A divided Charleston County Council approved by the thinnest of margins a plan to re-zone a mile-long, mostly-residential stretch of Folly Road.
The vote happened after Council heard concerns about business development allowed under proposed neighborhood commercial zoning changing the character of the area from Rafael Lane to Battery Island Drive.
Many had argued in favor of more restrictive neighborhood preservation zoning.
"Just delay this. We don't want commercial. We want it to remain residential," said the Rev. Parris Williams.
By a 5-4 vote, Council OK'd neighborhood commercial zoning Tuesday. Council members Vic Rawl, Teddie Pryor, Elliott Summey, Anna Johnson and Henry Darby voted yes. Joe Qualey, Colleen Condon, Herb Sass and Dickie Schweers voted no.
Neighborhood commercial zoning provides more protection against development than the commercial transition zoning that governed the area before the Council vote to change it, Councilwoman Anna Johnson said.
"Anything could be put on Folly Road," she said.
About 100 parcels are affected. Most of them are residences on an acre or two of land. No plans for new commercial development in the area have been announced.
Neighborhood commercial zoning allows enterprises such as a small hotel or motel, health care lab and taxi or limo company. Commercial transition zoning permits uses such as an appliance store, a convention center or visitors bureau.
Before the Council zoning vote, Rawl spoke in favor of protecting the right of those who may want to sell or use their land for business purposes.
"To deprive them of that right is egregious," he said.
Currently, there is a restaurant and bar at the north end of the section of Folly Road affected by the rezoning. There are plans for a brew pub at the south end, Johnson said.