Charleston lays out James Island development plans

By Jenny Peterson
Published March 6, 2014

Nearly 100 James Island residents attended a development update meeting Wednesday to discuss major residential and commercial projects the city of Charleston is planning for the island over the next 10 years.

Many residents who attended the meeting were not pleased about the city’s plans, most notably the high-density residential projects that they say will bring increased traffic and remove grand oak trees.

One is a 280-unit apartment complex on a 20-acre “gathering place” mixed-use site near the corner of Maybank Highway and Folly Road. That project is currently in the first phase of construction.

Charleston Planning Director Tim Keane said that gathering places are part of the city’s overall plan for denser development in specific areas and would reduce traffic by promoting walkability.

Another nearly 300-unit apartment complex is slated for the corner of Folly and Grimball roads, planned to be built within the next three years.

An additional mixed-use, high-density gathering place with apartments is being considered for the Food Lion shopping center at the corner of Folly and Fort Johnson roads.

Keane answered questions about the specifics of each development. The meeting was hosted by Councilman Joe Qualey, the James Island representative on the Charleston County Council.

Maybank Highway gathering place
A 20-acre parcel with 280 apartments and an on-site parking garage, expected to be built out over 10 years. Keane said more residential units are possible and would be allowed on the site. The total development would have a required mix of commercial, office and residential uses and be pedestrian friendly. Keane said developers must adhere to strict design standards, with buildings no taller than 65 feet. The only other gathering place identified on James Island is at the corner of Folly and Fort Johnson roads and would have to be rezoned, Keane said there is no imminent plan to develop that site.

294-unit apartment complex on Battery Island
A high-density apartment complex is slated for a 30-acre site at the corner of Folly Road and Grimball Road. Keane said there will likely be small commercial space and green space developed within the next three years.

The Dill Tract
First Baptist Church, located on the Dill Tract off Riverland Drive, plans to sell 40 acres behind its ball fields to develop single-family homes, Keane said. The property is zoned single family. The church also is planning to build a high school in the next five to seven years and is currently constructing a gym and additional ball fields on its property.

Potential high-density development near Central Park Road
Plans are being reviewed by the city to construct nearly 50 single-family homes on 14 acres off Central Park Road, adjacent to the Marlborough subdivision. According to the city, development plans for the Fleming Road site will stipulate that at least 50% of the land will be dedicated to open space.

Grimball Farms development
The 400 acres toward the far end of Grimball Road is falls outside the urban growth boundary and will remain zoned low density, Keane said. Only one residential home will be allowed per acre, with no more than 250 total homes. There is no imminent plan for development.

Reach Jenny Peterson at 843-849-3145.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story misidentified the ownership of 400 acres on Grimball Road. The story above has been updated.

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