Councilman Ron Brinson – May 7, 2016

A Reminder….. a community meeting 7 p.m. Tuesday evening, May 10 at  the  Wescott Park Community Center.

Briefings on several topics, including…… 

The next expansion of the McKewn Plantation development beside and behind the Joseph Pye Elementary School, under a planned development agreement dated in 2009.

Dorchester County’s one cent sales tax for road improvements funding.  This 10-year program is expiring and County Council must authorize a referendum for voters’ approval of an extension. County Councilman Larry Hargett will join us in a discussion of how this program works and some likely projects if the plan is renewed. We’ll also brief you on extension of Weber Boulevard from Palmetto Commerce Parkway to Patriot Boulevard, which will provide a connection to the new and instantly popular Ingleside Boulevard.

We’ll provide an update of the plan for an aquatics center at the Corner of Appian Way and Patriot Boulevard, at the entrance to Fort Dorchester High School. This project would also create a new ingress-egress corridor into the Fort Dorchester High campus. The swimming enter would built jointly by Dorchester District 2 and the City. It would be operated as part of our city’s recreation department and open for public use. But competitive swimming and swimming instructions for all students would be priority use.

Harris Teeter representatives will present a conceptual plan for vehicle fuel sales at the Corner at Wescott.  The company is preparing to request amendments to the development agreement and has stated that its initiative will begin with “candid and transparent” interaction with the surrounding neighborhoods.  Harris Teeter and the Corner at Wescott operations have quickly become positive and valued people-center operations in our community.  Gas stations, though, are specifically prohibited in the Dorchester Overlap District. I am opposed to this and so are Councilman Skipper and Mayor Summey.  Nonetheless, we owe Harris Teeter the opportunity to make their case.

We’ll discuss the usual traffic issues and answer any questions you might have about any aspect of city services.

See you on Tuesday!

Wescott Park Community Center is at 9006 Dorchester Road. Once in the park complex, bear left and look for the building near the power lines.  Adjacent to the Doggie Play Park.

DISTRICT 4 UPDATES APRIL 29, 2015

Road Project Schedules

Re-Surfacing of Patriot Boulevard intersectional connection to Ashley Phosphate Road and re-surfacing of Club Course, from Dorchester Road to Patriot Boulevard:  Sanders Brothers Construction will perform this work and by contract must complete it by August 15.  It is likely to be completed sooner.
Crosswalks for Wescott Boulevard

Motorists seems to be adjusting to the redesigned traffic flows at the Wescott traffic circle. Pedestrian crosswalks have been installed there and additional safety features will be added.  Also crosswalks all along Wescott Boulevard will be designated and sidewalks expanded and repaired at Wescott Boulevard intersections considered safe for pedestrian crossing.  Look for school bus stop locations on Wescott Boulevard and Patriot Boulevard to be refreshed by the beginning of the new school year.
Patriot Boulevard “Hairpin”

This project is crawling through the federal environmental permit process because a small section of regulated wetlands will be involved. This will be fully mitigated, of course, and the target now is that work could begin around August 1.  I will keep all posted. (The D.R. Horton Sunrise project clearly is underway. It won’t be fully implemented with its 79  “Express” town homes until the “Hairpin” project is completed. And, yes, folks, that is cement board not vinyl siding on these units – something the mayor and I insisted on for this imposing development that was approved in 2007.)
Trump  Street  Connection  To  Patriot  Boulevard

This project has been put on the shelf.  And it won’t be reconsidered until full public dialogue concludes its viability. This connection was planned from the beginning of the Charleston Park development plan. But the developer did not complete the feature and now, years after the neighborhood has settled into a non-connected Trump Street operation, there are neighborhood impact and upset issues that would have to be considered.  So, this project is on a high shelf — and there is no timetable for taking it off that shelf.
Corner at Wescott News

Raising Cane’s has begun its building project with an ambitious schedule and firm hopes to be up and running by September 1.  This will be the third location in Greater Charleston for the fast growing national chain, which specializes in “chicken fingers.”
Even before its first “finger” is served up, Raising Cane’s is establishing a support relationship with Fort Dorchester Elementary School. This highly-rated school, opened in 2002, will soon have its monument sign converted into a digitized marquee thanks to a small grant provided by the City of  North Charleston and direct financial support by Raising Cane’s and the Corner at Wescott developer, the Hendon Company. If all goes well, this project will be completed in time for the new school year.
 
Art, Art,  EVERYWHERE !

Our city’s nine-day annual arts festival officially begins May 1.  Those artful  “pieces” you’re seeing at so many intersections are donated for display and many are entered into competitions.  And they’re engendering a steady flow of critical and fun commentary.  The Festival is a major public activities program featuring a variety of art shows, performances and free events. It’s a great opportunity for family participation. Visit this website for all the information you’ll need to plan to participate:
http://www.northcharleston.org/Residents/Arts-and-Culture.aspx
One suggestion: visit City Hall.  This building, located very near the Montague Avenue interchange of Interstate 26, is a modern and function center of city operations –and it is an art gallery.
Traffic Congestion Nightmares –

I’ve had dozens of requests for my newspaper column about traffic issues in our broad community. Here it is, with a summary comment that this is a growing burden on public convenience for all our residents and a priority in my work as a councilman. We need to convince our state and Dorchester County elected officials that this is a crisis that demands action.
http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20150308/PC1002/150309420

Timely Advice From Police –

We live in a community with very low crime rates.  But that means very little to anyone affected by any sort of criminal activity. Our city’s police department urges all residents to maintain vigilance, quickly report ANY unusual or suspicious activities or circumstances, and keep the doors to your homes, businesses and vehicles locked. For any emergency, dial 911 immediately. But here are some other handy telephone police contact numbers:

  Non-Emergency: 843-740-2800
Police Tip Line: 843-740-5839
Drug Tip Line: 843-308-4708
CrimeStoppers: 843-554-1111
Animal Control: 843-740-2815

WWW.NORTHCHARLESTON.ORG  – Check it out. You can learn all about city services, recreational activities for you and your family and request special attention. And contact me directly whenever I might help.

Please share this little newsletter with your friends and neighbors and I’ll be glad to add them to the e-mailing list. They need only send me a note at rbrin@aol.com

Councilman Ron Brinson- District 4 Updates March 27, 2015

An Aquatics Center Partnership

Back in November 2012,  Dorchester District 2 constituents passed a two-part referendum authorizing debt instruments to finance new public school buildings.  One specific proposal authorized the school district to spend up to $7.5 million on a swimming pool facility.

It might have been widely accepted in Summerville that this translated into a new 25-yard pool facility for the Summerville YMCA to be built at The Ponds subdivision.  But Mayor Keith Summey had previously declared that North Charleston has long range plans to build an aquatics center in the Dorchester Road corridor.

So,  following the referendum, we began discussing with the school board a concept of merging these two plans with a partnership that would design and build an aquatics center featuring an Olympic-sized pool complex ……with plenty of space for swimming instruction, general public use, senior citizens exercise programs and year-round high school swim team practices and competitive swim meets.  The concept is a spacious facility to be developed on the 12-plus acres at Patriot Boulevard and Appian Way, adjacent to the Fort Dorchester High School campus, and its expansive parking area. This land is jointly owned by our city and the school board.

The school board’s $7.5 million authorization must be pledged to capitalization only.  So, the city would invest an additional $3.5 million to $5 million to construct the facility, and then it would become a part of North Charleston’s parks and recreation operations. Priorities would be established for grade school swim lessons and accommodation of high school swim teams. The model generally matches the city’s Danny Jones swimming complex near Park Circle.

For the school board, the facility’s operations would be larger and more state-of-the-art. Programs and maintenance would be assured by the city.  For our city, the aquatics center vision would be realized far sooner, with capital costs shared by the monies authorized in the 2012 bonding referendum.

Over the last six weeks, discussions with District 2 became more focused, as the school board asked for formal proposals. Mayor Summey personally met with the school board March 2 to clarify nearly a year of   “what’s best for the public” discussions.  Our city council finance committee held a special workshop meeting Wednesday evening.

And on Thursday evening, following a long executive session, the school board voted to enter into contract negotiations with the city.

And that is excellent news, indeed.

This is not a done deal, though. The detailed term sheet will be hammered out by attorneys and then a final agreement must be formally approved by the school board and city council.  This will be a very transparent process with many public forums.

There is understandable objection among many Summerville residents who fairly believe the referendum was intended solely for the YMCA’s development plans.  It’s is a reminder to all, that 27,000 North Charlestonians reside in Dorchester County — and we are taxpaying constituents of Dorchester District 2, also.

So, this concept must now be translated into a well-negotiated plan and a carefully-considered project. We have a long way to travel, but the school board and the city have taken a giant step toward creating a project that will enhance qualities of living throughout our community — and provide taxpayers a bigger bang for the $7.5 million bucks authorized in the 2012 referendum. I will keep you posted.

MAJOR REPAVING PROJECTS NEARING
Bids are in and construction planning conferences are underway. Within six weeks or so – maybe sooner –we’ll see repaving underway of Patriot Boulevard, between Appian Way and Ashley Phosphate, Patriot Boulevard, between Ashley Phosphate and Industrial Avenue, at the back boundary of Festival Center, and on Club Course Drive, from Dorchester Road and Patriot Boulevard.  These long overdue projects are being financed jointly by the city and Dorchester County which is allocating its share of the state gasoline tax rebates to counties.  (This “share” is about $1.1 million annually for the entire county.)

What’s That Trailer Doing At Wescott Boulevard at Patriot?
D.R. Horton owns the property but apparently has no immediate plans for residential development. The trailer reportedly will be a sales office for the company’s curious Sunrise development now underway at the Patriot “Hairpin.”

What’s Up  With The New Wescott Circle Design?
As announced a year ago, the city’s traffic engineers and police traffic-flow professionals have redesigned the traffic flows to provide for – let us hope – safer pedestrian and vehicle movements at the circle. This became very important after pedestrian crosswalks were installed.  The lane markings have been significantly upgraded, too.

(Nothing new to report about the timetable for the assisted living campus planned at the Wescott Circle. Construction was supposed to be underway in February. Project plans are still being processed in the city’s zoning and planning department.)

Please check in often at  www.northcharleston.org  Our city’s website has been upgraded with  easy-to-use links providing information on just about every aspect of city services. This includes requests for services that can expedite responses to your needs.
I really appreciate all the homeowners associations recirculating this little newsletter. Response has been gratifying and I especially appreciate your views and counsel.
I’ll be glad to add your neighbors to the initial circulation lists for this newsletter. They need only to contact me at rbrin@aol.com

Councilman Ron Brinson — March 6, 2016

Patriot Boulevard Hairpin

The project to smooth this 15 mph curve has been suspended indefinitely. This follows the single bid the city received indicating the project would cost 2.5. times estimates, or just under $1 million. We’ll rebid when the construction markets indicate a better, more affordable outcome. In the meanwhile, the city will install “rumble strips” and solar powered flashers warning motorists to slow down. We can anticipate police enforcement of speeding at this curve, as well.

Recycling Update

Confusion about this very popular curbside pickup service for city residents in Dorchester County is regrettable. We have been working hard to reach an accommodation with Dorchester County to integrate this program into the county’s recycling operations. We still have some details to finalize but we expect Dorchester County Council to approve an accommodation within two weeks. Meanwhile, the city will continue to pick up “recyclables.” And I will keep you posted.

What’s Happening Behind The Speedway  on Club Course?

It’s a cellular service tower, about 120 feet high. Frankly, I challenged this but such use is permitted under the zoning for the property and the owner is exercising legal rights. We will monitor the aesthetics of both the tower and its surroundings.

Dorchester and Patriot, Across from Bosch

A Walmart Neighborhood Grocery with a “fuel center” and a townhouse development are in the works. Planning is in early stages. This property is in Council District 1 and is not within the Dorchester Overlay District. I will keep you posted.

What’s Happening At Corner at Wescott?

A Top Dawg Tavern franchise restaurant is taking shape.  As I reported earlier, this family- friendly restaurant will be the principal occupant of a 9,000 square-foot building. The theme is open service area with plenty of television screens. Opening date is projected to be in the Fall. A physical therapy operation will occupy one of the other two spaces.  I’ll keep you posted. Also, the Hendon Company is beginning to refresh plans for further development at its property adjacent to Lowe’s. No details yet, but I’ll try to keep you well-informed.

“Fuel Center” at Harris Teeter

I’ve tried to keep you informed on this concept which now seems to be moving toward a formal zoning amendment proposal. Harris Teeter wants to construct a four-lane fuel center for fuel sales only at an out-parcel between the parking lot and Dorchester Road, south of Raising Cane’s.  It would be a facility for fuel sales only and without any “convenient store” aspects. Harris Teeter recently completed a survey and poll of 300 homes in District 4 and District 9 – the Dorchester Corridor. The results purport to conclude that a majority of residents in both districts would not oppose such an operation at the Corner at Wescott. The company is aware of gas station zoning restrictions in the Dorchester overlay district and the community’s long-standing opposition to gas stations.  Harris Teeter is certainly a good corporate neighbor. And if the firm should file for zoning authority for a fuel center, then it is entitled to a fair hearing. I have informed them there would be a series of neighborhood meetings. (I have also informed them that at this point, I am opposed.)

The Shell Station at Dorchester and Ashley Phosphate?

It’s being rebuilt with modernized tankage, etc. All within the existing property footprint and applying all previous buffers and landscaping plans.

 

Please check in regularly at www.northcharleston.org  for timely information about a broad variety of activities within our city, or to file a service request. And contact me any time at this address if you have a question or counsel. Anyone wishing to be added to the circulation lists of this little newsletter should send me a note.

And, THANKS !!!

Councilman Ron Brinson – January 28, 2016

Curbside Recycling Pickup Service Will Continue !

For the time being, at least.

There are 7,000 single family residential units in the City of North Charleston’s boundaries within lower Dorchester County. A credible estimate is that our city’s “Dorchester County” population is 27,000.

Recycling is very popular in our neighborhoods.  The city’s curbside collection in Dorchester County last year gathered 157 tons of paper products alone.  Highest “recyclables” volumes were collected in the Wescott subdivisions and Coosaw Creek.

For many years, the city has made special deals with Charleston County to use its recycling programs for Dorchester County residents. The plunge of crude oil prices over the last year has scrambled recycling strategies nationwide.  Thus, we have been challenged in many ways to sustain the city’s recycling services, and to assure that the material you want recycled is in fact recycled and not merely dumped into landfills.  And there is now clear evidence that has happened.

But I’m pleased to report that curbside recycling pickup will continue and you are encouraged to continue to recycle as much as possible.  The city will take your recyclables to the same contractor used by Dorchester County to sort and transfer recyclables.  You can also take your materials directly to any of the Dorchester County “convenience” centers. There is one on Parlor Road, near the entrance to Oak brook Middle School, and you can check the county’s web site at https://www.dorchestercounty.net/index.aspx?page=176

Dorchester County Councilmen Larry Hargett and George Bailey have joined the review of our city’s “solid waste disposal” relationship with Dorchester County.  The summary point is that this operating agreement which involves landfill access, trash and recyclables has not been effectively updated since 2003 – and our city’s population within Dorchester County has essentially doubled since then.  The effect has been uncertainty about all aspects of solid waste disposal, and especially recyclables.  And one clear point of difference is that the City provides curbside pickup service, Dorchester County does not and directs recycling to its  collection  depot  facilities.

Councilmen Hargett and Bailey have joined us in encouraging all efforts to contemporize these agreements as soon as possible.  In fact, as we all have learned more about this challenge,  Messrs Hargett and Bailey have become advocates for North Charleston residents, noting that we pay some $700,000 annually in solid waste disposal/impact fees to the county.

A final agreement will require full County Council approval and approval by Mayor Keith Summey, whose staff has been working on this since last summer.  County Chairman David Chinnis also has pledged his help in keeping this resolution process moving forward.

So, the good news is that recycling curbside pickup service will continue – for the time being.  The challenging news is that we must finalize a broader updated solid waste disposal agreement with Dorchester County.

I will keep you posted. District 9 Councilman Kenny Skipper is very much involved in this work, too, and we are resolved to schedule community forums on this issue as necessary.

 

-AQUATICS CENTER UPDATE-

The city and Dorchester District Two School Board are moving through a step-by-step process needed to finalize plans for a swimming complex at Patriot Boulevard and Appian Way. The project also would create a new entry-exit roadway for Fort Dorchester High School.  My impression is that we are moving closer to being able to announce final plans by late Spring.  This is an exciting concept and I will continue to keep you posted.

 

-Noise Sources-

Activities on properties behind The Farm at Wescott and Coosaw Creek have prompted questions because of increased noise.  The city’s building inspectors have determined two sources of this activity and related noises.

One is the site clearing and preparation for the next phase of Coosaw Preserve, a 500+ home development with an entrance in front of the Joe Pye Elementary School. This project was approved in 2007 as part of a planned development district. The work is clearing woodlands but the prescribed buffers are being closely monitored.

There has been increased activity at the “Collins Cow Farm” tract behind Coosaw Creek and The Farm. This property is zoned  “agriculture’. There is an applicable “dirt mining”  permit which dates back to the early Eighties.

So, the increased  “noise” is related to legal activities. But noise can be considered illegal if it violates the city’s ordinances. As a general rule, these ordinances  cover unnecessary  or overtly disturbing noises between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.  If you have a noise complaint, contact me and I’ll help you sort it out.

 

Please contact me at any time with your questions and counsel

rbrin@aol.com

Councilman Ron Brinson – District 4 Updates May 31, 2015

Councilman Ron Brinson – District 4  Updates   May 31, 2015

——————————————————————–

The Fort Dorchester Residential Association will hold a public forum on traffic in and about the Dorchester Road, Patriot Boulevard, Palmetto Commerce Parkway and Ladson Road corridors, Monday6 p.m., June 15, 2015, at Wescott Park community center. Mayor Keith Summey, S.C. Senator Sean Bennett and S.C. Representative Chris Murphy and others have been invited to discuss the community’s growing concerns about worsening traffic conditions.  (Unfortunately, I have a long standing public service commitment in Canada on that date and I will not be able to attend.)

———————————————————————–

What’s the most frequent complaints I receive as a city councilman?

No surprise – most “complaints” are expressed frustration and upset over traffic issues. The growth of population and industrial and commercial units have steadily increased vehicle counts on all arterial roads.

And it’s going to get worse.

Congestion is constant during certain “rush” hour cycles – and especially during the school year. Congestion adds travel times to schools and jobs, and those who must endure these snarls notice the life-style effects of spending more time behind the wheel – and more time wondering why it has to be this way.

Every Monday, I work through a check list of communications with the S.C. Department of Transportation about such things as traffic light synchronizations at many Dorchester Road and Ashley Phosphate Road intersections.  I often enlist S.C. Rep. Chris Murphy and Senator Sean Bennett to help amplify the requests for assistance. They always respond positively.

The SCDOT is under-funded and seems to operate with a triage of complaints system. Its work seems ponderous and slow, but in talking to the SCDOT team, it does seem they are doing their best. Our state’s secretary of transportation said publicly three years ago that he was managing the state’s roads system “into its decline.”

Mayor Summey and I have been openly and strongly urging state legislators to reform the state’s archaic road funding system and begin equipping our state –and especially our North Charleston communities– with roads and bridges needed to accommodate growth – roads and bridges that match our achievements and ambitions to continue to expand the global manufacturing sector.

Legislation is now being debated in the final days of the current General Assembly session that would bring some relief.

In the meanwhile…..SCDOT is working to refine the synchronization of lights on Dorchester Road and Ashley Phosphate. Charleston County is designing additional turning lanes capacities at Patriot Boulevard and Palmetto Commerce Parkway.  Charleston County will soon begin the long-delayed project to add an additional lane for Eastbound Interstate 26 traffic turning from Ashley Phosphate.  Dorchester County last Thursday officially opened the 1.1 mile “Wallace Ackerman Drive” which links Ladson Road to Old Fort Drive and Parlor Road.  The city is urging Dorchester County Council to launch an effort to renew the “one cent” sales tax to fund a new schedule of much needed road projects, including the planned widening of Patriot, from Wescott Boulevard to PCP, and the planned widening of Wescott Boulevard.  The city and county are cost-sharing projects to repave the intersection of Patriot and Ashley Phosphate, and Club Course, from Dorchester to Patriot. These projects are contracted to be completed by mid-August. The Future Drive project should open in August, linking PCP to the Northside Boulevard connection which links Ashley Phosphate to Highway 78, running parallel to Interstate 26.  Planning continues for a “flyover” that will lift Palmetto Commerce Parkway over Ashley Phosphate and onto to new lanes leading into the main Boeing campus. This planning package also includes a new interchange with Interstate 26 at Future Drive.

So there’s a lot going on. But not enough – and not fast enough. We need long term solutions and the dialogue that inspires legislative action must begin.

City Council has approved our city’s 2016 Fiscal Year budget. Revenues will match expenditures at $110.5 million. That’s a 4.6 per cent increase. There are no tax increases.

North Charleston’s new Public Works campus will open next month at Remount Road at Interstate 26. This modern ad spacious facility, strategically located near the center of the city’s (76 square miles) boundaries, will replace the 40-year-old cramped operation on Aragon Street. It should lead to both service improvements and cost savings.

Property at Rivers Avenue and Mall Drive will soon be developed as a Medical University of South Carolina outpatient pediatric surgery center. City Council authorized the property purchase and its ultimate donation for the MUSC project. This will be a threshold of development and rehabilitation in a section of our city in need of just that.

The aquatics center project in partnership with the Dorchester   District 2 school board continues to be discussed. The focus now is on how best to structure an interagency agreement that will govern the construction and long-term operations of the complex now envisioned at properties the city and the school district own at Patriot Boulevard and Appian Way.

City Hall is an art gallery just now. Stop by for a tour or arts and crafts featuring some outstanding work in a variety of mediums by local artists. Also, check the city’s website for information about summer arts camps for children of all ages http://www.northcharleston.org/Residents/Arts-and-Culture/Workshops,-Classes,-and-Camps/Summer-Arts-Camps.aspx

The Rockin’ the River concert series begins June 4 and will continue the first Thursdays of each month from June to September – at Riverfront Park.  These are free outdoor concerts featuring some pretty good bands – such as The TAMS who will entertain at the June 4 6:30 p.m. concert.  Have a look at the appended “flyer” and make plans to attend.

City’s Updated Web Site –   Check out www.northcharleston.org  for constantly updated information on city activities of all types and to submit requests for services.

 

And……Please share this little newsletter with your neighbors and if they’d like to be included on the distribution list, they need only contact me at rbrin@aol.com

District 4 Updates March 27, 2015

An Aquatics Center Partnership

Back in November 2012, Dorchester District 2 constituents passed a two-part referendum authorizing debt instruments to finance new public school buildings. One specific proposal authorized the school district to spend up to $7.5 million on a swimming pool facility.

It might have been widely accepted in Summerville that this translated into a new 25-yard pool facility for the Summerville YMCA to be built at The Ponds subdivision. But Mayor Keith Summey had previously declared that North Charleston has long range plans to build an aquatics center in the Dorchester Road corridor.

So, following the referendum, we began discussing with the school board a concept of merging these two plans with a partnership that would design and build an aquatics center featuring an Olympic-sized pool complex ……with plenty of space for swimming instruction, general public use, senior citizens exercise programs and year-round high school swim team practices and competitive swim meets. The concept is a spacious facility to be developed on the 12-plus acres at Patriot Boulevard and Appian Way, adjacent to the Fort Dorchester High School campus, and its expansive parking area. This land is jointly owned by our city and the school board.

The school board’s $7.5 million authorization must be pledged to capitalization only. So, the city would invest an additional $3.5 million to $5 million to construct the facility, and then it would become a part of North Charleston’s parks and recreation operations. Priorities would be established for grade school swim lessons and accommodation of high school swim teams. The model generally matches the city’s Danny Jones swimming complex near Park Circle.

For the school board, the facility’s operations would be larger and more state-of-the-art. Programs and maintenance would be assured by the city. For our city, the aquatics center vision would be realized far sooner, with capital costs shared by the monies authorized in the 2012 bonding referendum.

Over the last six weeks, discussions with District 2 became more focused, as the school board asked for formal proposals. Mayor Summey personally met with the school board March 2 to clarify nearly a year of “what’s best for the public” discussions. Our city council finance committee held a special workshop meeting Wednesday evening.

And on Thursday evening, following a long executive session, the school board voted to enter into contract negotiations with the city.

And that is excellent news, indeed.

This is not a done deal, though. The detailed term sheet will be hammered out by attorneys and then a final agreement must be formally approved by the school board and city council. This will be a very transparent process with many public forums.

There is understandable objection among many Summerville residents who fairly believe the referendum was intended solely for the YMCA’s development plans. It’s is a reminder to all, that 27,000 North Charlestonians reside in Dorchester County — and we are taxpaying constituents of Dorchester District 2, also.

So, this concept must now be translated into a well-negotiated plan and a carefully-considered project. We have a long way to travel, but the school board and the city have taken a giant step toward creating a project that will enhance qualities of living throughout our community — and provide taxpayers a bigger bang for the $7.5 million bucks authorized in the 2012 referendum. I will keep you posted.

MAJOR REPAVING PROJECTS NEARING

Bids are in and construction planning conferences are underway. Within six weeks or so – maybe sooner –we’ll see repaving underway of Patriot Boulevard, between Appian Way and Ashley Phosphate, Patriot Boulevard, between Ashley Phosphate and Industrial Avenue, at the back boundary of Festival Center, and on Club Course Drive, from Dorchester Road and Patriot Boulevard. These long overdue projects are being financed jointly by the city and Dorchester County which is allocating its share of the state gasoline tax rebates to counties. (This “share” is about $1.1 million annually for the entire county.)

What’s That Trailer Doing At Wescott Boulevard at Patriot?

D.R. Horton owns the property but apparently has no immediate plans for residential development. The trailer reportedly will be a sales office for the company’s curious Sunrise development now underway at the Patriot “Hairpin.”

What’s Up With The New Wescott Circle Design?

As announced a year ago, the city’s traffic engineers and police traffic-flow professionals have redesigned the traffic flows to provide for – let us hope – safer pedestrian and vehicle movements at the circle. This became very important after pedestrian crosswalks were installed. The lane markings have been significantly upgraded, too.

(Nothing new to report about the timetable for the assisted living campus planned at the Wescott Circle. Construction was supposed to be underway in February. Project plans are still being processed in the city’s zoning and planning department.)

Please check in often at www.northcharleston.org Our city’s website has been upgraded with easy-to-use links providing information on just about every aspect of city services. This includes requests for services that can expedite responses to your needs.

I really appreciate all the homeowners associations recirculating this little newsletter. Response has been gratifying and I especially appreciate your views and counsel.

I’ll be glad to add your neighbors to the initial circulation lists for this newsletter. They need only to contact me at rbrin@aol.com

District 4 Updates – March 1, 2015

I enjoy telling my council colleagues that my constituents are engaged, interested and always helpful.

And, that 82 per cent of inquiries, comments and counsel I receive relate to the effects of what seems to be sudden and rapid growth – especially roadway traffic.

We generally realize that our broad community of very nice and well “planned” neighborhoods are within probably the fastest growing precinct within our state. And we tend to wonder – as we have for decades – why highway and school capacities can’t keep a better pace with residential and commercial development.

“It just doesn’t,” a veteran Dorchester County official said last week. “It doesn’t work that way in South Carolina.”

It’s an inconvenient truth that he’s right – and correcting this non-planning mindset that simply mandates traffic and school congestion in growth

zones will take many years of grass roots constituent demanding messaging. I raise this issue in every discussion forum I enter; so does Mayor Summey. We encourage you to do that as well with county and state elected leaders.

In the meantime, let’s connect these latest dots in the “perfect storm” now drifting steadily into our qualities-of-life equations:

– There have been no new residential developments approved in District 4 since about 2010. With Mayor Summey’s help, we have managed to reject several, including major apartment projects. We have also managed to create “buffer zoning” to insulate The Farm at Wescott, Coosaw Creek, Indigo Palms and Coosaw Preserve from the revised “M-1” industrial/commercial zoning on Palmetto Commerce Parkway.

-The Coosaw Preserve development is the 536- home project by Lennar. This is a phase in a planned development approved in 2008. Sales are brisk. We were able to work with Lennar to thin the density, broaden buffers, provide fence easements and to create “environmental” features. This neighborhood will have 29 per cent of its acreage platted for environmental features – nature trails, protected wetlands ponds, etc.

-The “Sunrise – Express Homes” project by D.R. Horton is underway at the Patriot Parkway hairpin. It was approved in 2008. We did manage to thin its density to 79 townhome units, and the developer agreed to upgrade the external materials. And these homes will be marketed and platted as “fee simple” ownership properties, not condominiums.

-Properties along the north side of Wescott Boulevard, in District 9, are zoned for apartments and reportedly such plans are progressing. Also, property owners are formulating plans for an apartment complex behind Wellborn Village off Ladson Road.

-Traffic – especially at “rush hour” – congests on Patriot, Wescott and Palmetto Commerce Parkway. City police provide traffic control for the opening and closing of the Joe Pye Elementary School. State police do the same for the afternoon shift change at the Boeing Interior Responsibilities plant. Charleston County is now completing a turning lane capacity feature at Ladson and Palmetto Commerce Parkway.

-Consider that in January 2012, an estimated 1,720 persons were employed at companies operating in the Palmetto Commerce Parkway corridor. Today that “estimate” is 3,900. It will surely surpass 5,000 by the Spring of 2016.

- And the big news you’ll hear later this week is that a well-known international firm will bring an additional 1,200 jobs to property near the corner of Patriot Boulevard and Palmetto Commerce Parkway.

– An estimate of 10,000 persons employed along the 5.75 mile Palmetto Commerce Parkway by 2018 seems credible.

The very good news is this is quality economic development, bringing well-paying jobs — and higher residential real estate values. And this cycle of quality economic growth nurtures higher household incomes – and better shopping and entertainment functions.

But it clearly compounds traffic issues and school capacity challenges. Mayor Summey and I met with two Dorchester County councilmen last week and urged them to take leadership roles in expediting projects such as widening Patriot between Wescott Boulevard and Palmetto Commerce Parkway, and completing the four lanes of Wescott Boulevard. The state highway funding crisis has been hijacked by a “no new tax” political vertigo – which dangerously ignores the time-tested proposition that users should pay for the highway system.

Charleston County does have plans for expanding capacities and extending Palmetto Commerce Parkway but planning and funding challenges form a timetable of many years.

There simply are no instant nor readily available solutions for these trends – and that’s a source of frustration. I plan to have focus group discussion sessions on growth and planning in the coming months. These sessions will include state and county elected leaders. If you’re interested in attending, just let me know.

UPDATES ON KEY ROAD PROJECTS – Check out these links for updates on Charleston County roadway projects in the Palmetto Commerce Parkway corridor.

http://roads.charlestoncounty.org/reports.php

http://www.charlestoncounty.org/departments/da-transportation/pci.php

http://roads.charlestoncounty.org/projects/futuredriveloop/

 

ROAD RESURFACING PROJECTS — Bids have been opened and contracts approved. Sanders Brothers Construction will soon begin resurfacing projects at the intersection of Ashley Phosphate and Patriot – finally eliminating what has to be one of the worse pot hole zones in our state. Asphalt prices are low and because of this the city is able to do more work with the available funds. Club Course Drive, from Dorchester to Patriot also will be resurfaced. These projects result from months of negotiations with Dorchester County and are financed jointly by the city and the county’s use of state gasoline tax rebates. This is the beginning of a four-year $1 million program of prioritized resurfacing projects.

INDIGO PALMS BARRICADE — This very unattractive structure at the end of Windsor Hill Boulevard and at the entrance to this very attractive neighborhood has finally be removed. The developer was very cooperative after the Indigo Palms HOA board requested the city remove the barricade. Strict enforcement of anti-dumping laws will now follow.

DIGITIZED SIGN FOR FORT DORCHESTER ELEMENTARY – The school opened in 2002 and has never had a marquee sign like other newer schools. The Hendon Company, developers of the Corner at Wescott, has joined with the city to upgrade the school’s monument entrance sign to marquee status. This is a convenience for parents and a public safety messaging feature.

CELEBRATING THE NAVY’S HISTORY IN OUR CITY – Saturday will be a day of festive activities at Riverfront Park to celebrate the U.S. Navy’s presence and influence on the history of our city. The appended flier provides details of what should be a great family event. Hope to see you there !

(Contact me with your concerns and counsel and please share this e mail newsletter with your friends and neighbors. I’ll be glad to add them to the mailing list; they need only to contact me at rbrin@aol.com)

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