James Island residents worried about proposed 340-unit apartment complex on Maybank Highway

People protested in 2013 in front of the land on Maybank Highway that The Standard apartment complex was to be built on. Now, some James Island residents are worried about the impact of development on an adjacent parcel of land.

Many James Islanders were outraged about plans for The Standard apartment complex on Maybank Highway, and they’re wondering if there’s a way to push back over plans for another dense development next door.

Several dozen island residents gathered Wednesday at Harbor View Elementary School to learn more about what might be built on a 10.5-acre parcel on Maybank Highway between The Standard and the James Island Shopping Center near the intersection of Maybank Highway and Folly Road.

Representatives from the project’s Atlanta-based developer, Core Property Capital, answered questions about early development plans, but didn’t make a formal presentation.

Chip Dillard, the company’s vice president for development, said the plan includes a 340-unit apartment complex, and about 17,000 square feet of commercial space on 8 acres. It also includes a 2.3-acre “tree protection area” on the south end of the property.

Dillard said he only would comment on the proposed plan for the site, not about whether the company would be willing to make any changes to alleviate community concerns about the density.

“I hate it,” said James Island resident Stanley Tarnecky. The development is out of character with the old southern charm of James Island, he said. “This is ‘The Jestsons,’” he said. “I might as well live in Newark.”

In 2013, people protested against The Standard because a developer was clearing all the trees from the wooded 5-acre property. Local residents also said the 280-unit apartment complex and six-level parking garage were inconsistent with the largely residential area, and that it will bring far too much traffic to the already congested Maybank Highway.

Both the new development and The Standard are part of a 22-acre parcel of land, much of which is planned for development.

City Councilwoman Kathleen Wilson, who represents a portion of James Island, said she was angry when she learned the plan included 340-unit apartment complex. “It’s even larger than The Standard,” she said.

And it highlights problems with the city’s “gathering place” zoning, she said.

Areas with that type of zoning are meant to include a mix of residential and commercial space, she said. They are meant to be walkable neighborhoods that include businesses — such as shops, restaurants and offices — that keep James Islanders on the island.

“All we have is a behemoth apartment complex and anther one on the way,” she said. “We need balance. The key to the gathering place is balance.”

Charleston County Councilman Joe Qualey said he also is opposed to the plan, He said opposition to it is galvanizing residents of the city and the town of James Island against developments that are too dense.

Shaniqua Green, who lives near the development, said she was disappointed to learn that the plan doesn’t include any affordable housing units. “There’s nothing in this one,” she said.

City planner Christopher Morgan said people who attended the meeting were invited to submit their comments on the proposal. And, he said, the developer’s plan still must go through a design and review process, which will include at least a couple of public meetings.

Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknch.