Shem Creek group lobbies to keep tall buildings away

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) - Its postcard beauty has graced the pages of magazines and travel brochures for decades, but Shem Creek has become a place packed with diners and boaters.

Now a proposed parking garage may be the final straw for those who want to preserve the area.

So far, more than 2,000 "Save Shem Creek" bumper stickers have circulated, and several websites have popped up. But is that enough to stop certain developments?

"A lot of it stems around the proposed development of an office building and parking garage along Shem Creek, which is out of character for the structures there," said James Scott, one of many fighting the development.

He has joined hundreds of others pushing to keep new buildings at a certain height.

The town's planning commission has recommended lowering the height allowances along Shem Creek.

"It would be 75 feet down to 60, and 55 feet down to 50. I certainly support council and hope they approve that recommendation," Scott said. "Again, we are not against development. What we want to see is the scale of it brought down to fit the surrounding areas. Do we need five-story buildings or would three and four better suit this area?"

But according to the president of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, there's no reason why tall buildings can't mix with older, smaller ones.

"I think as our region grows, I think we have to look for that mix of having both. Thoughtful effective planning that allows for sustainability and growth and honors our heritage and aesthetics as well, as we are growing by 40 people a day, every single day. So we have to get in front of that," Bryan Derreberry said.

But for the Save Shem Creek group, the only thing they plan to get in front of is a podium during Tuesday night's council meeting. Officials will discuss the height allowances at the meeting.

It's set to begin at 6 p.m.