James Islanders frustrated with no way to stop development

Construction of a new development off Maybank Highway. (Photo by Emily Landeen/WCIV)

By Stacy

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) -- James Islanders were ready for battle Tuesday night; many attended a meeting with city officials to voice their feelings against a new development off Maybank Highway.

Charleston planning director Tim Keane listened to their comments and answered their questions. But, Keane said the debate was nothing new.

"It's something that's been incredibly public and really negotiated and planned in public. So welcome to the process," Keane said.

The plan for the 5-acre plot included a new apartment building and a six-story garage. The land is zoned as a "gathering place district." Keane called it a way to deal with Charleston's growth.

"Most people who live here will be able to walk or ride bike to something. Whether it's to one of the 11 restaurants nearby, the grocery store, the movie theater or the parks here, that's what helps cut down on traffic," Keane said.

But Islanders didn't see it as a way to clear out their congested roads.

"These people are not going to walk to local stores. They cannot walk to schools as was mentioned tonight. It's just going to be a high density housing project," said Patrick Welch, who also spoke during the meeting.

Construction already began on the land; Keane said the best residents could do would be to stay active in city planning, especially with more changes coming to Maybank Highway. He said the city wants to work on making Maybank Highway safer for cyclists, walkers and public transit.

He also said it would take a $20 million check for developers to stop building on the new apartment-building site.