Development in Ten Mile Community on hold after Historic Preservation vote

The Charleston County Historic Preservation Commission denied certifications that would allow a developer to build homes in the Ten Mile Community.
Published: Jul. 19, 2023 at 10:57 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2023 at 11:20 PM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County Historic Preservation Commission denied certifications that would allow a developer to build homes in the Ten Mile Community.

During a meeting Wednesday night, the commission voted to deny three certifications of historic appropriateness for zoning permits in the new development after finding the proposed homes would not fit into the historical design of homes in the historic African American neighborhood.

Crescent Homes, the development, is planning to build 21 elevated homes on less than six acres of land off of Seafood Road in the historic neighborhood, located between Highway 17 and Copahee Sound.

Concerns surrounding development in the Ten Mile area continued after the community decided to sue the Charleston County Planning Commission after approving plans for the development while a Historic Preservation Ordinance was still pending.

“These certificates of historic appropriateness are necessary to continue, and that’s part of the basis of our lawsuit, is that they approved the final plat for one of these developments without having previously obtained historic appropriateness certificate,” Ben Cunningham, South Carolina Environmental Law Project Senior Managing Attorney, says.

During the meeting, the commission heard from members of the historic African American community, developers and historic preservation advocates.

“That’s exactly what Ten Mile is; it’s the community who we saw here today,” longtime Ten Mile Resident, Edward Pinckney, says. “The community came out to say this community matters, and that we care about the future and how it’s going to be developed.”

Information and public comment mainly focused on the style of the proposed homes and how the design would fit in with the existing community.

“We just hope that with the new developments, the Historic Preservation Committee takes into consideration what exists in the community now. There are predominant features that exist in the historic district,” Pickney adds.

Some members of the Ten Mile Neighborhood explained and showed the commission why the development’s architecture is not at all like the surrounding homes in the area.

“When you’re building or attempting to build a historic district, you need to be aware of what the area is like and take that into consideration so that it is consistent with the history, and the historic district’s character, and not antagonistic,” Cunningham says.

Charleston County Historic Preservation Commissioners voted unanimously against the certifications, with one, Patricia Sullivan, saying she feels very passionate about protecting the people of Ten Mile.

“It’s very important to keep in mind that the folks who live in these settlement communities are descendants of the original suffering,” Sullivan says. “If we lose the land in these communities, we lose them and their history.”

By denying these certifications, the developers will either appeal the decision or work on redesigning the homes.

“Certainly today [Wednesday] is a very welcome development, and one that I think the community at large is very happy with and appreciated,” Cunningham says.

The homes currently in the area are primarily designed in a split-level, craftsman or manufactured architecture style based on an architectural study of 261 homes in the neighborhood.

Noted during the meeting, the majority of the developers’ proposed designs are homes in an American Vernacular style, with existing homes in the Ten Mile Neighborhood representing 1% of that style.

“The purpose of our appeal was to keep the character of our community together,” Pinckney says. “We hope that any developer in the future will take into consideration the cultural consideration when they come in.”

“We are willing to work with anyone, we just want them to appreciate the people that live there and the culture they will be a part of.”