Design review board defers design plans for James Island apartment complex

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The design review board deferred preliminary plans for the 132-unit apartment complex planned for James Island.

That means there will be a longer wait before construction can begin.

One of the only things left from the James Island Carmike 8 Movie Theater are the yellow parking stops. The building has been demolished.

Charleston City Council Member Kathleen Wilson who represents, District 12, the James Island area has been concerned about the apartment complex development along with other residents who spoke out at the design review board meeting.

"The only positive thing was that the land was already developed so there was no clear cutting involved, which is a rarity anymore," Wilson said.

Traffic, over development and the size of the building are some of the resident's concerns.

One woman spoke out saying she was concerned about seeing the apartment complex from her front door. She's hoping for a much larger buffer zone of trees to help conceal the view of the building.

That's one of the design elements the design team will have to improve to make it to the next approval round.

"This particular development was the breaking point for James Island and caused a moratorium to be put in place to reassess business zoning and how the residential element of those zonings come into play," Wilson said.

Parts of the apartment building will range in size from two to four stories. At a previous meeting the design team  said as a compromise to save all 31 grand trees on the site, they decided to build up not out.

They did not have a comment on the results of the meeting on Monday.

"I think islanders who spoke and who wrote letters were heard loud and clear as far as not landscaping in an ornamental sense, but disguising the buildings and putting in some pretty hefty foliage that's going to mature and create a substantial buffer," Wilson said.

There are more than 40 people a day who move to Charleston who are looking for places to live. They are likely supportive of having new housing opportunities.

Council member Wilson also suggested adding a CARTA stop by the apartment complex as an option to help alleviate traffic.

Harris Teeter at West Ashley Circle

The West Ashley Harris Teeter that will be located in the West Ashley Circle at Grands Oaks Boulevard is one step closer to construction after Monday's meeting.

The new store would be less than seven miles from a Harris Teeter in the process of being built located west of the Ashley.

The design review board gave preliminary approval for the design of the area that will be pedestrian and biker friendly. There will also be other retail spaces that have not yet been named.

The developers say construction should take about a year once all the design plans are approved.

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