Annexation battle continues over property off Highway 61

WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - Big changes could be coming to some undeveloped areas in the City of Charleston.

The City of Charleston Planning Commission approved a plan that would allow some property off of Highway 61 to be developed.

The Ashley River Historic District has been known nationally for hundreds of years.

"It's beautiful. It's a historic area. You have the water, plantations, oak trees," said Daniel Miller who owns property with his family in the area.

North Charleston finalized its annexation of properties off Highway 61 in December 2017.

"We, as the landowners, did 100% annexation petition to annex our property to the City of North Charleston," Miller explained.

In January 2018, the City of Charleston voted to annex properties already claimed by North Charleston.

"This is just causing a legal battle," Miller said.

In the meeting Wednesday afternoon, the Planning Commission approved development agreements on three pieces of land totaling nearly 2,800 acres of property.

It also voted to mirror their regulations to those of Charleston County in some areas, while allowing one unit to be built on each acre in other areas.

It proposed to change zoning on more than 82 acres to mirror the same regulations as Charleston County.

It would also change portions of five properties to allow one unit to be built on each acre and take steps to protect the historic area.

Commissioners voted unanimously to pass all items.

"What they're trying to do is preserve the character and we think that's incredibly important," Magnolia Plantation & Gardens owner Winslow Hastie said. Hastie is also the president of the Historic Charleston Foundation.

Miller, however, said the changes will keep their family company from hosting events.

"According to their ordinances and what was said, they wouldn't allow us to do that. It would hurt our business," Miller said.

Regardless of who is in charge of the property, owners want the land to be used in a way that matches the historic character of the district.

"We don't want to develop it, we want to keep it in our family for generations to come," Miller said.

"The number one concern is making sure that growth boundary is protected and preserved," Hastie said.

The City of Charleston gave their notice to sue the City of North Charleston over the annexed properties.

Charleston administration, however, has not filed a formal lawsuit at this time.

The second public hearing about the zone changes will be held on April 10.

Copyright 2018 WCSC. All rights reserved.