SULLIVAN'S ISLAND-A series of meetings on the future of the island's commercial district came to an end Thursday with a presentation of a master plan that included increasing street parking on the town's main drag and modifying commercial land uses.
Brushing off talk of a slowing economy, local officials and real estate agents gathered Tuesday to talk about how to handle the 85,000 new residents they expect to move into Charleston County over the next 12 years.
Buy land on the outskirts of town, build hundreds of homes on roads that all lead to the same highway, and then watch the government scramble to deal with the traffic and the inevitable demands for recreational facilities, schools and public services.
Drive to the shopping center, drive to the school, drive to the park, and curse the cones from the latest road-widening project.
That's the way development has played out for many years in suburbs throughout the Charleston area.
But it's starting to change.
A controversial proposal to build a four-lane toll road across part of Johns Island will be considered this afternoon by a Charleston County Council committee.
Councilman Paul Thurmond has proposed a resolution that would ask the state Department of Transportation to seek proposals for construction of the Sea Islands Parkway.
"It pretty much puts the ball in SCDOT's hands, and says look, we want to get going with this," Thurmond said.
SUMMERVILLE - A decade ago, a Revolutionary War cannon was found in Four Hole Swamp west of Ridgeville, pointing north. But when Dorchester County leaders exhibited the old cannon in a small park near the Water and Sewer Department, they mounted it facing south. A county official joked at the time that the cannon would guard against North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey advancing any farther into Dorchester County.
A lot of good that did.
North Charleston, long a poster child of haphazard growth in the Lowcountry, has embarked on an ambitious long-term plan to create a landscape similar to the high-rise necklace of little cities draped around downtown Atlanta.
If successful, this hub-based growth strategy could transform struggling neighborhoods, reduce transportation costs and help knit a new identity for the sprawling city of more than 85,000 residents.
Go ahead. In your mind, climb one of the Cooper River bridge's diamond towers, 575 feet above the harbor, and enjoy the view.
Pretend the sun is low because the softer light brings out the colors of the marshes, rivers and ocean - features that have guided the area's growth for three centuries.
Now, from this lofty throne, imagine how you would shape the area in the next 10 years.