Developer holds 3rd community meeting on potential development on James Island
JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - A developer looking to build on just over six acres of land on James Island held a community meeting with neighbors as the potential project moves forward.
The 6.5-acre parcel off Dills Bluff Road, near the intersection of Camp Road, is currently owned by the town’s public service district. KT Properties President Kyle Taylor said they plan to build a 20,000 to 25,000 square foot commercial center to hold about 10 to 15 businesses.
“Lowcountry-style architecture is where we’re heading,” Taylor said. “We see mixed-use retail, some restaurant, small to medium scale, some coffee, some office, medical office, just a variety of uses to support the local community.”
The district attempted to develop a new operations center on the property for several years. The projects were put on hold amid pushback from neighbors against the plan.
The property then went up for sale in 2021, and developer KT Properties is under contract with the public service district to purchase the land.
Toward the rear of the parcel, Taylor said they plan on proceeding with building 25 attached townhome units to make living on the island more affordable and save as many grand trees as possible. Taylor said those changes were made based on feedback from neighbors.
“First and foremost, we want to make sure the community knew that we weren’t doing a cross-connection road,” Taylor said. “That was the most important concerns for neighbors that we weren’t going to send traffic to the neighborhood, which we are not. Especially, making sure we are taking care of stormwater management by adding a third pond was maybe some new information for some folks inside.”
Some neighbors said the project is too dense compared to the surrounding area and the land could instead be used for a park.
“The open space that they’re proposing is not enough,” neighbor John Peters said. “That little open space in the center is like hanging out in the parking lot. It’s what I’ve been telling people because that’s what it is.”
Others, however, said it’s exactly what James Island needs to grow.
“I think it’s the beautification, and the fact that they are really addressing the stormwater issue,” neighbor Joanne Root said. “It’s very well executed, and it’s going to be very attractive, and I think it’s really going to uplift this area.”
Peters believes the project does not fit into the area where it’s slotted to be.
“There’s hawks and owls that live in there. There’s concern with the wilderness there,” he said. “They come over and take out those squirrels, so there’s a lot of little things that are being overlooked in lieu of developing to just add more citizens to the neighborhood that we already have enough citizens in.”
Root, however, believes there’s enough of a market to build the development.
“I think the townhouses would be perfect, and I think there’s a big need for that,” she said. “There’s a lot of people that can’t maintain a yard that are definitely looking for that. It’s more progressive, I think, and more forward-thinking.”
As the project has been in the works for several years, Peters said he believes it should be up to the public to decide what happens with the land.
“Put it on the ballot and say, ‘Citizens, what do you want to do with this land?’ And come up with the best ideas possible,” he said. “If the citizens say they want a development, they put a development in there. If they want a park, we’ll put a park in there. If they want a fitness trail, let’s put a fitness trail.”
Taylor said he hopes the project will be finished with design and permitting around spring next year. He said construction would follow shortly after.
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