District 4 Updates — Newsletter May 23, 2014

Happy Memorial Day Weekend.   Be Safe !  Enjoy !

That land clearing project on the southeast section of Ashley Phosphate Road near Patriot Boulevard is the Spinx Gas Station and Convenience Store complex announced last year in this newsletter. This facility will be similar in size and function to the Spinx facility now being completed at Ladson Road and Palmetto Commerce Parkway. Spinx is a South Carolina company founded in Greenville in 1972. It has been aggressively expanding in Greater Charleston. (http://www.myspinx.com/about-us)

Other gas station/convenience store news – Sunoco is in final stages of permitting approval for a large facility at Parlor and Dorchester Road, directly opposite the Chili’s and Walmart properties. The development site is in the Town of Summerville. It also is at one of the highest traffic-count intersections in Greater Charleston. North Charleston has no jurisdiction over this project but Sunoco officials did seek our input. Of course, we conveyed the clear and present issue of traffic congestion and safety. Sunoco acquired additional properties to make room for additional access lanes on Parlor.

(Did you know – any proposal for a new and expanded gas station in the Dorchester Road corridor of North Charleston would require special zoning and planning board considerations and specific approval by City Council. Overlay district standards approved many years ago with plenty of community input set forth this higher standard.)

Part of the long-delayed Dorchester Road improvements plan will open within 10 days, state officials have declared. This work includes lane widenings from Trolley Road through Ashborough to Highway 17. This project should reduce afternoon rush hour congestion through North Charleston’s Dorchester Road corridor.

Charleston County’s plans to create better turn lane capacities at Palmetto Commerce Parkway and Ladson Road are delayed as the county works to get S.C. Department of Transportation permits. This is a critically-needed project. I will keep you informed.

The Wescott Traffic circle is now looking better. And now the developer of the four quadrants has told us about an assisted living campus project concept for the southeast quadrant. This is in very early stages, but I will make sure that everybody is informed if and when this proposal becomes a plan in progress.

I’ve rquested Mayor Summey and his staff to initiate a project to design designated pedestrian walkways at the circle. This facility defies cookie-cutter back-of-the envelope pedestrian walkway designs. For example, the approach from the east involves the elevation of Wescott Boulevard, which is the golf cart tunnel. South Carolina has the fourth worse statewide pedestrian accident and fatality rate. Too many accidents actually occur at designated crosswalks. We need signalized pedestrian walkways at this circle, but we must assure they are designed with state-of-the-art safety features. This is now a project in progress for me and I would welcome your views and counsel.

General rezoning of Palmetto Commerce Parkway properties to consistency with development plans will soon be before Council. The plans have been carefully formulated to provide ample buffering and wetlands protection along Indigo Palms, Coosaw Creek, The Farm at Wescott and Coosaw Preserve boundaries. In each case, the M-1 or “light industrial” zoning will be buffered by wetlands and properties to be designated “Agricultural” zoning. In some cases, the agricultural properties also include conservation agreements. Mayor Summey has been very helpful in assuring these buffering initiatives. Behind the scenes, this has been a complex initiative. One example – some of the wetlands properties bordering Indigo Palms and Coosaw Creek were not in the city. I requested that the properties be annexed in this planning process to assure long range city jurisdiction. The owner agreed and with Mayor Summey’s direction, annexation is now integral to the zoning revisions Council will soon consider. Should you have any questions about this, please contact me at this e-mail address, rbrin@aol.com

Our city spent too much money on potholes this past year. Much of this was related to bad weather conditions, but too much of this is related to the underlying condition of roadways. In more basic terms, many of our “local” roads need to be restructured, repaved, or both. One example- Patriot Boulevard from Ashley Phosphate to Trade Street, at the Festival Center. This is a short section of roadway over which an estimated 25,000 vehicles travel on weekdays. It also is “pot-hole city.” There are other large and small examples, but we are working to formulate plans for systematically repairing these long neglected roads. And we’re challenging Dorchester County to help. Each South Carolina county receives a small rebate of state fuel tax revenues for road maintenance and improvements. This program is administered by the County Transportation Committee. Its members are appointed by County Council members. The funds are limited for sure – averaging just over $1.1 million annually over recent years. And Dorchester is a very large county with a distinct “rural-town-city” diversity. It is our state’s fastest growing county. But as far as I can discern, not one dollar has ever been spent on “local” roads in District 4 or District 1. The mayor and I have met several times with Dorchester County officials to discuss this. We have proposed that the CTC commit a certain percentage of its funding to well-prioritized projects within the City of North Charleston with the city agreeing to share in the costs. The priority project clearly is the Patriot Boulevard/Trade Street “pot-hole city.” But there are others, such as the entrance to Indigo Fields, Club Course from Dorchester to Patriot Boulevard. We’re also now talking to Dorchester County about widening Wescott Boulevard and Patriot Boulevard, from Wescott to Palmetto Commerce. I will keep you posted on all these initiatives and welcome your views and counsel.

Dorchester District 2 School Board is now considering interesting changes in the school schedules. Take a look at this summary http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20140524/PC16/140529592/1009/dorchester-district-2-considers-shifting-school-day&source=RSS

Please share this newsletter with your neighbors and I’ll be glad to add anyone to the mailing list. Just contact me at rbrin@aol.com

Check in regularly at www.northcharleston.org for online service requests and for the latest updates on city activities. If ever you have a question, contact me. I’ll help anyway I can.