City of Charleston to open Cainhoy development to public input

By Liz Segrist
Published Jan. 7, 2014

The public will have the chance on Wednesday and Thursday to learn more about and provide feedback on the proposed development of Cainhoy Plantation.

More than half of the 9,000-acre Cainhoy Plantation (.pdf) is on track to become a massive, mixed-use development. The land sits between Daniel Island and the Francis Marion National Forest. Clements Ferry Road runs through it.

Wednesday’s planning charrette:

Keith School, 1509 Clements Ferry Road, Charleston

Open house: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Schedule updates: 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Thursday’s public meeting:

Cainhoy Elementary & Middle School, 2434 Cainhoy Road

6 - 7:30 p.m.

Read the full story:

Development plans for Cainhoy Plantation call for commercial, retail, industrial and green spaces, as well as residential components, according to city of Charleston planning documents. The city planning department did not return requests for comment.

The development’s density limit is set at 2.1 units per acre for up to 4,300 residences. Estimates indicate up to 20,000 people could call it home over the next couple of decades.

Matt Sloan, the representative for the landowners, Cainhoy Land & Timber, is seeing them through the entitlement process, which covers the plantation’s entire 9,000 acres.

Only 5,000 will be developed over time, since the remaining acreage is designated as wetlands or set aside for recreational use for the owners, said Sloan, also the president of the Daniel Island Co.

At this time, roughly 800 acres are being considered for development, all of which is on the south side of Clements Ferry Road, Sloan said. It could take more than 30 years to build out the entire master plan.

The Historic Charleston Foundation and Coastal Conservation League have concerns about the density of the development and its proximity to the national forest.

“I think what’s being proposed and what’s going to the planning commission is a little scary. It’s so huge, and it’s not clear how it’s going to be phased,” Historic Charleston Foundation Chief Preservation Officer Winslow Hastie said of the plans under consideration by the city.

Family members of the late Harry Frank Guggenheim have owned the plantation for more than 80 years and were among the original Daniel Island developers. They plan to emulate components of Daniel Island to create a community in which residents can walk to places where they “live, work, shop, learn and play.”

“The basic design elements here are similar to Daniel Island in that they incorporate integrated mixed uses at a variety of price points,” Sloan said.

The land would be sold to builders, developers and commercial users. Sloan said initial discussions have taken place. He declined to disclose company names.

Formal discussions with developers will not take place until the entitlement process is completed, likely in the first half of this year, Sloan said.

Sloan said there’s no rush to develop the huge and important piece of property. The Coastal Conservation League said the owners are pushing the proposal through the city of Charleston’s process very rapidly.

“There is a better way to accommodate growth while conserving and preserving irreplaceable natural and historic assets,” the league said in a statement.

The league pointed to MeadWestvaco’s East Edisto project in the southern part of the county. The 80,000-acre development will preserve 75% of its natural state.

“The Cainhoy team should take a similar path and slow down, listen to the public, and make adjustments to their plan,” the league said. “The meetings this week are a step in the right direction.”

Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119 or on Twitter @lizsegrist.

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