Residents, conservationists speak against proposed housing developments in Awendaw

Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 10:38 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 22, 2022 at 4:14 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Too much, too soon. That’s the message from residents in Awendaw regarding two proposed housing developments in the area.

During Monday’s planning commission meeting, dozens of residents spoke for hours against these two proposed developments.

The first sentence of the town’s vision statement reads “Managed growth is the key to Awendaw’s future.”

Residents like Peter McGrath say the projects don’t live up to that, especially the White Tract area that would be built off Bull Island Road.

“They want to put in 204 small houses on small lots in a residential area, and Awendaw is not about that,” he said. “Awendaw has zoning that requires an acre and a half per house, so this is a special plan that wants to put what we think is too many houses in an environmentally sensitive area.”

That development and a smaller project were deferred during the meeting, with a standing room only crowd in attendance. If approved, the projects would bring hundreds of houses spread out over 300 acres of land that could double the town’s population.

Currently, around 1,400 people call Awendaw home, including Elyse Salamon. She says she has several concerns with the impact on the town’s environment, traffic and population.

“Well, if they both can be stopped, that would be great, but I don’t think that’s going to happen,” she said. “I think they should be a much smaller number of houses in both communities, make sure the septic systems would be safe and stay safe.”

McGrath, meanwhile, says the projects would set a precedent for the town that it could not turn back on.

“It would be a turning point for a town like this,” he said. “It would turn more into a Mount Pleasant. It would take Awendaw, a country village town with modest density housing into a place that has apartments and rental houses.”

The planning commission says the two projects were deferred to get legal advice before voting whether to approve or deny.

The White Tract project was deferred for a month and the other development was deferred until May.

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