MOUNT PLEASANT — One of the most controversial apartment development plans in town is seeking a permit to fill wetlands, and the public comment period is open.
The Atlantic development, along Ben Sawyer Boulevard on the former Channel 4 site, is a plan to build 224 apartments. It was the subject of a more than $6 million lawsuit against the town, resolved by a settlement agreement Town Council approved in July as a trial date approached.
The settlement allowed for a development smaller than was proposed in plans the town refused to approve in 2015, and construction would not begin until at least March 2019, but the wetlands permit requires approval from state and federal regulators.
On social media sites, some Mount Pleasant residents were describing the wetlands permit request as a new opportunity to raise concern about the project. At issue are just over 0.4 acre of freshwater wetlands, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.
The Corps has initially determined, according to a public notice, that filling the wetlands "is not likely to adversely affect any federally endangered, threatened or proposed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated or proposed critical habitat."
Developer Middle Street Partners plans to construct three apartment buildings, and parking lots, on the 8 acres of high ground at the site. The developer would compensate for filling the wetlands by purchasing credits from Pigeon Pond Mitigation Bank.
Company principal Adam Monroe said the wetlands in question were created by previous construction and development there.
"Frankly, it is a man-made drainage feature from when the site was developed in the '60s or '70s," he said.
The Save Shem Creek group, an opponent of the project, said on Facebook that the requested wetlands permit would "fill in freshwater wetlands home to wading birds and wildlife in order to build a parking lot."
The organization also launched a change.org petition opposing the wetlands permit, which had more than 325 names attached by mid-day Friday.
"While one of the two wetlands on the property is little more than an old drainage ditch, the other wetland to the rear of the property is in a natural state surrounded by trees and is adjacent to critical salt marsh where wading birds and wildlife reside," the group said, on the petition.
The Corps will accept written comments on the project received by Nov. 9, and will consider the potential need for a public hearing depending on public interest. To submit a comment, write to:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Attn: Regulatory Division, Re: P/N SAC-2007-00194, 69A Hagood Ave., Charleston, SC 29403-5107.