Shem Creek garage deal, neighborhood cut-through expected to stoke lively debate at council meeting

The developer of a controversial planned office building and parking garage at Coleman Boulevard and Mill Street will see the agreement go before Town Council on Tuesday.

MOUNT PLEASANT — Tuesday’s Town Council meeting is expected to be lengthy and lively as members decide plans for a Shem Creek parking garage and limiting cut-through traffic in The Groves neighborhood.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m., and Mayor Linda Page quipped, “I’ve told council members to bring their pajamas.”

Many residents of The Groves are asking that all four of their neighborhood’s entrances off Johnnie Dodds Boulevard be closed off to prevent cut-through traffic between there and Coleman Boulevard.

But Page said she has received about 50 emails both for and against, including from some residents of Cooper Estates who fear the cut through-traffic simply will be pushed one street over. “The Groves has turned into a hotbed,” she said.

The headwaters of Shem Creek have limited the number of connecting roads between Johnnie Dodds and Coleman between Bowman Road and Houston Northcutt Boulevard.

The second item of interest involves a private parking garage and office complex planned just south of Shem Creek.

Page said she is not sure of the details of what will go before council Tuesday, but she said town officials and developer Tex Small are meeting today.

The nonprofit group Save Shem Creek — which was founded in response to this project and related development concerns — has sent out an email asking its members to attend Tuesday’s meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. at Town Hall.

Last year, Town Council agreed to use about $2.7 million of its hotel taxes over the next 15 years to subsidize the garage so that it would be available for public parking on nights and weekends, when the creek’s bars and restaurants see their peak business.

But the developer, Tex Small, since has contacted the town about including fewer spaces than he originally proposed.

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.