West Ashley revitalization

A view of West Ashley. (File/staff)

Charleston's largest suburb now has an expansive master plans to shape its future.

City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to adopt the West Ashley Master Plan, the document carefully crafted over the past year by city contractor Dover Kohl and the 19-member West Ashley Revitalization Commission to offer a new vision for the community.

The plan sets short and long-term goals to improve West Ashley's roads, drainage systems, bike and pedestrian paths, and the appearance of aging commercial areas such as Sam Rittenburg Boulevard and Savannah Highway. 

Many initiatives will involve collaborating with other governments, including Charleston County, the St. Andrew's Public Services District, and the state Department of Transportation.

Residents, conservationists and historic preservationists applauded the effort. A few opposed it, arguing it encouraged too much residential density in a suburban setting.

Councilman Kevin Shealy of West Ashley said the plan reflected what residents asked for during several public hearings last year.

"What is in here came directly from those conversations," he said.

Councilman Gary White, whose district includes parts of downtown and Daniel Island, said a key goal is to encourage more village-like communities that put residents closer to jobs, stores and other needs so they don't have to drive everywhere.

"That's what ends up creating traffic," he said.

He added that creating and adopting the plan was only the first step of the long-term process to improve West Ashley.

"I would say step two is to make sure we actually execute this plan and don’t put this on the shelf," he said.

Reach Abigail Darlington at 843-937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail.

Abigail Darlington is a local government reporter focusing primarily on the City of Charleston. She previously covered local arts & entertainment, technology, innovation, tourism and retail for the Post and Courier.