Neighbors Speak Out About Home Rezoning Proposal

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By Crandall Sims

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- "I want neighbors next door, not a venue," said one neighbor during the Richland County Planning Commission meeting, Monday.

"We have people who walk in the street, children who play in the streets. People come through at high rates of speed, ignoring the law," said another neighbor.

Monday, residents near Elm-Abode Terrace spoke out about the proposed rezoning of a home in their neighborhood.

The home in question, owned by Charles and Valerie Aiken, reportedly sat vacant for 14 years until the Aikens bought it and restored it.

Since then, the couple has decided to share the home with the community and would like to have it rezoned for commercial use as an event venue.

Neighbors spoke out against this Monday because of alleged traffic and noise issues.

Charles Aiken says the couple likes to use the home to help non-profit organizations like local churches. He also says they have, in the past, hosted small weddings at the home.

In the past, Aiken says, they have also hosted parties but then realized that wasn't a good plan and decided not to do so in the future.

Not all of the Aikens' neighbors are against the idea.

"Other than what they are doing right now, there is no other answer for that house, and it has significant value," said one man.

For now though, it appears rezoning the property may be a challenge. The Richland County Planning Commission, a recommending body to county council, voted 4-2 Monday in favor of recommending council not to pass the rezoning proposal.

Council is expected to take up the matter on July 22nd.

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