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Debate over building height restrictions in Mt. Pleasant continu - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Debate over building height restrictions in Mt. Pleasant continues

MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) -

Monday, Mount Pleasant officials and residents gathered for special meeting about the long debated issue of building heights.

Some homeowners argued that a 45-foot limit should be placed on buildings along Coleman Boulevard. However, commercial property owners along the busy roadway say changing the zoning could bad for business.

"I clearly think 75 feet is just way too much," said Gary Santos, Mt. Pleasant Town Council Member.

Santos asked the Planning and Development Committee to discuss reducing some building heights along Coleman Boulevard from 75 feet to 45 feet.

The Boulevard, a mixed-use development already built is about 65 feet. The building has shaped up to be a disappointment to some Mt. Pleasant residents who call it an eyesore and cause for traffic congestion. 

"That set the tone for everybody, when everybody saw that building they realized that that was way too big," said Santos.

Right now, the town's tallest buildings are at the bottom of the Ravenel Bridge.

"Those are 75 to 85 foot buildings and if you place those at Moultrie Place and Sea Island Shopping Center it will completely be out of character to what Coleman Boulevard has been for many, many years," said Santos.

Current zoning for both the Moultrie Place and Sea Island Shopping Center, that's been in place for years, is 75 feet. 

"My property was one of those that was identified as a good prospect for a high-density, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly development," said Batson Hewitt, owner of Sea Island Shopping Center.

Hewitt says he has no immediate plans to develop his land but if and when he does, he'd be open to using a stair-step design. The building would be shorter close to the street and it's back neighbors, and would be tallest in the middle 

Hewitt worries that lowering his max height zoning from 75 feet could lower his property value. Hewitt also says the ability for town council to change the zoning also causes some uncertainty for buyers.

"You don't want to buy a piece of property and then find out after you bought it that the zoning has been changed," said Hewitt.

Santos says his fellow town officials need to take action and come to a decision soon, before developers act on the current zoning.

"If we waited until the next review of the comprehensive plan, they might already file plans for that 75-foot building to be built," said Santos. 

Santos says he's disappointed that the committee didn't take more action Monday. The issue will now go back to town council.

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