Protect this ‘rural place’

I would like to express my thanks to the Preservation Society of Charleston for hosting an informative meeting on Nov. 14. I was privileged to be one of the panel members discussing “Preservation and Conservation: Saving Rural Places.”

In particular, we discussed the Cainhoy, Wando, Huger area, to be greatly impacted by the looming development of 9,000 acres of the Guggenheim Cainhoy Plantation.

I am equally grateful to the other three panel members: Elizabeth M. Hagood, executive director of Lowcountry Open Land Trust; Dana Beach, executive director of the S.C. Coastal Conservation League; and Carter Hudgins, director of graduate program in Historic Preservation for Clemson University and the College of Charleston, for sharing their grave concerns and distress over these development plans. The discussion was lively, and all are in agreement that this is happening much too quickly.

As a fifth-generation Cainhoy Village resident who has seen drastic changes to this area already, I can speak to the angst this massive project brings to the entire community. There has been only one presentation prior to today’s 5 p.m. Planning Commission meeting at 75 Calhoun Street.

We rely on experts in conservation, historic preservation, etc., to voice their concerns. This 9,000-acre tract is one of the last environmentally pristine, historically significant places in this area. To jump into developing it without much more study would be sinful.

Many issues still need to be discussed. We will be counting on our representative on City Council, Gary White, to be involved in facilitating the community input, as well as Tim Keane of City of Charleston Planning, Preservation and Sustainability to see to it that no voting by the Planning Commission or City Council takes place until all parties involved are heard from and issues are discussed or resolved.

MaeRe Chandler Skinner

Cainhoy Village Road

Wando

Developers want public input

Several pieces have been published in this newspaper concerning the master plan for Cainhoy Plantation. The Cainhoy property is a special piece of land, treasured by the Guggenheim family since they acquired it over 80 years ago. With this sense of responsible stewardship to the land and the community, the Guggenheim family and related landowners have begun the painstaking process of creating a master plan for Cainhoy, just as they did for Daniel Island when it was part of the family’s property holdings.

I am extremely fortunate to represent the Guggenheim family interests and a Guggenheim corporate entity called Cainhoy Land & Timber in addition to my primary role as president of the Daniel Island Company. I came to Charleston over 20 years ago as a representative for the Guggenheim Foundation to help initiate a modern day Daniel Island, and I have continued to look out for their land interests.

In the early and mid 1990s, both Cainhoy and Daniel Island were annexed into the City of Charleston and zoned with the required entitlements for development. Master planning work for Cainhoy began in earnest several years ago when the city and the Berkeley County School District asked to reserve land for a high school. Our planning has involved numerous meetings with city staff and special interest groups.

The enormously talented team (land planners, engineers, wildlife experts, environmental consultants, etc.) behind the planning is largely the same as those who were charged with execution of the multiple award winning Daniel Island Community. However, the vision and plan for Cainhoy will be unique to this land and location.

Master plans for development help ensure cohesive, logical solutions to growth. Cainhoy landowners recognize this planning process as critical to preventing unfettered growth. The Guggenheim family and corporate interests have an internationally recognized commitment to excellence in everything they do.

At a well-attended community information session last month, several points of progress were viewed as welcome milestones by those living in the Cainhoy area — a timeline for the widening of Clements Ferry Road, securing an agreement to bury future electrical transmission lines paralleling this central artery, and a sizable contribution of right of way for future widening projects.

The plan for Cainhoy involves working with neighborhood groups, studying environmental issues and preserving historic resources. When implemented over the next 30 or more years, the result will be a mixed use community featuring a wide array of housing types and price points. Two strong commercial zones will become major sources of employment. A public park and greenway network will be extensive. Lastly, vast portions of the property will remain as permanent open space.

The City of Charleston has a rigorous and fair review process that will formally commence today with a Planning Commission meeting starting at 5 p.m. at 75 Calhoun Street. This information session will enable commission members and the public to learn more and comment. No vote will be requested, and we look forward to working with the surrounding communities to learn more about how we can best be a welcome addition to the area.

Matt Sloan

Representative, Cainhoy Land & Timber

Guggenheim Family Entities

Seven Farms Drive

Charleston