The latest Goose Creek City Council session saw a broad range of topics discussed at an alacritous pace, including updates provided by Administrator Natalie Zeigler, who recommended the hiring of Red Iron Architects for the renovation of an old wedding and prayer chapel on Old Moncks Corner Road and St. James Avenue.
The governing body approved the proposal during the Jan. 10 gathering, with Mayor Gregory Habib explaining that the former house of worship that's currently owned by the City of Goose Creek will serve as an art center, and added that he and the Council and "pretty excited" about it.
Zeigler's advised appointment of Judge Colleen Taylor from a part-time to full-time magistrate was similarly authorized by City Council in the interest of filling a void that couldn't be satisfied with three part-time judicial officers.
"The flexibility that an additional full-time judge gives us ... we felt it created a better service to the city," reasoned the mayor.
On that note, Zeigler added that Taylor's term as an elected official would remain status quo by continuing to run through October of 2024.
Council revisits city design standards
During a second and final reading of establishing design guidelines for local commercial development, Habib reminded colleagues of their approval of a Dec. 13 amendment to raise design standards affecting parking, landscaping requirements and other specifications for new building projects on major roads exclusively. These included Highway 52, Highway 176 and Highway 17A.
Moreover, the City's chief legislator offered an "amendment to the amendment" by motioning to add College Park Road to the aforementioned list of Goose Creek arteries.
Councilmember Gayla McSwain pushed back against the thought, arguing that all roads — large and small — ought to be held to the same design standards.
Recently-elected Councilmember Christopher Harmon was in lockstep with McSwain by advising that "newer areas" of Goose Creek would see an added-value benefit by being required to adhere to the same architectural guidelines. One of the areas he mentioned was Red Bank Road.
But while Harmon didn't suggest actually opposing Habib's motion, he clarified that a vote on the matter should be tabled.
Councilmember Melissa Enos countered that Red Bank Road also includes a zone overlay that's already held to an elevated standard.
Enos continued by maintaining that a "one-size-fits-all approach" shouldn't be adopted relative to the main roads going through Goose Creek until City Council has a better understanding of a forthcoming rewriting of the the City's entire zoning code.
"This is our Band Aid if you will until then. I wouldn't think this is final; this is until we get to where we're going and have a better idea for those areas that are not on the main throughways," she said.
The Council voted in favor of Habib's suggestion by a 6-1 tally.
Beefing up the buffers at Windsor Terrace
In tackling the second and final reading of conveying city-owned lots to developer Boris Van Dyck for his grand-scale Windsor Mill mixed-use building project, Enos motioned to amend language of required undisturbed buffer zones in a planned development agreement between the investor and City Council.
She advocated for Van Dyck and his partners to provide an additional 15-foot planted safeguard area to an agreed-upon 30-foot undisturbed buffer between the purchased property and neighboring residential edifices in the spirit of mitigating noise and promoting privacy.
At minimum, she detailed, a 40-foot buffer should remain adjacent to the residential zone lots and development of the purchaser's adjacent property.
The Council unanimously green-lighted the modification to the PD document.