James Island proposed development gets more time to meet requirements

Updated: Oct. 16, 2019 at 11:42 PM EDT
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JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - An effort to stop a cluster development that could build up to 38 homes on James Island is still ongoing.

On Wednesday, the city of Charleston’s Planning Commission voted to approve an extension for the site’s concept plan on Central Park Road.

The commission originally approved a subdivision concept plan for the 10.35-acre property in 2017. Wednesday’s meeting was about giving the developer a one-year extension to try and meet other requirements.

People at the meeting said the commission should have stopped the plan a long time ago.

Many people spoke out in opposition of the extension, because they believe the high-density development will fill in wetlands and make their flooding problem worse.

“We have Fleming Park over here and now we’re going have another cluster development and all the water will flood into us,” said Carol Greene, who lives near the proposed development. “We’re going to be totally underwater.”

Ellis Lesemann, an attorney representing the developer, brought up the fact that the concept plan was already approved because they met the subdivision requirements.

According to Lesemann and another attorney brought in by the city, the commission legally had to approve the extension under state law.

Lesemann also said that the reason the applicant needed an extension is because they are working to meet all the rigorous requirements for the project.

Commission members agreed, but they wanted to make sure people knew the decision to approve the extension doesn’t mean the development is ready to be built.

“Because we grant an extension, doesn’t mean they get a building permit tomorrow,” Commission member Erika V. Harrison said. “It means the process of getting this approved continues, and that means your concerns will continue to be heard.”

People living near the area have been against the development from the beginning. In June, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control held a public meeting about the developer’ request for a storm-water permit.

At the time, many people said the developer’s storm water plan was inadequate and would only contribute to problems in the neighborhood.

The developer still has to go to the Technical Review Committee to get approval on the project.

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