Charleston City Council approves zoning change for 426-home development

By Lauren Ratcliffe
lratcliffe@scbiznews.com
Published April 25, 2013

Charleston City Council went against a planning commission recommendation and voted 12-1 to rezone land on Johns Island, paving the way for a 462-acre tract of land to be developed.

Zoning on the property will go from a conservation zoning, which allows one home on every 1.5 acres, to a custom planned unit development zoning, which would allow one home per acre and other commercial uses.

The planned development calls for 462 homes, warehouse, office and retail space. Woodale Partnership LLC owns the property.

The city’s planning commission voted unanimously last month to deny the zoning request. Tim Keane, city planning director, said the developer has since reduced the amount of office, warehouse and retail space included in the development plans to ease some concerns.

Plans now call for 5,000 square feet of retail space, down from 50,000 square feet. Office space plans were reduced from 125,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet. About half the property’s acreage is expected to remain undeveloped, Keane added.

The planning office supported the rezoning because the plans would still fit under the comprehensive plan of the city. That plan designated housing densities outside the urban growth boundary to be one unit per acre, or less.

Prior to 2006, the property was zoned “rural residential 1,” which allowed 3.5 homes per acre for conventional subdivisions and up to 5 units per acre for mixed-use neighborhoods, Keane said, adding that at that time 2,300 homes could have been built on the land.

Opponents of the plan were concerned with increased traffic along River Road and about building homes near the end of the Charleston Executive Airport.

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley called the plan “a sound and wise plan,” adding that the office and warehouse space would bring jobs to the community.

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