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42 workforce housing units in the works for northern Mount Pleasant

Workforce housing (copy) (copy)

The Cottages at Longborough (above) on Charleston’s upper peninsula are an example of some of the workforce housing provided by Charleston. A plan to provide 42 affordable condominiums in northern Mount Pleasant received unanimous approval from the town's Planning Commission Dec. 18. File

In Mount Pleasant, where the median price of a new home is approaching $500,000, the prospect of lower-cost housing for service industry workers could be welcome news.

The town's Planning Commission unanimously approved a plan in mid-December for 42 workforce housing units on Gregorie Ferry Road and Winnowing Way off S.C. Highway 41 near U.S. Highway 17.

Tony Berry of The Berry Companies, which owns the property through an affiliated firm, said Monday if the project gets zoning approvals from the town by March, plans for permitting could follow in June, with construction starting in September.

He anticipates it will take 12 months to build, and the first units could be delivered by the fall of 2021 if all goes as planned.

If approved by Mount Pleasant Town Council's Planning Committee and the full council, 21 one-bedroom and 21 two-bedroom condominiums could be built with prices ranging from $212,000 to $285,000. 

It would allow people with incomes between $40,000 and $62,000 to own homes in Mount Pleasant. The units are aimed at service providers such as health care workers, firefighters, teachers and police officers as well as seniors and young families.

The project comes with a 75-year deed restriction limiting the future sales price to meet 80 percent of the area median income. The number of residents is limited to two in a one-bedroom unit and four in a two-bedroom unit, under the proposal.

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An organization that promotes attainable housing in Mount Pleasant lauded the commission's decision and the potential for new affordable housing.

“Workforce housing equals economic development,” Wendy Bauerschmidt, executive director of Housing For All — Mount Pleasant said in a statement. “We know there is consensus in the town among elected leaders, public servants and business leadership that there is an urgent need for more workforce housing options in the town."

She called it a "great step forward" to work with the developer on the project.

"We look forward to working with town and elected leaders to solve this crisis," Bauerschmidt said.

The nonprofit group noted more than 70 percent of the town’s workforce lives outside of town because of the high cost of living in Mount Pleasant.

"This creates a commuter community and leads to lower quality service from childcare to retail for Mount Pleasant residents," the group said.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.

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