You would think folks on James Island just don't like roads.

Last week, there were a few dozen people standing on the side of Harbor View Road to protest its widening, and they were so hot about it they didn't even notice it was 185 degrees outside.

Now, the hyperbole out there was about as thick as the humidity -- some of them suggested the county planned to turn Harbor View into a "superhighway." Truth is, they aren't even adding travel lanes to the road.

But the protesters do have one really good point: Does the county really need to take so much of other people's property?

Right now, plans call for adding a center turn lane down Harbor View and a few right-hand turn lanes, mainly to stop traffic from coming to a standstill anytime someone needs to cross a lane.

But the county also wants to add a multi-use path, a bike lane and a sidewalk at the expense of another 20 feet of everybody's front yard.

When did it become standard operating procedure to Disney up everything in the Lowcountry?

Red tape

The anti-widening crowd has gone beyond nuclear on this Harbor View project.

Some have claimed the widening will create a bottleneck at the bridge where Mimi's used to be. But they aren't adding through-lanes to the road, just turning lanes. So that's a red herring.

The whole development issue is another lark. Some claim when the road is widened, they'll develop the road. Looked at James Island lately? There may be one undeveloped plot of land left on Harbor View. But the whole keep-James-Island-rural ship sailed long ago. It is as suburban as it gets, and it isn't getting any less crowded.

The problem is that Charleston County, with state Department of Transportation's assistance, has worked on this project for nearly five years. And when county officials have been questioned about toning down this theme park, they've been told it's either all or nothing.

Sound familiar, I-526 fans?

If you've ever wondered why people gripe about governmental red tape, well, this is why: To get something we need (turning lanes), we have to spend tax money on something that most people don't even want. Or we don't spend it at all.

That's kind of ridiculous.

Compromise now

Folks on James Island ought to be glad Joe Qualey is on County Council these days.

He lives out that way and understands what's going on. Qualey has gotten the project put on hold until the county and state DOT sit down with him and other elected types from the island to reach a compromise.

"I'm optimistic we can do something to modify the plan to minimize the intrusion on private property," Qualey said. "I'd like to narrow the footprint."

If the road needs to be widened a little, so be it. But using eminent domain for these bells and whistles seems a little overbearing. For the sake of property owners, let's hope the no-compromise mentality messing up the rest of the country doesn't trickle down to Jim Isle.

Follow Brian Hicks at on Twitter at @BriHicks_PandC.