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Moratorium Planned For Johns Island Residential Development As Area Keeps Growing

Homes being built on Johns Island (WCIV)

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg is grappling with growth by promoting better planning in handling the amount of people moving to Johns Island.

Driving along Maybank Highway near River Road means maneuvering through another Lowcountry construction zone. And it's causing delays and driver frustration.

“You got traffic everywhere. We can’t keep up with who lives here already. So, kind of get stuck in and out coming here 12 o’clock on a Saturday,” said Curtis Gabbert, who lives on Johns Island.

“5,266 we started with in 2010. And then mid-last year, we were at 8,628,” explained Brad DeVos, co-founder of the Johns Island Community Association. He was referring to the population increase in the city limits. DeVos uses a large map to keep track of trends. He favors Mayor Tecklenburg’s plan to put a stop to new housing until later this year.

“We’re pretty realistic in knowing that a 6-month moratorium is not going to do anything to stop growth on Johns Island,” he said. “But it could force the developers and the city and some of the residents to get together to formulate a really good plan going forward.”

DeVos estimates about 400 homes a year are built in the city limits of Johns Island. That’s why he and others believe there needs to be a break on building so road and utility upgrades can keep up with the demand.

“There’s a lot of stuff being built very fast. And the roads aren’t really equipped for it. So it’s probably the best idea for the people of Johns Island,” said Thea Scerling, a long-time resident of Johns Island.

Charleston city councilman Marvin Wagner isn’t a fan of the idea. “I don’t like moratoriums, but we got behind the curve,” he said. “At least it’s a start.”

But he admits something needs to be done to catch up with infrastructure needs.

The mayor will present his plan to city council on Tuesday.

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