MOUNT PLEASANT — In a land development deal said to be crucial to the survival of Trident Academy, a plan to build 19 homes on the recreation fields behind the school received one of several approvals needed from the town Wednesday.
Members of the Planning Commission bemoaned the loss of open space and a soccer field, in use for about 40 years, but said the survival of the school for children with disabilities such as dyslexia was crucial.
Residents of adjacent neighborhoods urged the commission to reject a proposed change to the town’s Comprehensive Plan allowing three homes per acre on the open space. A petition with 316 signatures was delivered to the Planning Commission by Detyens Road resident Sara Frankel, whose home backs up to the playing field.
“For many years, we thought it was public space,” said Frankel, who along with others suggested the town should buy the land.
Trident Academy Executive Committee President Mike Jeresaty said the development deal was the school’s best option.
“The reason we are selling the land is to survive,” Jeresaty said. “Our school is in a cash crunch.”
The land deal calls for home construction on the open space, while Trident Academy would lease the school building, initially for 10 years, from developer Stefan Hoyer. Hoyer’s company has owned the school building since August 2015.
Hoyer told the Planning Commission the school was perhaps three months away from having to shut down when he arranged the deal. He said the 19 homes would become part of the Wakendaw Lakes community, joining the home owners association there.
The commission voted 4-2 to recommend approving the Comprehensive Plan change, establishing the homes-per-acre density. Commissioners Kathy Smith and Joseph Wren cast the dissenting votes, with Alys Campaigne absent.
The commission’s recommendation will go next to Town Council’s Planning & Development Committee, then on to Town Council for final action.
Reach David Slade at (843) 937-5552 or twitter.com/DSladeNews.