City annexes more property from James Island amid harassment

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - It's a numbers game. Tuesday, a special meeting held by the Charleston City Council approved the annexation of 19 properties from James Island. Last week it was 41 properties. Next week it will be 11 properties. And according to the City, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

"It's more than we expected," says Tim Keane, director of planning for the City of Charleston.

Keane has taken calls, sifted through applications and worked on the annexation of handfuls of James Island residents to the City of Charleston since the Town of James Island was dissolved by the SC Supreme Court. And his job may be getting harder.

"We've got 400 property owners that say they want to come into the city," says Keane. "And about 250 of those are contiguous to the city and are eligible to come in."

Keane and the city council members have been approving properties annexation papers by the stack in their last few special meetings that they will continue having until demand for annexation subsides.

But demand continues to rise.

Mayor Joe Riley says he wants this to be a quick and easy process because he's been told those that filed papers are being harassed for their decisions to join the city.

"Some people that have petitioned to join the city of Charleston have been called on by proponents of the town, or the former town, and urged not to annex in," says the Mayor. "We feel like they're being harassed."

Mayor Riley says the faster he can approve these properties annexation to the city, the quicker he can provide protection if the situation calls for it.

And with 180 people still waiting on their papers to be approved, the Charleston City Council is working quickly.

On the flip side, Former James Island Mayor Bill Woolsey says he's collected 1,465 signatures of people that want James Island to be their town. The number is less than 50 signatures shy to start the formal process to apply for their fourth incorporation of the Island.

Copyright WCSC 2011. All rights reserved.