Hanahan council denies rezoning of tract for school
Hanahan City Council unanimously denied Tuesday the Berkeley County School District's request to rezone a tract near Tanner Plantation for a new elementary school.
The means the new school will not be built on the Bowen Village tract unless significant changes are made to the application, city officials said. That's the only way it can come before council again.
School board Chairman Kent Murray said that is a possibility.
"All options are still on the table," he said. "We will start over. We just want what is best for the children of Hanahan."
Before the vote, school district officials and landowner Ray Wrenn tried to convince council to pass the first reading because they still could have denied the second reading in January.
School district officials discussed pulling the issue off the table but decided to let council vote.
A standing-room-only crowd of spectators cheered when the vote was taken, but after the meeting, Councilman Michael Sally said, "Nobody won tonight. There ain't no spiking the football. But hopefully it will help us produce a better school product. We're going to get better at working together and we're going to get better at this process."
In November 2012, Berkeley County voters approved a $198 million bond referendum to renovate and build schools. Since then, Berkeley County School District officials have considered several possible school sites in Hanahan.
At public hearings last week, several residents said it seemed like the council and the district were at odds.
Representatives from the city, the school district and the landowner met for more than six hours before the council meeting on Tuesday to try to hash out concerns that have been brought up at public meetings.
The Hanahan planning commission last month voted 7-0 to deny the district's request to rezone that land.
Some of the issues include traffic in the Tanner Ford-Foster Creek area, the size of the tract and the number of planned parking spaced.
In addition, city officials are concerned about a projected $200,000 per year loss of revenue if the school replaced planned residential units and that the roads leading to the site are privately owned. City officials also wanted a deed restriction on the site that would guarantee that all children who live in Hanahan would attend Hanahan schools. Currently, some residents are zoned for Goose Creek schools.
The tract was increased from 10.88 acres to 12.1 acres as a result of Tuesday's meeting, but solutions to other concerns weren't presented until the city council meeting, leaving councilmen feeling unprepared to make a decision.
Council agreed to discuss the matter in executive session before voting, but changed their minds after a protest from The Post and Courier that the issue did not meet the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act to be discussed in executive session because the city was not involved in the contract.
Mayor Minnie Newman-Caldwell said she does not believe the vote would have been different if council had discussed it in closed session.
"To me, we needed answers on all of the issues that we talked about earlier and they weren't ready," she said.
"Even the owner of the property said he needed more time."
Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or @brindge on Twitter.