The S.C. Supreme Court upheld a circuit court judge’s order preventing a developer’s attempt to build more homes near the Dunes West golf course in Mount Pleasant.
The high court unanimously ruled on Jan. 9 that the township of Mount Pleasant was not in violation when it denied a request by John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods and Weiland’s Dunes West Golf Club LLC to construct 32 homes on 18 acres off S.C. Highway 41. Dunes West Golf Club alleged in the suit that the town’s zoning of its property was a violation of its right to due process and equal protection under the law. It also claimed that the town had unfairly taken away its right to develop the land.
Katie Fowler Monoc, an attorney for Dunes West Golf Club, said the company was “still evaluating the matter” as of Wednesday.
Atlanta-based John Wieland Homes purchased the 256-acre, 18-hole golf course at Dunes West for $4 million in 2005. Its plans to build homes on a portion of the land came into question when Mount Pleasant Town Council voted in 2006 to rezone golf course property after some struggling or bankrupt courses were being sold to housing developers. The change prohibited the 32 homes without Town Council approval. In 2008, Dunes West Golf Club sought to rezone the 18 acres for home sites, but the Planning Commission recommended denial and the company withdrew its request.
The golf club applied for rezoning again in June 2009. Town Council rejected the request, and the developer appealed the decision to Circuit Court, where Judge Markley Dennis ruled in favor of Mount Pleasant.
The Supreme Court said the zoning change may have decreased the market value of the land, but did not erase all the economically beneficial uses.
Mount Pleasant mayor Billy Swails applauded the decision.
“We are pleased by the Supreme Court’s ruling and support of the town’s decision to protect the quality of life of our residents, not just in Dunes West, but in other neighborhoods that include a golf course,” Swails said.
Reach Tyrone Richardson at 843-937-5550 and follow him on Twitter @tyrichardsonPC.