SUMMERVILLE — Imagine showing up for a hearing on a proposal to control growth, and you can't find a parking place because builders in pickup trucks have taken all the spaces.
It's a scene that Phillip Ford, executive vice president of the Charleston Trident Home Builders Association, is hoping for Monday outside Dorchester County Council chambers.
Council is holding a public hearing next week on a proposal to require developers to demonstrate that roads and schools could handle more people before a new development can be approved. Ford says the ordinance would kill the local housing industry, which employs 5,500 people.
He sent out a message this week urging builders to show up at the meeting in their trucks and work clothes, filling the parking lot around the county building.
He calls it a "Save Our Jobs Rally: Line Up the Trucks!"
"I'm going to have to prove to them (councilmen who support the ordinance) how many people they're affecting," Ford said. "If Mr. Feltner and Mr. Rosebrock can't find a place to park, maybe they'll get the message."
County Councilmen Jamie Feltner and Richard Rosebrock have been pushing the proposal that is also being considered by the town of Summerville. It's called the adequate public facilities ordinance.
The Charleston Trident Association of Realtors opposes the ordinance. They say it would hurt a housing market that's already faltering and raise home prices.
The Realtors and homebuilders have teamed up to place ads and mail out a postcard opposing the ordinance. They hired Geechie Communications, owned by Rep. Jim Merrill, R-Daniel Island, to design the card, Ford said. A bigger campaign is likely, although a budget has not been set, Ford said.
"We just want to educate people," Ford said.
The Greater Summerville/Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce also has taken a stand against the proposed ordinance.
County Council spent about an hour and a half talking about the ordinance at a planning meeting Friday, Chairman Larry Hargett said.
"I'm even more convinced that we need to look at it in more detail," Hargett said. "It's a far more complex issue than we ever thought it was."
Summerville Town Council spent about an hour Monday morning talking about its version of the proposed ordinance. The consensus was that the proposal needs a lot of work before the town can consider it for first reading.
"We're talking about everything under the sun, and 90 percent of it doesn't have anything to do with what we're trying to do," Mayor Berlin Myers said.
Councilman Aaron Brown urged town officials to get busy on a new draft.
Summerville's Planning Commission gave the ordinance a cool reception when they considered it without a vote last month.
"I found this to be pretty faulty as a document and not very applicable to our circumstances," Planning Commission Chairwoman Ellen Segelken said.
The wording of the ordinance needs work, but the town and the county should not back off the concept, Town Councilman Howard Bridgman said.
"If roads and schools are already overcrowded, it doesn't make much sense to make them more crowded," Bridgman told the Planning Commission.