Fort Mill Town Councilman Ken Starnes said he will be living full-time inside the town limits again by the end of this month, even if the apartment he has signed a lease on isn't ready.
Five members of the Fort Mill Town Council voted 3-2 not to ask him to step down during a workshop meeting held Saturday, May 17. Councilman Waddell Gibson was not at that meeting.
The vote on Starnes' residency comes not long after the departure of Councilwoman Guynn Savage, who stepped down after she announced she was moving permanently out of her Ward 1. Council members representing specific wards must live in their districts, according to state law.
Mayor Danny Funderburk, Starnes and Councilman Tom Adams voted in favor of giving Starnes through June to resolve the situation.
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Councilmen Grady Ervin and Larry Huntley voted no.
"I decided to err on the side of grace and give him a chance to work it out," Adams said. "But I let the council members on the other side know that I will be willing to look at the issue again if it's not resolved by the end of this month."
Town staff confirmed the second-floor apartment overlooking Main Street that Starnes has signed a lease on is under renovation with proper building permits in place.
However, a certificate of occupancy has not been issued yet.
Starnes has been staying at his family's second home in Tega Cay since last summer, but his primary residence is still inside town limits on Mary Mack Lane, according to tax records.
Municipal Association Executive Director Howard Duvall has said previously that Starnes is within his rights to remain on the town council based on state law.
"The majority of the council voted to take no action. That resolved the issue as far as I'm concerned," Ervin said. "I did what I thought I needed to do."
Ervin and Huntley said they had nothing against Starnes personally, but they just do not agree with the situation Starnes is in.