Atlantic developers file lawsuit against Mount Pleasant

A developer who saw the town reject plans for his proposed 246 apartments and 14,000 square feet of retail for this 15-acre site on Ben Sawyer Boulevard has filed a lawsuit against Mount Pleasant.

MOUNT PLEASANT — The company that tried to develop a controversial apartment complex on Ben Sawyer Boulevard has filed a lawsuit against the town for denying an impact assessment that would have allowed the project to be built.

The lawsuit, filed last week by Middle Street Partners in the Charleston County Court of Common Pleas, names the town, Mount Pleasant Mayor Linda Page and all eight Town Council members as defendants.

It seeks to have the court declare that their April decision to deny a conceptual plan and impact statement was wrong, and that the developers have a vested right to proceed. It also seeks monetary damages and money to cover court costs.

Middle Street Partners proposed building a 246-unit apartment complex, plus some retail shops, on the former Channel 4 property where Ben Sawyer Boulevard extends into the marsh toward Sullivan’s Island. Residents complained about its potential impact on traffic and on its surrounding environment. The property already has the necessary zoning but needed town approval for its impact statement.

The Atlantic project has been one of the town’s most controversial proposed developments in a year with no shortage of them. The lawsuit even quotes The Post and Courier’s reporting in which Councilman Chris Nickels described 2015, from a zoning standpoint, as “the year of ‘no.’ ”

But the lawsuit noted the project’s buildings would be no more than 45 feet tall, well below the allowed 55 feet, and that its density would be only 30.6 units per acre, well below the 55 units per acre allowed under town zoning.

Town Council currently is considering redoing its zoning laws to eliminate so-called “bonus densities” that allow developers to build more apartment units if they do certain things, such as set aside open space. If that’s approved, then any future project might qualify for only about half as many units.

Town Administrator Eric DeMoura said Monday that the town does not comment on active or pending litigation.

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.