The push and pull surrounding the development of an urban corridor along Coleman Boulevard continued Wednesday when Planning Commission members unanimously approved changing building height restrictions.
Current zoning allows 75-foot-tall buildings on three areas along Coleman Boulevard. The new height limit would be reduced to 60 feet. Most other properties in the area have 55-foot restrictions, which would be lowered to 50 feet.
The Planning Commission's recommendation would also allow for "special consideration" on buildings from Simmons Street to Vincent Drive, an area that includes Moultrie Plaza.
The commission's recommendation will be given to Town Council, which will review the issue in August.
Mount Pleasant resident Brett Bennett asked the commission to return to "far more modest" height restrictions.
"Current residents reject the scale and the uninviting urban feel of much of the increased building heights," said Bennett, a member of the Old Village Historic District Commission. "In comparison, if one thinks of the more vibrant streetscape that the plan seeks, it's places like King Street in Charleston, Bay Street in Beaufort and downtown Aiken that people find most appealing."
But Michelle Sinkler, representing the Coastal Conservation League, said her organization supports the current height limits for the sake of limiting sprawl. If development isn't kept to certain areas, she said, Mount Pleasant will quickly spread up the coast toward McClellanville.
"We're not architects," Sinkler said. "I don't know if there's a magic height, and my hope is that whatever plan they come up with can accommodate adequate density and good design."
Town Council adopted the current zoning height restrictions in 2008 to encourage development along Coleman and Ben Sawyer boulevards at the recommendation of the Coleman Revitalization Advisory Board, often called the CRAB. Since then, Mount Pleasant residents, developers and government leaders have clashed multiple times on how best to manage the speed and scale of the city's growth.