Town eroding rural heritage
I am a resident of Awendaw. I am also among the majority of residents who oppose the current antiquated high-density comprehensive plan for the town, established 17 years ago.
This plan was adopted to give families of low income the ability to allow aging parents and children to share small parcels of property. It was also intended to preserve the rural heritage of this community.
What is happening now is that large parcels of land are being bought by out-of-state developers who are "annexing" into the town's current comprehensive plan.
This allows high-density development so that they can build multiple houses on lots with large profits in mind.
Gated communities and high-priced homes will cause residents' taxes to go up and our rural heritage to be lost.
Two public hearings were held on one proposed development, the King Tract.One meeting was held a few weeks ago that apparently the town forgot to advertise, so all of us who packed town hall were told our opinions were negated. At that hearing over 95 percent were against the planning commission allowing the development proposal to go through.
Recently, the town's planning commission held another public hearing on this same proposal. At this meeting, the majority of speakers again spoke against the plans for the King Tract, which would put close to 1,000 more homes in Awendaw, more than doubling its population.
What is the purpose of a public hearing if the majority of residents' wishes are not being heard?
The planning commission is in the process of concluding a revised comprehensive plan because the majority of residents have written and spoken adamantly against the antiquated comprehensive plan.
We see how developers are taking advantage of it. All we asked was for the planning commission to delay the latest proposal until the revision of the new comprehensive plan was in place. The King Tract plan goes against densities recommended for this area by the Charleston County Comprehensive Plan. Charleston County is in financial distress and has indicated it cannot continue assuming costs that municipal developments force upon it.
Therefore the burden of fire protection, schools, roads, sheriff's patrols, trash, etc. will all be placed on the Town of Awendaw.
Awendaw itself is in a financial strain due to poor planning in completing its water system, and it still needs at least $1 million more to get it going. Unfortunately, the planning commission recommended allowing this development to go through with very few minor changes.
It is extremely hard to understand that the Town of Awendaw was incorporated to preserve our rural heritage and community, as the commission and council are voting to destroy it.
It is upsetting to see elderly residents who have had generations of family living here, show up at these public hearings, with walking canes in hand, to speak against these developments and to watch them leave, crying.
Quality of life, preservation of heritage and this rural community are at stake. It is sad what is happening to Awendaw.
Iron Swamp Road
Editor's note: Awendaw Town Council voted 3-2 on Thursday to give initial approval to the King Tract plan.