Residents pack meeting on Sergeant Jasper redevelopment plan

Neighborhood residents and the Preservation Society of Charleston have raised concerns about the Beach Company’s plans for the Sergeant Jasper site. Company officials say they have gathered a great deal of public input and modified the project design.

It was standing-room-only Thursday at a meeting on the Beach Company’s plan for the area where the Sergeant Jasper apartment building now stands.

Charleston City Councilman Mike Seekings said he called the meeting at the Charleston Museum to inform the public about the city’s zoning and approval processes for the property on Colonial Lake.

The Beach Co., which plans to redevelop the 6.4-acre property, will make a presentation on its plan to the city’s Planning Commission at 5 p.m. Feb. 18, in the third-floor Meeting Room in the Charleston County School District building at 75 Calhoun St.

City Council ultimately must approve the plan.

But Seekings said the project has drawn a great deal of attention, and he’s received numerous calls and emails from constituents about it. He wanted to give people information so they would be informed when they attended the Planning Commission meeting.

Karen Bacot, the Beach Co.’s director of marketing, said Seekings had invited company leaders to make a presentation on their project at the meeting. The company welcomed the opportunity to do that, she said. But Seekings later rescinded the offer.

Seekings is considering running for mayor in November. Longtime Charleston Mayor Joe Riley has announced he will not seek re-election.

The proposed plan for the area, which has been submitted to the city’s planning department, includes about 454 multi-family housing units, a 35,000-square-foot grocery store and about 700 parking spaces.

It will include three buildings. Two of them will be four stories tall. The third will be four stories along the street and up to seven stories in the center of the building.

Now there are only 225 residential units, 17,000 square feet of non-residential space, and 180 parking spaces on the site,

The Preservation Society of Charleston last week issued a warning to residents that the Beach Co.’s plan for the area on Broad Street includes intense development that’s not appropriate for the historic area, and that the process by which the city plans to evaluate and approve the proposal would limit public input.

Kent Johnson, the Beach Co.’s vice president for development, said he’s made eight public presentations on the plan since September. And the city’s approval process allows several more opportunities for public input.

Seekings asked people who attended the meeting to complete a questionnaire on the plan. He will release the results after he compiles the data.

Reach Diane Knich at 843-937-5491 or on Twitter at @dianeknich.