James Island group pushes for apartment freeze

Published: Mar. 28, 2017 at 7:37 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 29, 2017 at 10:13 AM EDT
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JAMES ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - A James Island group is calling on City of Charleston leaders to issue a moratorium on apartment developments on the island.

Members of the group Save James Island plan to gather at Charleston City Council's meeting Monday and push for a temporary ban on apartment and chain store development due to traffic woes, island infrastructure and loss of green space.

"I, for one, do not want to see Folly Road turn into something that looks like Myrtle Beach," James Island Town Council member Garrett Milliken said. "This is a very large concern for people on James Island. Our roads are already full. Our schools are full. Our sewage plant is full."

Milliken said James Island is in a similar situation as Mt. Pleasant, where town leaders recently passed another moratorium on multi-family developments.

"Nothing looks the same anymore. Pretty much looks like a giant construction site," lifelong James Island resident Andrew Goldston said. "The council is letting them have their way and just develop and develop and develop. What is the sacrifice you're taking to develop? Are you going to have more people that want to come and stay or are they going to look at it as every other town?"

City Council member Kathleen Wilson represents District 12, part of James Island said she's heard residents' concerns and continues to fight for the island.

"I understand the concept of infill and preserving the urban growth boundary, but I think we need to look a little bigger as how people are going to get around and how much the island can bear, as well as the disproportionate elements of residential, retail, commercial that we're starting to see," Wilson said.

Wilson said one of her primary concerns is "cherry picking" when it comes to zoning.

"One of the biggest items I see are parcels that are zoned as business zoning which carry a residential component and developers' cherry picking the residential component because that's where the money is right now," she said.

"I appreciate our James Island citizens coming out to City Council tonight and expressing their views,"  Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said in an email. "I share their concerns about infrastructure and over-development, and will continue to work with our citizens and Council members to make progress on those critical issues."

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