Mount Pleasant Council is expected to jump back in the heated debate over just how tall new buildings should be, when the council meets Tuesday evening.
The maximum height of buildings along some of Mount Pleasant's busiest roadways was substantially increased in 2008, as part of a plan to redevelop an "urban corridor" in what's become one of nation's fastest-growing cities.
However, when the first tall building was constructed along Coleman Boulevard in 2013 - a 60-foot-tall apartment complex called The Boulevard - it prompted a backlash from residents. Plans for a 55-foot-tall office building at Shem Creek also raised concerns.
In July the town's Planning Commission recommended that maximum building heights should be reduced along portions of Coleman and Ben Sawyer boulevards, from 55 feet to 50. In the three locations where 75-foot buildings are now allowed, the Planning Commission recommended lowering the limit to 60 feet.
Those locations include the site of The Boulevard, Moultrie Plaza, and Sea Island Shopping Center, plus any land that may be incorporated into a development plan for one of those three sites.
Bill Eubanks, creative director of Urban Edge Studio at Seamon, Whiteside & Associates, authored Mount Pleasant's master plan for revitalizing Coleman Boulevard, and he doesn't think the height limit changes proposed by the Planning Commission would work well.
Eubanks said buildings in many cases would need to be as tall as the current rules allow, to accommodate the number of building floors that the Planning Commission recommends allowing. He said limiting 5-story buildings to a height of 60 feet, and 4-story buildings to 50 feet, as proposed, is impractical because of the space needed for mechanical equipment and duct work.
Councilman Gary Santos has been perhaps the most vocal member of Town Council, when it comes to advocating a scaling-back of the changes the town made years ago to encourage urban-style development. Prior to 2008, the height limit was 35 feet.
"People come here for a reason," Santos said. "If we build these big buildings, it will look like Anywhere USA. I want us to be special."
The Town Council meeting is set to begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the municipal complex at 100 Ann Edwards Lane.
Reach David Slade at 937-5552
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