Developer pulls zoning request for Central Mount Pleasant pulled

MUSC’s new East Cooper facility is one of the first parts of Central Mount Pleasant, but the developer has withdrawn a zoning request to allow a retirement center on surrounding property.

A controversial revision to the zoning plan for Central Mount Pleasant — a 100-acre development between Midtown Avenue and Rifle Range Road — is going back to the drawing board.

Town Council’s Planning & Development Committee was scheduled to consider the request Monday, but the developer instead chose to withdraw it.

The mixed-use development already is home to a Medical University of South Carolina’s East Cooper facility, and developer Hassell Tract Associates was seeking the town’s permission to increase the allowed number of residences, reduce the amount of retail stores and add a continuing-care retirement community.

But the project stirred up surrounding residents who voiced concerns about everything from traffic congestion to a bald eagle’s nest in one of the property’s large trees.

The developer intended to leave that part of the property undisturbed and develop it as a park only if and when the eagles vacate the nest, according to a Feb. 18 letter to the town from Ashley Heggie, an agent for the developer.

But that did not stem residents’ concerns, and the project was one of several in the cross hairs of Save Shem Creek, a new nonprofit group of residents concerned about the quality and quantity of the town’s proposed development.

After dozens of residents turned out in opposition, the town’s Planning Commission voted unanimously last month to recommend against the Central Mount Pleasant zoning changes.

Town Council has tried to quiet residents’ larger concerns over growth by changing its zoning laws to eliminate the possibility of denser multifamily developments, to increase development fees and possibly to buy more land for open space.

Council’s Economic Development committee is expected to hear from developers, residents and others about those changes during a special meeting at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Alhambra Hall.

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.