District 4 Updates- December, 2014.

From My Family to all of you –

Have A Wonderful Christmas and Holiday Season….

Be Safe, Enjoy!

Growth, Growth and More Gas Stations/Convenience Stores –

City Council approved a rezoning of a University Boulevard property that clears the way for a sprawling Sunoco fuel station and convenience store. It was a very contentious debate and process. This application had been denied unanimously three times previously by the Planning Commission and rejected by City Council in a committee vote a year ago.

I voted against it and challenged the entire “political” equation of allowing Sunoco, a giant corporation, simply to out-wait the Deer Park Community. The civic association noted that appropriately-zoned property was directly across the street and available to Sunoco. Residents pleaded with the city to protect the comprehensive development plan and overlay district standards the neighborhood had worked so hard to formulate. But in the end, two of my colleagues switched their positions of a year ago — and Sunoco will soon begin construction of the fifth major gas station – convenience store within 1.5 miles of the site.

I am concerned, too, about the precedence possibilities of the University Boulevard decisions. Overlay district planning is important to the Dorchester corridor neighborhoods, and we have now learned such planning disciplines are not immune from determined political initiatives.

We’ve seen an eruption of these fuel stations /convenience stores. And we will see more.

For example, that new Spinx facility at Ladson Road and Palmetto Commerce Parkway (PCP) will soon have a neighbor. A Walmart Neighborhood Grocery is planned right next to it — and next to that store, a “Walmart” gas island is planned. And all of this is across Ladson Road from a new Sunoco facility opened just 14 months ago.

Ironically, a representative of a major fuel retailer attended City Council meetings last week and declared an interest in zoning permits to construct a gas station “island” in the parking lot of the Dorchester Road Walmart. In a market defined by fierce competition, this is understandable as we consider that Sunoco has started construction on a new facility at Parlor Drive and Dorchester, directly across Parlor Drive from the Walmart – in Summerville just across our city’s limits.

Kroger – the new owners of Harris Teeter – have also indicated an interest in a gas island at the Corner at Wescott.

This is a reflection of our growing regional economy and the new ways of marketing and selling gas and convenience store goods. But as I read District 4 constituents, we do not want the Dorchester Overlay District planning document to be caught in the crossfire of this hyper competitive and political environment – as was the case in the University Boulevard – Sunoco zoning case.

I will try to keep you informed whenever these issues are raised in any form.

Turning Lanes Improvements

Construction for the Ladson Road at Palmetto Commerce Parkway turning lanes has started and should be completed by early February. This should help with afternoon rush hour congestion.

A new turning lane from Ashley Phosphate onto east bound Interstate 26 is in final permitting cycles. Construction should start in February and be completed by late March.

Charleston County is performing both projects.

Sunrise and the Patriot “Hairpin”

D.R. Horton’s “Sunrise” development is nearing final plat approvals and this project should begin to move along quickly in the new year. This plan was approved in 2008 as an amendment to The Farm at Wescott master plan. D.R. Horton agreed to reduce the number of townhome units to 78, to convert the homes from “condominium” to “fee simple” ownership and to use cement board, not vinyl, as primary exterior materials. The “Sunrise” homes once completed will become members of The Farm at Wescott owners association.

There was some confusion last week when D.R. Horton installed a “Sunrise” promotional sign on Wescott Boulevard at the old roundabout. That led to speculation that Horton would soon be building housing units at that site, too. There is only one “Sunrise” project and the city is not aware of any pending plans for development at the old roundabout site. And the sign that caused all the confusion is an illegal off-premise sign and should be removed shortly.

The “hairpin” correction project should begin early in 2015 – meaning that there will likely be a concentration of construction activity at this site for several months. Mayor Summey has given the “hairpin” project priority status. The work will bring a smoother and safer curve with a 35-mph “rating.” And to repeat an earlier statement — this is not the beginning of widening this section of Patriot Drive. Widening is a longer range plan; I don’t see how such work could begin for at least another five to seven years, given current funding realities.

Season of Pot Holes

You’ll see city workers currying about to repair potholes. That very large one at the turning lane on Club Course from Dorchester Road will be a sizeable curb renovation project that will begin – weather willing—in early January.

And later in the first quarter, work will begin on resurfacing the intersection of Patriot Boulevard and Ashley Phosphate. Repaving Club Course from Dorchester to Patriot Boulevard will be undertaken sometime next year. Depending on final costs for other resurfacing priority projects, the Club Couse repaving could begin by spring.

PARK CIRCLE LIGHT SHOW

The city’s team has done an exceptional job this holiday season in decorating Park Circle. It has evolved as an impressive light show, something every family will enjoy.

Please check in regularly with the city’s interactive web site www.northcharleston.org

And contact me whenever I can help or answer your questions about city services.

Please share this newsletter with your neighbors and I’ll be glad to add them to the circulation list. They can contact me at rbrin@aol.com