Next door to a vacant Food Lion, developers propose building a new grocery store off Long Point Road in Mount Pleasant along with fast-food restaurants and nearly 200 apartments.
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The July 23 meeting of the Mount Pleasant Planning Commission starts at 5 p.m. in the town's municipal complex, 100 Ann Edwards Lane.
Some residents of the nearby Belle Hall subdivision are already bracing for a fight. They say the development would create traffic problems on already-congested roads, while the proposed businesses would duplicate what's already available within walking distance.
"We have plenty of gas stations and restaurants," said Belle Hall resident Ryan Nelson. "They need to work first on the (traffic) flow on Long Point Road."
Josh Martin, a consultant working with the developers, said the Belle Point development would generate $4 million in traffic impact fees for the town of Mount Pleasant, which the town could potentially use for road improvements. He said the developers, all of whom live on Daniel Island and regularly drive on Long Point Road, would naturally want good traffic flow near their new development.
Martin said he's also heard the concerns about building a new grocery store next door to a vacant one. He said the former Food Lion in the Belle Station shopping center has been leased and will soon be a fitness club.
The development site includes a former cement manufacturing plant, truck terminal, and natural gas business, located on both sides of Belle Point Drive between Long Point Road and Paul Foster Road.
"The site is definitely an eyesore," said Martin.
It's also commercial property that Mount Pleasant would like to annex into the town limits.
"We'd certainly like to see the annexation of the land and some sort of improvement to the property," said town Planning Director Christianne Farrell.
She said the town's planning staff does have some concerns about the plan, and added more than two dozen comments to the agenda for the Planning Commission, which will review the project Wednesday..
"The majority of required open space appears to consist of retention ponds and outdoor restaurant seating plazas," said one comment.
"The proposed urban streetscape will consist of two new intersections; neither of which adheres to urban streetscape form," said another.
The Planning Commission's review will be the first of several steps in the town's process. Town Council will also consider the plan, as will the Design Review Board.
Belle Hall resident Kevin Ferraro said the development site is an eyesore now, but at least it's not adding traffic to local streets. In addition to traffic concerns, he doesn't like what's planned there.
"There's going to be a McDonald's and two other fast-food restaurants, and a discount grocery store," he said. "It appears to us to be like the kind of thing you would put along an interstate."
"In my mind, there's no reason this couldn't be more of an integrated development that's more of a destination - things like sidewalk bistros - where people would want to go and spend time," he said. "I would like to see something more inviting, like at Seaside Farms, or I'On, or Freshfields Village."
The three-lane Belle Point Parkway was built by the town in 2003, at a cost of nearly $800,000, to relieve traffic. The road, which runs through the middle of the development site, was meant to create a better link between neighborhoods, shopping, the R.L. Jones Recreational Center, and the town's Fire Station 2.
"No matter what your do, there will always be complaints about traffic," said Ferraro. "Eventually the town will have to do something."
Reach David Slade at 937-5552
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