Diane Knich's March 6 article was accurate, but readers should have more information. James Island Town Hall was standing-room-only on March 5; well over 100 people attended to hear from the city. City of Charleston planning director Tim Keane spouted the same old line that the city had informed island residents of all activities.
Several attendees stated, however, that even though they lived in the affected areas, they had not been contacted and had not attended previous meetings. Others stated that what had been approved is not what is being built. Mr. Keane also said that traffic studies had found that Folly Road traffic was static; it had not grown and was no worse over several years. Really?
Over the past year, Charleston County, the town of James Island, the Public Service District and city of Charleston representatives have been meeting to create a standardized building and business plan to allow jurisdictions to get along on Folly Road.
Mr. Keane informed the attendees that the city of Charleston has withdrawn from this "overlay" program because they have a "better" program. The city will decide what is best for the whole island. It's the same old arrogant hogwash we have seen and heard for the past 20 years from the city.
The city has put more than 2,000 apartments on the island and plans over 1,000 more. The town has less than 100 apartments within its boundaries. The city feels that the island can hold six residential properties per acre, even though the town has voted in all four incarnations that only three per acre is what the island can sustain.
People move to James Island for breathing room between houses and for beautiful tree-lined roads. The first "gathering place" allowed by the city destroys many grand trees to build parking lots and 280 apartments and puts them in an already overcrowded area along Maybank Highway. More complexes are planned.
The city forced completion of I-526. The plan includes two interchanges built along Central Park Road, a small two-lane road, and another at Riverland Drive, also a two-lane rural road. The only way Central Park Road could accommodate the traffic would be to become a four-lane road. Wonder of wonders, now the city is proposing another large apartment complex near the intersection of Central Park Road and Fleming Road (the other end of Fleming is where the "gathering place" apartments are being built) - again increasing traffic, this time on both Folly Road and Maybank Highway, and endangering the children who play along Fleming Road.
The town of James Island is an established entity. The city of Charleston lost its bid to take over all of the island. However, this is not the end of the story.
The population density of the island is already over 2,000 people per square mile and the city is doubling it, while the density citywide is around 1,100 per square mile.
As long as the city forces huge increases in population, destroys the environment and clogs the roadways, islanders will continue to fight. At least some of us don't pay city taxes to get inadequate representation.
I wonder how many islanders in the city have "buyer's regret." Maybe some day the island might be allowed to live in peace.
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