Public Input Needed on Growth in Charleston County – Here is your chance to affect positive change (7 Meeting Opportunities)

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Public workshops will be held to gather input for the county’s Comprehensive Plan Ten-Year Update starting March 19

Charleston County Government will hold seven public workshops in different areas of the county in the coming weeks to gather input on proposed amendments to the Charleston County Comprehensive Plan as part of the ten-year update of the plan.

The Charleston County Planning Commission reviewed all ten elements of the plan throughout 2017, and now is in the process of presenting proposed amendments to the public. The public will have an opportunity to give input on the proposed amendments to the plan during the upcoming workshops. Each workshop will have a drop-in format where attendees can view the proposed amendments at their own pace and submit comments and suggestions before leaving the workshops. Citizens can also view and submit comments and suggestions on the county’s website at

“Public participation in the comprehensive planning process is critical to ensure county growth is consistent with the community’s vision. Public input also helps guide the provision of county services and impacts future policy decisions that improve the general welfare of all citizens and visitors to Charleston County,” said Planning Director Joel Evans.

Details on the seven public workshops:

Monday, March 19, 2018, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Edisto Island Presbyterian Church
2164 Hwy 174, Edisto Island

Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Johns Island High School
1518 Main Road, Johns Island

Wednesday, March 21, 2018, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Wando High School
1000 Warrior Way, Mount Pleasant

Monday, March 26, 2018, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Ladson Elementary School
3321 Ladson Road, Ladson

Tuesday, March 27, 2018, 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Lonnie Hamilton, III Public Services Building
4045 Bridge View Drive, North Charleston

Wednesday, March 28, 2018, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
West Ashley High School
4060 W. Wildcat Blvd., West Ashley

Thursday, March 29, 2018, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
James Island Elementary School
1872 Grimball Road, James Island

What is the Charleston County Comprehensive Plan?
? Charleston County’s Comprehensive Plan is an expression of the county’s intent for where and how future growth and development should occur. The plan also identifies parts of the county that may or may not be appropriate for certain types of growth, given the Lowcountry’s unique character and natural conditions.Why does the Comprehensive Plan need to be reviewed?
? Title 6, Chapter 29 of the South Carolina Code of Laws requires that the Comprehensive Plan be reviewed at least once every five years and updated at least once every ten years. County Council adopted the original Comprehensive Plan on April 20, 1999. The first five-year review was adopted on November 18, 2003; the first ten-year update was adopted on November 18, 2008; and the second five-year review was completed in October
2013 and implemented in January 2015.

Who is involved in the update process?
? The public;
? Stakeholders;
? Charleston County Council;
? Charleston County Planning Commission; and
? Charleston County Zoning & Planning Department staff

How does the process work?
? The Charleston County Planning Commission reviewed the Comprehensive Plan elements during their regular meetings, beginning in April 2017 and culminating in January 2018.
? Public workshops will be held in seven locations to gather public input on the proposed amendments to the
Comprehensive Plan to implement the Planning Commission review.
? The Planning Commission will review the input gathered from the public workshops and make a recommendation to Council regarding the Comprehensive Plan amendments to implement the Ten-Year Update. All Planning
Commission meetings are open to the public.
? County Council will hold at least one public hearing regarding the proposed amendments to the Comprehensive
Plan and adopt the amendments after three readings. All County Council meetings are open to the public.

Visit the Charleston County website at for a direct link to public meeting notices, agendas, presentations, and up-to-date news and information about the Charleston County Comprehensive Plan Ten-Year Update.

For information on Charleston County Government news and services, the public can:
? Visit our website:
? Follow us on Twitter:
? Like us on Facebook (main County site):
? See us on You Tube:
? Watch County Council meetings online

The Real Reasons We Shouldn’t Expand James Island

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By Mark A. Leon

The natural progression of the light speed transition in the Lowcountry is James Island.? From a proximity perspective, it is within three (3) and ten (miles) from historic Charleston and two (2) to ten (10) miles from Folly Beach.? This is prime development land any way you shape it.? Local and out of state investors see the writing on the wall and they are trying to take advantage of all the available property.? This is evident in the number of downtown closures, extraordinary development of new hotels and boutiques and a city that is transitioning away from the historic culture it had built.

There are a few things we know to be true about James Island

  1. Parts of James Island are under Charleston jurisdiction.
  2. As tourism and population growth continues, James Island is a prime location for housing and hotel development.
  3. Charleston has a mayor with a background in real estate development
  4. Outside money is pouring in to capitalize on the popularity of this area.

There is tremendous admiration for the residents of James Island that are taking to public forums, digital chatter and petitions to curb the expansion of this beautiful area.? We stand in solidarity.

Let us for a moment remove the politics, the greed and the overwhelming clout and money tearing this area and look at the core reasons why expanding James Island is a poor idea.

McLeod Plantation

Why James Island Should Not Expand

  • During the peak season, traffic to Folly Beach (with a heavy emphasis on festivals and weekends) can be backed up for miles causing disruptions to daily traffic patterns on Folly Road and hurting local businesses.
  • Constant traffic throughout the day on Folly Road has deterred consumers from stopping at businesses on road because of the difficulty to get back on the roadway, especially in the opposite direction.
  • Construction on Fort Johnson and Harborview, Camp and Folly and Central Park are only the beginning of massive road work to accommodate the growth and increased driving volumes.
  • The intersection of Maybank Highway and Folly Road and the draw bridge can be a logistical nightmare. This already has an affect that stretches to John’s Island and River Road.? Think about what a 20% growth in new residents will do.
  • The Annual Festival of Lights causes a two plus week annual influx of traffic that congests the James Island Connector, Central Park, Riverland and Maybank. Expansion could force changes to a major local area tradition.
  • Folly Road offers an abundance of bars (Bohemian Bull, The Barrel, The Brickhouse, Cajun Blues, The Break, White Duck, Lowdown Oven and Bar, La Hacienda, La Carreta, Garage 75, Kickin Chicken, O’Brion’s Pub, Stag Erin Pub, Zia, How Art Thou, The Pour House). That is 16 bars in 7 miles.? That is only a small snapshot.? Many restaurants offer alcoholic options as well.? With a limited staff of law enforcement, dramatic growth in population could have a negative effect on roadway safety.
  • James Island offers an aesthetic of simplicity, natural beauty and serenity. With places including fishing docks, Sunrise Park, Dock Street Park, McCleod Plantation, James Island County Park, Stono River, more apartments/condos and increasing traffic will destroy the natural element this community has grown accustomed to.
  • Our restaurants and bars still have a local hometown appeal. Bartenders and patrons, staff and guests have personal relationships.? It is what separates the island from the peninsula.
  • James Island continues to face challenges around alternative transportation (biking and CARTA). This is an area that must be resolved before we can move forward with this level of expansion.
  • New state of the art development will raise property values forcing up rents and housing prices.

Changes are already in motion.

The Carmike Cinema was closed and an entire staff was told in one day, they lost their jobs.

Residents lost the only area roller rink.? Drivers are making illegal U-Turns and going through red lights due to uneven traffic light patterns and lack of patience.? There has been a rise in local area accidents.

The battle is simple:? Corporate greed vs a standard of living built on community, family and comfort.

Keep fighting James Island.

Even if change is inevitable and the island turns into condos and hotels, know that you fought until the end.

Dock Street Park

Media Release: Build With Strength Tours Cutting-Edge Charleston Apartment Complex, 17 South

Building Constructed with Energy-Efficient, Cost-Saving Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs)

CHARLESTON, S.C., May 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ —?Earlier today, representatives from EYC Companies, Amvic Building System, and Build With Strength, a coalition of engineers, architects, fire service professionals, and industry experts, gathered for a multi-family executive roundtable and site tour event of 17 South, a 220-unit apartment complex under construction in Charleston, South Carolina that utilizes the latest innovations in concrete construction.

Built with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) and concrete, 17 South makes use of cutting-edge technology, demonstrating the value in utilizing what is quickly becoming the building material of choice for multi-family residential, academic and commercial buildings due to its strength, energy-efficiency, lower lifecycle costs and ease of use.

ICF “is a type of permanent concrete formwork that creates the external wall envelope of a building.” Typically, it is standard reinforced concrete sandwiched between two faces of low absorptive, foam plastic insulating material.? Its unique, lightweight structure allows crews to construct buildings more quickly and easily than conventional methods, without compromising the integrity of the structure.

“ICF is faster than building with wood, [and] concrete doesn’t combust as wood does, that’s the truth,” said Eric Coleman, a developer with EYC Companies in a video released in August.? “When you stack foam against concrete, it’s the most insulated envelope… it’s a far better product for an exterior envelope of a building than any wood wall.”

Wednesday’s roundtable and tour was organized in part to serve as an information opportunity for developers interested in learning about the benefits of building multi-family residential buildings with ICFs.? The conversation went on to include a discussion of emerging trends in housing and development, innovations in concrete construction, and a white paper and case study examples that showcase the benefits of concrete to design structures.

The benefits of ICF are obvious. In addition to being easy to work with due to its simple design, ICF can be constructed in the winter at lower temperatures without the need for insulating blankets or a heating source.? It is also highly energy-efficient thanks to insulating properties within the wall structure, and it is inherently resistant to tornados, hurricanes, fire, rot and rusting.? It also has noise-cancelling properties, it costs the same as other materials, and it has a proven history around the world.

“Concrete has proven itself time and again as a vastly superior building material when it comes to strength and durability,” said Kevin Lawlor, a spokesperson for Build With Strength.? “When you factor in the speed and ease of use of Insulated Concrete Forms, the advantages are more clear.”

Additional Information:

Learn more at

SOURCE Build with Strength: A Coalition of National Ready Mixed Concrete Association

Will There Be a Cheesecake Factory on King Street?

By Mark A. Leon

Now that I have your attention….

  • An unnamed source has indicated that there is discussion to potentially open a Cheesecake Factory in the old King Street Grille on King Street
  • Whole Foods has resumed discussions to occupy the Morris Sokol Building
  • By this time next year, we can be walking down the East Coast version of Rodeo Drive, Miracle Mile or New York’s 5th Avenue which will include: Williams-Sonoma, Forever 21, Apple Store, Urban Outfitters, 5 Guys Burgers, Chipotle, H&M, Moe’s Southwestern, Starbucks, Louis Vitton, Sperry, Victoria’s Secret, Cynthia Rowley, West Elm, Godiva as well as a number of hospitality groups that own a cluster of restaurants controlling the pricing.
  • Huber Street has a new housing development and Palmetto Brewery will soon become future homes.
  • Across from Joe Riley Stadium will house a new self sustaining mini-city
  • With the new Home team BBQ and Lewis BBQ in Upper Charleston East Side, some have deemed this the new Avondale

Times are changing in Charleston…..

Here are a few articles to help us see the reality of Charleston, South Carolina

Is This The End of the Holy City?

Is the Delicate Charleston Ecosystem in Jeopardy?

Charleston, SC – Welcome to the Dumping Ground

I Have a Charleston Dream

Save Charleston

The Folly Road Conundrum

Let us not lose where we came from.? Embrace and conserve the beauty.

New Development on Huger Street
New Development on Huger Street

We would love to see a city where we focus on cleansing the city parks and streets, increasing our emphasis on the environment with stronger recycling practices, a mass transit program that citizens can embrace and affordable housing that creates a city of balance.

This city is showing tremendous signs of a thriving technology sector, continuing growth in the entrepreneurial space (Food Trucks) and indications of an expansion of culture with our arts, writing and design skills.

Something has been happening and if this continues, we will increases in the areas we don’t want to see (violence, traffic, quality, infrastructure and prices).? We have a civic responsibility as citizens to be heard.? Take the time and show how much you care for Charleston.

Historic Westside Neighborhood House
Historic Westside Neighborhood House

Is this the End of the Holy City? – The City of Charleston We Once Loved

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By Mark A. Leon

The Charleston peninsula is approximately 8 square miles.

In comparison, New York City is 305 square miles, Chicago is 237 square miles and Boston spans 48 square miles in the city proper.? We are not in the same vicinity as our larger urban counterparts, but this small city, is making waves.? In a new report published today from BusinessInsider, we could be under water by 2100.

Today, the corner of Calhoun Street and King Street, a pinnacle of foot and vehicle traffic in the heart of Charleston, resembles Times Square more than an early pre-Revolutionary historic village.? The once quiet intersection donned by scenic Marion Square is now home to 5 Guys Burgers, Chipotle, Walgreens, Carolina Ale House, Panera Bread, Moe’s Southwestern and Starbucks as well as cranes and development of a new hotel adjacent the Embassy Suites.? We are one digital billboard away from a Shakespearean tragedy.

The crosstown will see a new shopping and living village highlighted by Publix and Joe Riley Stadium will entice you with shopping and dining, before, after and on non game days, making it difficult to have a quiet walk, picnic or fishing day at Brittlebank Park.

If approved, Starbucks will open a location in the hospital district making it the 9th Starbucks on the peninsula.? Eight square miles and nine Starbucks.? That is a difficult concept to swallow given the pride we take in our local business owners.

Development is king and progress is upon us with no indication of a slowdown.? That we know is true.? We know that for the last 3 years, we have witness nothing but cement and wood to the sky, cranes dominating the skyline and no sign of a quiet peaceful city for another five plus years.? All this for progress?? Does progress mean losing our local businesses because rent increases and locals avoiding downtown is forcing them out?

  • Welcome Hyatt
  • Welcome Holiday Inn Express
  • Welcome Dewberry
  • Welcome Marriot
  • Welcome Starbucks
  • Welcome Panera
  • Welcome West Elm

Five years ago, we cherished the idea of staying in a Bed and Breakfast owned by a third-generation family and eating at a quiet cafe watching life pass us by.? We would wave to the carriage rider as he recited stories of our early ancestors.? Those days are going away quickly.

Today, we wait eagerly for Whole Foods, Publix and designer stores to open up across the peninsula.? Chefs are considered local celebrities driving up the cost of dining out, tax rates are forcing us to consider the frequency of social entertainment (10.5% food / 15% alcohol / 9% Sales Tax), average hotel costs are itching up to $300 a night with some exceeding $600 and an evening at the theater or live music will run you $50.00 to $300.00 per person.

Is Charleston for the residents or tourists?? Not a simple question to answer.? With approximately 4.8 million tourists a year, maybe it isn’t about the local residents anymore.

Goodbye Nancy’s and Piggly Wiggly.? Farewell to Crosby’s Fish Market and Andolini’s.? Bon Voyage Norm’s, Cypress and Fish.? You will be missed.

Progress is in full gear.? Colonial Lake had a face life, Sargeant Jasper will soon be gone, Marion Square will be almost exclusively surrounded by hotels, Joe Riley Stadium will be the cornerstone of a new district of shops and restaurants, the expansion north will continue and perhaps we may see the end of the carriage rides and the site of church steeples? over the skyline blessing our coastal home.

It is hard to envision a life without Berlin’s or Burbage’s Grocery; but then again, we didn’t think we would see the end of Millenium Records or Morris Sokol Furniture.

Whether we like it or not, what took nearly 350 years to develop, may be gone in just a decade.