Errantly clearing the way

  • Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 7:24 p.m., Updated: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 7:47 p.m.

You can expect the South Carolina Legislature to cause some mischief while in session in Columbia, though usually at the state level. But in May 2012, the passage of a concurrent resolution sponsored by members of the Charleston County Legislative Delegation opened up an avenue for development that residents of a James Island subdivision thought, with justification, had long been closed.

The resolution seeks to trump a law, though that normally isn't done, as the attorney general's office has noted in other instances. And the resolution included the name of Rep. Peter McCoy, who says he never signed on.

That's of some importance, since Rep. McCoy, a Republican, is James Island's resident lawmaker.

So residents who oppose the extension of Harbortowne Road are being forced to take the matter to court. A hearing is scheduled today.

And Rep. McCoy has been doing what he can to support their cause, including trying to find another access point to the property.

(Nearby residents don't oppose the development, just the traffic that would be added to Harbor Woods subdivision, which they contend already sees more than its share.)

The law in question was approved by the Legislature in 1986, and added three local roads to the state system, while closing Harbortowne Road where it ended. The law was sponsored by then Rep. Woody Aydlette, R-James Island.

Last year's resolution was sponsored by Rep. Chip Limehouse, R-Charleston, at the request of a landowner seeking access to his property.

Rep. Limehouse told our reporter he wasn't aware of the potential development. But he defended the resolution, saying, "A property owner has the right to have access to his property."

In this case, however, other issues first needed to be resolved.

Meanwhile, the city of Charleston has approved the residential development, with road access at Harbortowne.

To put it charitably, more research was in order: about the law, the legislative resolution, the viewpoint of the neighborhood, the position of Rep. McCoy, and the possibility of other access.

As Rep. McCoy said, "Something went wrong."

Those who might think otherwise should consult those residents who are having to pay the expense of a lawsuit in an attempt to halt the Harbortowne extension.

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