62 new home sites approved for another Daniel Island Park island
Last week the city of Charleston Planning Commission approved a subdivision concept plan for 81.3 acres located on an island across a causeway from Lesesne Street in Daniel Island Park. The subdivision consists of 62 new parcels for single-family detached homes as well as open space and was submitted by the engineering firm Thomas & Hutton on behalf of The Daniel Island Company. It is currently known as Parcel FF.
A large contingent of about 40 concerned residents who live in nearby neighborhoods attended the meeting and expressed opposition to the plan.
David Lamb, whose property is on Lesesne Street and immediately adjacent to a new roadway that will lead across the causeway to the island, asked the commission to defer its decision so that residents would have time to consult professionals as to the environmental, traffic and flooding impacts that the development might create. He specifically noted that despite requests made to the developer and to the city to keep him informed of the project, he felt blindsided by the short notice (less than a week) he received by a sign posted on the property.
Jude Foster, another resident impacted by the development, submitted a petition signed by 38 residents asking that the commission defer its approval for 60 days so that residents could consult with professionals.
James Wilson, the Thomas & Hutton representative who presented the plan, explained that all proper processes were followed, that the subdivision concept plan meets all city regulations, and that development of the parcel has always been a part of the Daniel Island Master Plan. Wilson also noted that the master plan zones the area for 400 homes and that, together with Captain’s Island, the area is only being developed for 160 homes.
During the meeting’s discussion period, members of the commission expressed concern that the developer did not engage in better communication with the community, but that they must approve plans that meet city requirements. The subdivision concept plan passed by a 5-0 vote, with the condition that the applicant meet minimum stormwater and GIS requirements.
Reached by phone after the meeting, Lamb said, “It is very apparent that calling that a public meeting is a misnomer.” He referenced committee members’ statement that their “hands are tied” and that they are “mandated to approve” when an applicant meets all city requirements. Lamb continued, “It is very apparent that citizens have no impact whatever at this meeting.”
Lamb also said that he is seeking a legal opinion and exploring his legal rights and remedies to determine if he and other residents have recourse. He explained that he has heard from many of his neighbors since the meeting and that “a lot of people are not particularly happy about it.”
The Daniel Island Company and DI Development Company president Matt Sloan said last week at a Daniel Island Community Association meeting that he and his partner, Frank Brumley, were particularly proud of this final subdivision as they are developing it at “the lowest density we’ve ever done.”
MASTER PLAN ZONING AMENDMENTS APPROVED
The Planning Commission also approved three amendments to the Daniel Island Master Plan:
• To allow the building of cell phone towers in non-residential areas;
• To permit the building of indoor athletic facilities;
• To increase the building coverage ratio for Daniel Island Business Park from 60% to 80%.
Wilson told the Planning Commission that the original zoning code for Daniel Island, created in 1993, made no provision for cell towers as the widespread use of cellphones was not anticipated at the time.
Eric Schultz, Principal Planner for the Department of Planning, Preservation & Sustainability for the city, said the following day that two of the amendments were related to the new soccer complex planned adjacent to the CubeSmart Self Storage facility and directly across Parkline Avenue from the Talison Row Apartments (see story on page 2) in the area zoned as Daniel Island Business Park: the amendment to allow indoor recreation facilities and the amendment to increase building coverage (impervious surfaces) in the business park from 60% to 80%.
All three amendments need to be approved by City Council before they become a part of the master plan.