Groups to challenge Cainhoy development

Cainhoy original plan map (click for PDF)
Cainhoy Original Master Plan.pdf-page-001
Cainhoy alternative plan map (click for PDF)
Cainhoy - Alternativ
By Liz Segrist
Published Jan. 27, 2014

Several community groups and residents plan to challenge the current development plans for Cainhoy Plantation at the city of Charleston’s Planning Commission meeting Feb. 6.

The coalition of conservation and historical groups plan to present an alternative plan, calling for the protection of an estimated 4,200 acres of the 9,000-acre plantation.

The original plan also calls for the protection of roughly half of the site to protect the wetlands and marsh area. The coalition wants to ensure more land on the north side of Clements Ferry Road will remain undeveloped as it houses longleaf pines, which are rare and threatened in the Southeast.

“In the developer’s plan, only the wetlands and marsh are to remain undeveloped, and all upland areas are to be developed with residential or light industrial uses,” Coastal Conservation League Project Manager Jake Libaire said in an emailed statement on behalf of the coalition.

“In the alternative plan, the vast majority of this northern half will be conserved, both wetland/marsh area and developable upland area. The alternative plan asks the developer to compromise by leaving most of the northern half in a natural state, not just the wetlands/marsh,” Libaire said.

The coalition is also asking the planning commission to defer the vote of the current plans and request the applicant to submit an amended proposal that includes splitting development into two phases — for the north and south — with plans to only develop the southern half of the property below Clements Ferry Road.

“Phasing the proposal and concentrating on a master plan for only the southern half will allow all stakeholders to focus more intently on planning for that half of the property, as a plan for the entire 9,000 acres is overwhelming for all parties involved,” the statement said.

The 9,000-acre plantation is owned by Cainhoy Land & Timber LLC, which includes members of the late Harry Frank Guggenehim. Matt Sloan, president of The Daniel Island Co., is representing the landowners.

The land sits between Daniel Island and the Francis Marion National Forest. Clements Ferry Road runs through it. Current plans submitted to the city of Charleston call for roughly half of the plantation to become commercial, retail, industrial and residential developments, as well as green spaces and new schools. The other half would be conserved as wetlands or for recreational use by the owners.

The landowners envision a community similar to Daniel Island where people can walk to work, school or retail spots from their homes, Sloan said.

The city of Charleston has held several community meetings over the past few months to hear from residents and explain the project. During a meeting earlier this month, Tim Keane, the city of Charleston’s chief planning director, said the land has been zoned for suburban development since the plantation was annexed by the city, along with Daniel Island, in the mid-1990s.

Conservationists, historical groups and area residents have voiced concerns about the development’s density, traffic congestion, housing affordability, environmental impacts and the development’s proximity to the Francis Marion National Forest.

“After it became clear that the owners of Cainhoy Plantation and their representatives do not intend to make any meaningful adjustments to their proposed master plan and PUD application (despite receiving substantial public input), a coalition of stakeholders decided to craft a plan that better reflects the preferences of the community at large,” the statement said.

The coalition wants to preserve more land to protect the longleaf pine forests north of Clements Ferry Road; allow for continuation of controlled burning in the Francis Marion National Forest; and provide protection for the known (and unknown) historic assets located on this portion of the property, the statement said.

The plantation’s north side along Cainhoy Road and the Francis Marion National Forest is designated as a “jobs center,” potentially hosting light industrial and commercial space.

The groups created this plan as “a counterpoint to the applicant’s plan and encourage a dialogue on the ideal future for the most ecologically and historically significant undeveloped property in the City of Charleston,” the statement said.

The coalition includes:

Historic Charleston Foundation
Preservation Society of Charleston
Cainhoy Village representatives
Jack Primus Community representatives
Society of St. Thomas and St. Denis
National Trust for Historic Preservation
S.C. Coastal Conservation League

Property owners of Cainhoy Plantation and from the Cooper River National Historic District.

Due to inclement weather, the Planning Commission meeting has been rescheduled from tomorrow to Thursday, Feb. 6 at 5 p.m. at 75 Calhoun St.

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

The coalition’s comparison of the alternative master plan and the applicant’s plan:

Land Use

Original Master Plan

Alternative Master Plan

Difference (less acres)

Difference (less %)

Single-Family (gross*)










Mixed Use










Total Acreage:




* Includes all wetland/marsh areas

Source: Coastal Conservation League



Previous coverage

City, landowners plan community on Cainhoy

Residents, environmentalists speak out about Cainhoy Plantation development

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