Controversial development on James Island getting an extension on plans

Updated: Nov. 18, 2020 at 10:05 PM EST
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JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - A controversial development on James Island is getting an extension for the site’s concept plan. The proposed plan could add up to 38 homes on Central Park Road.

The city’s planning commission originally approved the subdivision concept plan for the property back in 2017. Last year, they also approved the first one-year extension, despite a lot of backlash from residents.

People who live in the Marlborough and Laurel Park neighborhoods of James Island have been fighting against the development for a long time. Residents say there is already a lot of existing flooding problems and this plan would make it worse.

During Wednesday’s planning commission meeting, many people spoke out in opposition of the extension, claiming a lot of requirements for things like stormwater have not been met by the applicant.

“The city is fast-tracking the conversion of forest and wetlands into the central park development; the central feature of fast-tracking is the disregard of regulations,” said Dr. Steven Emerman, a hydrologist consultant who was hired by homeowners to look at this issue.

Others have also criticized the 2017 planning commission members for behaving irregularly when it came to state planning commission laws.

An attorney for this development said its within their vested rights to ask for another extension after going through a strict review process of the project. He says they are just waiting on some other agency approvals to move the plan forward.

Despite the strong opposition, commission members said the applicant is going through a thorough review process to meet the right requirements.

“I share many of the concerns these folks have shared about flooding and development and so forth all over the city of Charleston, but in this instance I think that the applicant has met their obligation that gives them the right to this extension,” said Jimmy Bailey Jr, a city planning commission member.

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