By Lauren Ratcliffe
Published May 24, 2012
When Mount Pleasant voted earlier this month to remove an ordinance banning big-box development, many feared the decision would pave an easy path for the Gregg Tract to be developed.
But Ben Henrich, president of Henrich Properties, withdrew his application to develop the lot in February and must wait a full year to resubmit an application with the town — unless he seeks and is granted a waiver from the Town Council.
“We are slowing down the planning process at this point,” he said. “We need more time to communicate with neighborhoods and businesses and the Town of Mount Pleasant.”
Residents expressed anger at the Council’s decision to remove the ordinance on first reading, because they say big-box development would hurt the town. Many associate the ordinance with the Gregg Tract proposal. Henrich’s original application detailed 400,000 square feet of commercial retail space with restaurants.
Henrich said his new plans include meetings with individual citizens, groups of citizens, homeowners associations and town officials.
“We have to make sure we are getting through to everybody and not just relying on homeowners associations to relay information,” Henrich said.
He said he wants to stress to residents that their concerns are being heard and addressed in the planning phase of the Gregg Tract process.
Henrich said even with the town voting to remove the ordinance, he will not immediately pursue the resubmission of his application, but does hope to receive a waiver at some point.
“We’re still going to work to get an exception to the one-year rule, but at this point our main focus is having meetings and getting feedback,” Henrich said. “And doing everything to mitigate the impact and give the town the best project we can.”