Developer Mungo Homes must return to the drawing board on plans to construct dozens of homes along Ashley River Road in West Ashley.
The city's Board of Zoning Appeals-Site Design voted 4-2 to defer a decision on Mungo Homes' plans to either tear down or build homes closer to about a fourth of the 150 grand trees on the 43-acre plot, which sits between the MacLaura Hall and McLaura Bluff neighborhoods.
The board made the decision to allow Mungo Homes more time to study additional buffers between adjoining neighborhoods.
The panel's decision Wednesday night followed concerns from some neighborhood residents, who said Mungo Homes' design plans do not offer enough buffers between existing communities and the density of the project threatens to add more traffic to a busy West Ashley area.
Wednesday's opposition was also joined by Charleston City Councilman Dean C. Riegel.
"The concern I have is that we can do better on this project," Riegel said. "You add these numbers up and that's 150 grand trees." The proposal is asking for a variance for more than 30 of those trees to be impacted.
"To me, that's a lot, and I think we can do better," he said.
Mungo Homes is seeking a variance to tear down 28 trees to build a total of 95 homes on the 43-acre property. The group is also seeking a variance to build homes in the protection area of 17 grand trees in the development.
Mungo Homes is the latest developer to try to develop the property.
Years ago, another developer, Ashley River Club LLC, proposed to construct the Ashley River Club, a community of 208-townhomes. Those plans eventually failed amid financial problems, city officials said.
Some residents in opposition of the development have also emailed city officials and turned to Mungo's Facebook page to have their concerns voiced.
Michael Murray, a resident of McLaura Bluff, emailed city officials this week to voice his concern about the development.
"There is no buffer provided on either the north or south property line and as you can see on the plan there are new streets that dead end into the back yards of existing McLaura Bluff property owners," he said. "This is completely unacceptable and a gross oversight by the project designer; lights from cars traveling on these streets will not only shine directly into these residence back yards but also into their houses as well."
Murray, an architect, said he's pro-development, but in a "conscientious and responsible manner."
"They have plans with 10 homes in a row and these homes are basically side by side," he said. "The only way they can get that close is to have no trees left on the property."
Mungo officials defended plans during Wednesday's meeting, saying the company has met with area residents and agreed to concessions, adding more buffers between neighboring communities.
"I feel we have put forth the plan based on the quality of those trees," said Walt Martin of Mungo Homes.
Martin added that the density of the neighborhood is similar to those of surrounding communities.
Kim O'Quinn, a spokeswoman for the company, declined to comment on Thursday.
Mungo Homes, based in Irmo, owns several communities in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. The company's local footprint also includes Woodlands, a West Ashley new homes community off Woodland Road.
Reach Tyrone Richardson at 937-5550.