Affordable Apartment Plan Prevails Again
The Humanities Foundation is still on course to build a $6.9 million, 72-unit apartment complex in the center of Daniel Island, despite yet another swat by residents opposing the plan.
The Charleston Planning Commission voted 6-2 Wednesday, Sept. 21, in support of Charleston City Council’s recommendation last month to amend the city’s zoning ordinance as it applies to this project. The issue will go back to council for another public hearing before the amendment may be approved.
This comes after the Daniel Island Neighborhood Association last week filed an appeal with the Berkeley County circuit court system. That suit aims to undo the Charleston Board of Zoning Appeals’ unanimous denial last month of DINA’s appeal that set in motion this latest threat to the project.
DINA had argued that the apartment plans break the city zoning rules for the site. Charleston city attorney Adelaide Andrews persuaded the board that the city’s interpretation of those rules allows the project.
A similar scenario played out before the Planning Commission, but this time the chairman backed DINA.
Chairman Frank McCann criticized the developer following Daniel Island resident and attorney David Cobb’s claims that the Daniel Island Company, the Humanities Foundation and city planners excluded residents from the planning of this project.
McCann, along with Commissioner Valerie Perry, voted against a motion to approve the amendment. Commissioner Charles Karesh, who moved for approval, was supported by commissioners Byron Geddings, Keith Waring and Barbara Ellison.
This theme of poor communication among the city, The Daniel Island Company and residents emerged earlier in the evening when the commission approved a subdivision request.
In that case, about 28 acres of land at the end of Seven Farms Drive is now set for developers to propose multi-family housing. DINA representatives tried unsuccessfully to persuade the board to defer the matter until residents could view a traffic study.
Resident Tim Callanan argued that traffic from the potentially 200 or more condominiums or apartments, together with traffic from Bishop England High School and nearby residences, would congest the area. City Planner Christopher Morgan said that Seven Farms Drive was designed to handle more traffic than any of those sources would ever generate.
In sharp contrast to the debated agenda items, Callanan spoke in support of a plan before the commission to allow apartments on an unfinished stretch of Blakeway Street. He commended the City of Charleston Housing Authority for early on presenting residents with its plans to create apartments there for middle-income wage earners.