Apartments planned for James Island Theater site on to next phase of design approval, residents concerned

Published: Apr. 18, 2017 at 3:33 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 18, 2017 at 5:03 AM EDT
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Source: Goff D’Antonio Associates
Source: Goff D’Antonio Associates

JAMES ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - The apartment complex planned for the site of the Carmike James Island 8 Movie Theater is one step closer to reality after the Design Review Board gave the plan conceptual approval.

The site is on Central Park Road.

The design team for the complex will have to make several changes to the current plans before moving forward to the next approval phase. Some of those changes include creating a design for a park and a pathway through the property.

James Island residents spoke out against the design plans. Some residents say what's planned for this space doesn't fit in with the character of the area.

There's also opposition to the apartment complex because of the overcrowding on the Island.

Kathleen Wilson a James Island Councilmember says the island is different than it was several years ago.

"The old James Island had vast underdevelopment tracks and we understand that this is a growing vibrant area," Wilson said.

With that growth comes more housing. The 132-unit apartment complex is stirring up concerns.

"It's a hot subject right now, it's a money maker for developers and we're going to overdue it," Wilson said.

Wilson spoke out at the design review board meeting on this four-story project. She says the size is not a good fit for the island. Many were also sad to see the theater abruptly close last month.

"It's a bit cumbersome for James Island," Wilson said.

Derek Wade, who lives near the apartment site, agrees.

"It will be the gateway to James Island when you come across the connector one day and so it's pretty important to make this building look as good as it could possibly be," Wilson said.

A representative from the apartment's design teams says as a compromise to save all 31 grand trees on the site, they decided to build up not out. They also made the front side of the building near the road two-stories.

However, another concern for residents is flooding and more traffic.

"Adding more density to James Island doesn't help that," Wilson said. "I also recognize that we need to have more housing on James Island in our community."

More housing is a plus for future residents. The design team says there won't be an increase in stormwater and a traffic analysis is in the works.

"Change has to be managed, growth has to be managed and I'm not sure that the City of Charleston is going about it in the right way," Wilson said.

The representative for the developer did not have a comment on the project at this time.

Construction won't begin until the developers are through with the entire approval process, which could take months. It could begin later this year.

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