Shem Creek, Gadsden Creek hearings set for Wednesday

The developer of a controversial planned office building and parking garage at Coleman Boulevard and Mill Street is seeking a state land disturbance permit. A hearing on it is set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

State regulators will hold two separate hearings Wednesday evening to get information about a proposed office building on Shem Creek and plans to cover over a tidal ditch west of Lockwood Boulevard.

The Office of Coastal Resource Management, a division of the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, is holding both hearings, each of which is open to the public and scheduled to last two hours.

The Shem Creek hearing begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Mount Pleasant Waterworks building, 1619 Rifle Range Road. At issue there is a land disturbance permit sought by the developer of a proposed office and parking garage.

The Charleston hearing will begin at 7 p.m. at the city’s Arthur Christopher Gym on Fishburne Street just east of Hagood Avenue. At issue is WestEdge’s plans to convert what is left of Gadsden Creek into a covered drainage pipe. The pipe also would include a tidal gate that would limit local flooding in the area during high tides.

Both plans have their detractors.

The Shem Creek office building has been hotly opposed by residents, who formed the Save Shem Creek nonprofit to fight it. The group has not succeeded in appealing a town zoning decision clearing the way for the project, but it did help convince Town Council to withdraw its planned subsidy for the project’s parking garage, which was to serve customers to Shem Creek bars and restaurants.

The nonprofit group Charleston Waterkeeper has been speaking against plans to cover over what remains of Gadsden Creek, which they said should be incorporated into the WestEdge development, formerly known as the Horizon Project.

The group says it supports the development itself, which includes a series of residential, commercial and office buildings with a special focus on biomedical research jobs. Gadsden Creek once snaked through the area but was altered significantly by a mid-20th century landfill.

The state is expected to gather information at Wednesday’s hearing but could announce its permit decisions in the coming weeks.

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.