CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The City of Charleston's planning commission planned to debate the controversial plans for the future of Sergeant Jasper, the high-rise apartment complex on Broad Street, at its meeting on Wednesday.
However, a large number of people showed up at the meeting well past the room's capacity causing the meeting to be deferred to another day. That massive turnout demonstrated how passionate people are about this issue.
"If a big real estate company comes in and just dumps an enormous development here, it's going to genuinely change the character where we live," said Susan Lyons who lives near Sgt. Jasper.
"The Beach Company has been committed to gathering community feedback on this project since 2006 and agrees that it is essential that the community's voice continues to be heard as we progress through the rezoning process," read a statement released by the Beach Company Wednesday night."We look forward to reconvening and sharing our vision for The Jasper."
The Beach Company is requesting a zoning change to redevelop the property, which it has owned since 1950.
The private developer is proposing about 450 apartments, a 35,000 square-foot grocery store or retail space and a parking garage, that would sit in the middle.
In order to build the proposed design, the area must be rezoned from Limited Business to a Planned Unit Development or PUD. A PUD is a specific set of restrictions for unique properties.
"This is the biggest crowd that I've seen at any public meeting," said Tim Keane, Planning Director for the City of Charleston.
That's why the city decided to defer the Sergeant Jasper topic, moving it to another date and a bigger venue so everyone has a chance to voice their opinion.
"I think they did the right thing. They really did," said Henry Fishburne, a resident in Charleston.
"They should have known this many people would be present for this meeting," said Corie Hipp, a resident in Charleston.
"Everyone was so excited and so ready," said Elizabeth Boineau, a resident in Charleston.
City officials say they want the project to move forward.
"What they are proposing in terms of land use and density is correct and we got some conditions to place on it, but we think it needs to keep moving forward," said Keane.
"Density, density. At the end of the day you're piling so many people and cars in an area that's already overburdened," said Hipp.
There is no word yet on when the next public hearing will take place about this issue.