Mount Pleasant settles Ben Sawyer Boulevard development lawsuit

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Neighbors are speaking out against a controversial development planned in Mount Pleasant off Ben Sawyer Boulevard.

After a five-hour meeting Tuesday evening, the Mount Pleasant Town Council voted to settle a lawsuit that would allow a developer to build a new apartment complex on the marsh.

"I grew up here. It's my life and I love it," Mount Pleasant resident Muffy Cochran said. "What was always the small town that everyone loves isn't anymore. It's overcrowded and we need to stop the building."

"We have low taxes, great schools, low crime, beautiful scenery, Shem Creek," Mount Pleasant Mayor Linda Page said. "I think we've been discovered."

Page says the proposed apartment complex on Ben Sawyer Boulevard was originally denied for development.

Local residents, including Page, are not just concerned with overcrowding in housing.

They're concerned with congestion on the roadways, especially on the heavily-traveled Ben Sawyer Boulevard.

"We don't need to add the traffic or the cars or anything else. It's insanity," Cochran said.

"Is there any way that would function? We have the Ben Sawyer Bridge, we have beach traffic," Page said. She added that during the court-ordered mediation, she feels there was a lot of progress in alleviating traffic concerns.

The developer filed a lawsuit that turned things around in a council vote last night.

The mayor, two council members, and the developer then went to court-ordered mediation.

On Tuesday night, the town council passed the vote to settle the lawsuit instead of taking it to court.

Page says council members have an obligation to protect the town.

"Sometimes you have to be a leader and protect the town and the finances and it's the right thing to do," the mayor said. "It's just easy- let's say no. But sometimes the risk of saying no is great, the financial risk and the business risk."

If the town had taken the case to court and lost the lawsuit against the developer, Page said it could have potentially cost the town the entire general fund.

Cochran says that, regardless, it is still a risk we should've taken.

“If we don’t say no, it’s going to keep happening and people will bully us around,” Cochran said. “They should’ve implemented a better plan for infrastructure and stopped building a long time ago." 

There is currently a moratorium on building new apartments through March 2019.

There are still 2,000 units planned for development during that time. Page says the developer will be able to build the Atlantic Development once the moratorium ends.

Mayor Page also added that, because the lawsuit has not been settled in court, she is not at liberty to discuss specific details of the proposed Atlantic apartment complex or its potential revenue.

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