North Charleston eyes 168 acres for annexation

Cathedral of Praise is not just a church. It's the focal point in a huge swath of land North Charleston is eyeing for annexation.

The city is expected next month to annex 13 parcels on 168 unpopulated acres that abut Windsor Hill subdivision and cross Ashley Phosphate Road in a strip to a large parcel that borders the Charleston County line near the Forest Hills subdivision off Dorchester Road. All of the property is in Dorchester County.

Almost all of the property in question west of Ashley Phosphate Road — 50 acres — belongs to Cathedral of Praise.

The church has not signed a petition to be annexed but will not oppose being annexed, said Julie Elmore, North Charleston annexation coordinator.

"We are tax-exempt, so it really doesn't affect us," said Curtis Martin, who handles building operations for Cathedral of Praise. "We are neutral."

Elmore said the church has been inquiring about coming into the city for a couple of years to get better police protection.

"But we have not been able to get to them," she said. The city can only annex properties contiguous to properties already in the city.

The church and many of the other parcels proposed for annexation are surrounded by subdivisions such as Windsor Hill and Stratton Capers that are not in the city of North Charleston.

The city is using a 91-acre parcel near Dorchester Road and the Summerfield subdivision at the Charleston County line and two small parcels owned by Word Christian Center to get to the Cathedral of Praise's properties. The 91-acre parcel owned by Whitfield Co. has petitioned to be annexed, but the Christian Center has not, Elmore said.

The Christian Center was notified by mail of the city's annexation of its four acres off Ashley Phosphate Road, but the center has not responded, she said.

The 91-acre parcel, which sits near an industrial park, would come into the city for light industrial use while several smaller parcels along Ashley Phosphate Road would be zoned for general business use. The church as well as one parcel behind it would be zoned for multifamily use, while one parcel next to the Windsor Hill subdivision would be zoned for single-family use.

The city must hold a public hearing on the annexation. The date for the hearing has not been set.

If annexed, the property will sit in North Charleston City Council District 1, which is represented by Councilman Ed Astle of Forest Hills.

Astle said he welcomes the parcels into the city and hopes that other unincorporated "doughnut holes" nearby will come into the city as well.

"They will get better fire and police protection and better insurance rates." he said.