New development near Stratford? City says, 'Not yet'

This photo shows the sun at a point in the sky blocked by trees in the past. A landowner recently cleared trees from the property, prompting questions from those in the community if the land was/is under development. (Brian Troutman / WCIV)

The photo above shows the sun shining through the trees behind Stratford High School and the Food Lion on College Park Road Wednesday. What makes this natural occurrence noteworthy is that normally much of the light from the sun is blocked from that angle until later in the morning.

Over the weekend trees and shrubs were cleared from several acres of land behind the shopping center and near the school. The work was obvious to those living in the area, who began to post questions on social media, curious about what new development may be headed to the area of Goose Creek some believe plays second-fiddle to St. James Avenue.

City officials confirmed the situation had people talking. They were also was able to confirm there is nothing being developed on the property near Stratford High School... yet.

Goose Creek officials posted something similar on the city's Facebook page, stating there had been no permits filed for construction.

"We have now been told nothing is going in there, they were clearing it for timber. We weren't aware because nobody pulled a permit to construct anything," the post read.

While there's nothing new on the horizon for College Park Road as of now, there are developments in Goose Creek the city wants those living there to be aware of.

The Lidl grocery store on St. James is now under construction, and there is a Starbucks soon to take up residence in an old gas station located at the intersection of St. James and Central Avenue.

Goose Creek Planning and Zoning Director Kara Browder said it isn't a situation where College Park plays second fiddle, but likely more of an issue of zoning in areas of College Park where residents would like to see development.

"That area is kinda intermixed with Goose Creek and the county," she said.

Given that formula, zoning ordinances and guidelines play a role in how attractive the area may be to a potential developer.

Like it or not, Goose Creek is growing. Browder said phones have been ringing nonstop, and there has been a constant flow of folks coming in, interested in commercial property in Goose Creek.

In addition to Lidl and Starbucks, there are several medical office buildings planned for the area of St. James Avenue and Fairfax. Browder said the new Roper St. Francis Hospital at Highway 17A and Highway 176 has drawn the interest of those in related fields. There's also a newly-permitted medical office complex at Carnes Crossroads with a retail component where it's hoped new businesses and restaurants can set up shop.

“Since day one when I started, it has been a constant," Browder said. "We have so much that is available and ripe for development.”

What's bringing developers and business owners to Goose Creek? Browder said it's the small town atmosphere in close proximity to other areas. She said it's an ideal situation for many business owners.

"I think we have a lot to offer in the way of having that small town vibe," she said.

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