Inn clears planning hurdle

Diane Armstrong wants to operate a bed-and-breakfast in her home in Legend Oaks Plantation.

SUMMERVILLE — Residents of Legend Oaks, a golf-course community on S.C. Highway 61, are embroiled in another feud that's heading for Dorchester County Council.

Council had to intervene earlier this year after Legend Oaks residents clashed over parents parking along the streets to pick up kids from the school across the highway.

This fight is over whether to allow a house to become a bed-and-breakfast inn.

While bed-and-breakfasts are part of residential neighborhoods in historic Charleston and Summer-ville, most modern subdivisions don't allow home businesses because of traffic concerns.

The Dorchester County Planning Commission is recommending that council approve this one.

Diane Armstrong, a retired information budget mana- ger for the Pentagon who moved to Legend Oaks two years ago, argues that her house near the subdivision entrance on Legend Oaks Way is not part of the homeowners' association and therefore not bound by the covenants.

Armstrong's home is one of four houses that were not included in the association when Legend Oaks was sold to a new developer several years ago, she told the planning commission Sept. 18.

Several residents said she should abide by the covenants anyway. They cited fears of attracting other businesses and said the extra traffic could endanger pedestrians and children.

Armstrong wants to rent out three bedrooms to overnight guests. She said she has plenty of room for parking in the driveway because the house is several hundred feet from the street.

Supporters include Legend Oaks Golf Club General Manager Jim Chickarello and a resident who said it would be nice to have a place in the neighborhood where out-of-town guests could stay.

But opponents include Karen Halley, a retired paper company executive, who said she was drawn to Legend Oaks in 2002 by the security of the protective covenants. If Armstrong wanted to open an inn, Halley said, she should have bought a house someplace else.

Armstrong is asking for a rezoning that would allow the inn but no other commercial activity, county Planning Director Harold LeaMond said.

The commissioners voted 4-2 against denying the rezoning, which amounts to a recommendation.

Council will make the final decision after a public hearing. Council's next meeting is Oct. 6, although the agenda has not yet been set.

Concerning the parking dispute earlier this year, the county put up signs telling parents picking up their children from Beech Hill Elementary School not to park in Legend Oaks near the crosswalk.

The county took the signs down after parents said they had to park there to ensure their children's safety. Council told workers to put the signs back up after residents said the extra traffic in the neighborhood was dangerous.