Mt. Pleasant property owners reject the idea of town appraisals for Shem Creek Park

VIDEO: Mt. Pleasant property owners reject the idea of town appraisals for Shem Creek Park

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - In a press conference, a few Mt. Pleasant Town Council members came together to set the record straight that the town is not planning to take away land from business owners.

There is confusion over the Town of Mt. Pleasant's plan to expand Shem Creek Park. Business and property owners are still concerned that the town could look to take over their property in the future.

"Unfortunately, that seemed to take on legs that there was an eminent condemnation and that simply is not so," says Councilman, Joe Bustos.

Mt. Pleasant Town Council members Jim Owens, Will Haynie and Bustos called on this conference.

This comes after council members voted last Friday to look into how much it would cost to appraise four properties near Coleman and Mill Streets. The council also voted to have design plans created for a park on that land.

"I don't think questions here were answered either way," says Shem Creek Development Group LLC Developer, Tyler Flesch.

Flesch is a developer with the controversial parking garage and office building at 101 Coleman Boulevard. Construction for the site began at the end of last year. It is one of the four spots the city could end up appraising.

"This property is not for sale, it will never be for sale, the only avenue is eminent domain," Flesch told the council members.

Eminent domain gives the government the right to take away someone's property as long as fair market value is paid for it.

Bustos says the town isn't planning to do that. The people who own the properties designated for appraisal all say they don't want to sell it. Some say they don't want taxpayer's dollars used for the appraisals.

"I already said it's not for sale and y'all don't have enough money to buy it," says property owner William Simmons.

He says he will do what he can to keep his land in his family's ownership.

While several people are against what the council is doing, some people think the town should still explore these options.

"I think everyone needs to calm down and let these guys get the information and they may very well decide as a council that it's not possible to do anything alternatively," says Mount Pleasant resident, Pam Ireland.

There are other council members who were not on board with Friday's vote. One of them says they were not informed about the news conference that took place.

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