primarily used to download and listen to music; handheld devices that are primarily used to download and watch videos; and devices that are primarily used to download and read books (e-books).

However, portable devices that have computing and media functions, allow users to access the internet and have a multitude of software applications (or the capability to download a multitude of software applications) are considered computers for purposes of the sales-tax holiday exemption, provided such devices do not allow users to make telephone calls.

Note: The sale of a computer monitor, keyboard or scanner by itself would not be exempt during the sales-tax holiday. If a monitor, keyboard or scanner is purchased as part of a package that included the computer processing unit, then that is one transaction to purchase a computer and the sale of the packaged unit (CPU, monitor, keyboard, scanner) is exempt. The sale of a digital music player, digital camera, cellphone or a smartphone, whether or not purchased in conjunction with a computer processing unit (CPU), is not exempt during the sales tax holiday.

You write the law….

It’s August, and while the SC General Assembly isn’t in session, each of us continues to work at our “part-time job”. I could argue it’s actually an “all-the-time job” but I love what I do, so I’m not complaining.

Good representatives stay in touch with their constituents year-round (not just at election time) and it’s often the feedback during these times that help us craft legislation to improve our state. Whether it be education, healthcare, energy, law enforcement, or other areas important to our quality of life; there are many of you out there with the experience and expertise to provide solutions to real problems we face every day.

Consider this a challenge to reach out to me (or your House Rep / Senator ) and share your idea and solution. While I won’t be able to lead on every issue, I can share with colleagues and hopefully you may one day see your idea become a solution that helps others!

You can email me at or contact me here! Please provide a phone number that I can use or give to staff to follow up in the coming weeks.

Thank you in advance.

National Night Out – August 7th

From the Irmo Chamber website:

August 7th
6pm to 9pm

National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.

The Irmo Police Department is excited to be a part of this campaign, which takes place on Tuesday, August 7, 2018. This will be the third year this event has been hosted at Irmo Community Park, located at 7507 Eastview Drive.

Last year a successful National Night Out event was held at Irmo Community Park with a couple of hundred people in attendance. This year the event will be stepped up to include social media coverage and using the Irmo News weeks in advance to get the information out to the community. There will be music and dancing for the adults and children, and toys for the kids.

One huge obstacle is a lack of sufficient resources and funds to make this event as special and successful as possible. We currently are reaching out to local businesses to partner with us to make this event one to remember. Specifically, we are looking for assistance gathering items for this event.

Please contact Sgt. Bobby Dale at the Irmo PD to partcipate! (

Irmo Okra Strut – September 28th & 29th

We are excited to announce the Irmo Okra Strut is coming back for it’s 45th year!

This festival has been a southern favorite for 45 years. What started as a way for the Lake Murray-Irmo Woman’s Club to raise money for a new library, has turned in to a spectacular event to end each summer. With beautiful Lake Murray and the Riverbanks Zoo near by, the Okra Strut Festival is the perfect addition to your end of summer vacation in wonderful Columbia, South Carolina.

Find out more about the strut today . Hope to see you there!

New website for Ballentine Civic Association

The Ballentine Civic Association was formed to help build and support the Ballentine Community. We work hard to keep our community members informed and aware of all events, changes and updates that are happening in our area. We partner with local businesses to help grow and build their services. Our partners are what make our community great and strive to keep those connections strong. To become a part of this great community head over to our Join Us page and fill out the membership form.

Here it is: Ballentine Civic!

13th Annual Irmo Community Prayer Breakfast

Can’t believe it’s been 13 years! Reserve your FREE seat today by contacting Desiree Watson via email in photo.

Chip and I refer to this event as the “unofficial kickoff to the Irmo Okra Strut!” What started years ago at Riverland Hills Baptist is now back again at the same location!

This event is FREE to attend thanks to the support of our sponsors (who reserve tables) every year! We’re always looking for more sponsors. You’d be surprised how inexpensive it is to support this event and our community!

For information/videos/programs/speakers of past breakfasts, click here .

SPECIAL ELECTION: Senate District 20, VOTE August 14th

We’re fortunate to have 2 members of the Chapin/Irmo community offer themselves for his very important seat in the South Carolina Senate!

I would love to work with either of them next year! Let’s be sure we show up so our next Senator will be from our community! It’s been more than 30 years we haven’t had a Senator from “these parts”

Chapin’s Christian Stegmaier (bottom) and Irmo’s Benjamin Dunn (top) are two of four candidates in the Republican Primary for Senate District 20. There are three candidates in the Democratic Primary. No matter your party; please be sure to take time to vote on August 14th! THERE WILL BE NO LINES!!!

Chapin Labor Day Festival: September 1st – 3rd

No better way to pick your spirits up after summer winding down than with the Chapin Labor Day Festival!

LOTS of activities for all ages. Hope to see you there!

Click here to see all the details!

Learn more about District 5 safety measures

I know we’re barely into summer; but the school year will start again soon. I thought it would be good to share this from the District’s webpage


School District Five of Lexington & Richland Counties is committed to the safety of its students and staff. Through proactive measures and coordination with local law enforcement, the district aims to prevent or minimize the effects of emergencies or serious violent incidents and to facilitate seamless coordination with police in the event of emergencies in our schools.

Many parts of the district’s plan are confidential to protect the integrity of school safety plans. However, we wanted to share a few measures that demonstrate the high priority we place on the safety of our schools. Our keys to school safety include:

Through the leadership of our school board and our partnership with local law enforcement, School District Five has at least one full-time School Resource Officer in each school. Our Superintendent’s Emergency Responders Advisory group meets with district leaders to provide information and input regarding school safety.

School District Five conducts more than 360 drills with schools each year. These drills help ensure students and staff are prepared to quickly make their way to safety in the event of an emergency.

In addition to SROs, School District Five has full-time Safety Officers who work with law enforcement on confidential school-level safety plans. They also lead ongoing drills and training for students and staff.

The district works with law enforcement to communicate pertinent information when appropriate. School messages are coordinated through the district, and updates are provided as information becomes available.

The district’s Safety Officers provide training for school staff and conduct several drills with students and staff, including drills for shelter-in-place, fire and lockout situations.

It takes an entire community to keep our schools safe. Please visit our website at for more information. Though we can’t share specific information about our emergency plans or safety measures, the information here will help prepare parents in the event of an emergency.

The Department of Homeland Security also has information about awareness. Visit the following link for information on the agency’s “If You See Something, Say Something” materials:

If you have specific concerns or questions about a school or suggestions for improvement, please reach out to your school principal or the district’s Office of Planning and Administration at 476-8121.