When Moliere, in the 17th century, said, "unreasonable haste is the direct road to error," he could have been talking to Cainhoy Plantation's 21st century developers.

Despite conservationists, preservationists, historians and neighbors pleading for more time to review and contribute to plans, developers stayed on the fast track - and the city of Charleston went along with them.

Now, they're having to contend with having gone down "the direct road to error." With much to do in little time, they failed to consult with the adjacent BP Amoco Chemical Co. Big mistake.

It turns out BP has "significant concerns about the plan" and wants to review it to consider whether the "safety, well-being and enjoyment" of future residents would be compatible with the company's industrial operations. BP and Cainhoy Plantation are separated only by wetlands.

In a letter to the city's Planning Commission prior to its decision to approve the developers' rezoning request, plant manager Mark E. Fitts wrote, "Simply stated, in our view it is not prudent to create residential development right next door to a chemical plant."

The BP Cooper River facility has a track record as a safe and environmentally sound facility, but Mr. Fitts says a dense development would come with "inherent risk" and require proper analysis and appropriate mitigation.

BP's industrial footprint covers 550 of the company's 6,000 acres, but it maintains the right to modify or expand the industrial activity on the property.

Further, BP's strong commitment to conservation involves controlled burns that are "not conducive to developing an adjacent residential property."

Because of BP concerns, developers last week asked the city to defer until May its rezoning of a 1,550-acre piece of the 9,000-acre property.

The developers and BP officials now are talking about the situation. But who knows how many other errors might be prevented with some more time?

How many historic sites might be uncovered? How many valuable natural assets might be identified?

Neighbors are concerned that plans are moving along for a new school on the property faster than are plans to widen Clement's Ferry Road to accommodate increased traffic. (See Henry Skinner's letter on this page.)

Cainhoy Plantation developers insist they have not rushed the process, but have worked on it for years.

But the public and people with information about the site's ecological and historical significance have only recently been allowed to become involved, and they need more time.