Charleston approves plan to allow Johns Island affordable housing development

Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 11:48 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 16, 2021 at 5:13 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston’s City Planning Commission voted unanimously Wednesday night to allow the building of an affordable housing development on 12 acres of land on Johns Island.

“Our purpose is to build housing where it’s needed the most, and Johns Island is certainly one of those areas where there is a need for affordable housing,” City of Charleston Department of Housing and Community Development Director Geona Shaw Johnson said after the meeting.

The planned development site is located on River Road just north of Maybank Highway. The city said it plans to convert the land into a maximum of 150 residential units, with some of the housing being multifamily homes.

“Our recent comprehensive plan indicated that we needed 16,351 units by 2030, and so we’re working steadfastly in many areas to address that issue,” Shaw Johnson said.

Along with Johns Island, Shaw Johnson said the city is building affordable housing in West Ashley and on the peninsula to meet that need.

Alice Lanham has lived on Johns Island for over 12 years and routinely shops at a grocery store near the planned development site.

“I’m glad they’re building affordable housing,” Lanham said. “We need that, but does it all have to be on Johns Island?”

Among Lanham’s concerns are the amount of the traffic and how the rising population puts pressure on the area’s infrastructure.

Shaw Johnson said the city takes traffic and infrastructure into account when it designs housing. However, Lanham said it still needs work on Johns Island.

“Give us some more services, work on the infrastructure out here,” Lanham said. “The roads can’t handle it, and the stores can’t handle it. They build and build and then never quite catch up.”

The planned site will be discussed at next week’s City of Charleston council meeting, and if approved, Shaw Johnson said the units could be finalized and constructed in 2024.

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