District 4 Updates – January 20, 2015

SMART 911 – and MORE !! – Our Fire Chief Greg Bulanow has been a key member of a leadership committee bringing state-of-the-art upgrades to our community’s emergency call center operations. He presented a summary of recent improvements to city council last week. I’ve posted his entire Power Point presentation above.

The Citizen Alert Notification System provides “Reverse 911” notifications to citizens by phone, instant messages or e mail.

SMART 911 provides citizens the opportunity to register emergency information about themselves, their family members, their property and pets, i.e. disabilities, medications, living space patterns, etc. These “profiles” are encrypted and available only when a call for emergency assistance is made. This kind of information can be critically important for first responders.

TEXT to 911 gives the emergency call center the capacity to receive text messages requesting emergency response. (This will be fully launched in April.)

You can register for Smart 911 at www.smart911.com

And … You can register for all these features at www.charlestoncounty.org.

The Charleston County call center serves Greater Charleston, and these new programs are available to all North Charleston residents – including those of us who actually live in Dorchester County.

Chief Bulanow’s presentation is a nice summary of these important new systems, including very clear information about how to register. Hope you’ll take a few minutes to check it out.

SUNRISE TOWNHOMES AND THE PATRIOT HAIRPIN – Nearly seven years after initial planning and zoning approvals, D.R. Horton is hustling to get final plat approvals for its 79-unit Sunrise development at the Patriot hairpin. Look for lots of construction activity to begin soon in this area. Work on final ”smoothing” of this curve will also begin as soon as permits associated with wetland impacts are obtained. I have posted a very detailed drawing of the Sunrise layout and the revised curve angles. You can see this at www.ronbrinson.com One notable point – Sunrise will evolve with townhomes on both sides of Patriot. This neighborhood will become part of the The Farm at Wescott Homeowners Association. We should soon also have a better timetable for the linkage of Patriot Boulevard to the Charleston Park “Trump” corridor.

Quick Answers To Frequently-Asked Questions – It’s a Sears Outlet soon to open in the Festival Center, in the former Hamricks space; no further news about this giant and mostly vacant property. It’s a Bojangles at the Ladson Road-Palmetto Commerce corner, opposite the new Spinx operation. Look for a grocery (probably a Walmart Neighbrohood) and an adjoined fuel station to occupy most of the space on Ladson Road between Spinx and the entrance to Wellborn Village. There’s a new bank/credit union at the Corner at Wescott – the second branch of Tampa-based Grow Finanical. Raising Cane, a chicken specialty restaurant, will soon break ground.

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CHECK IN REGULALRY AT WWW.NORTHCHARLESTON.ORG for loads of information on city activities, including recreation programs and cultural arts.

I Always Appreciate Your Feedback…..Contact me with your questions and your counsel. Most property and homeowners associations are now recirculating this newsletter. If yours is not, I hope they will. And please pass this on to your neighbors. I would be pleased to add anyone to the direct mailing list. They need only to contact me at rbrin@aol.com

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

District 4 Updates- November 15, 2014.

Roper St. Francis Healthcare broke ground last week for its five-floor 130,000 square foot administrative office center on Palmetto Commerce Parkway at Patriot Boulevard. It’s a $28 million facility and when it opens in spring 2016, 600 management and administrative personnel will work under one roof. They’ll enjoy a workplace environment that will include walking trails, a fitness center, and a café.

Roper St. Francis opened its consolidated data center complex on an adjacent PCP property earlier this year. These properties are owned by the venerable Medical Society of South Carolina, an organization of some 400 physicians. The Society traces its Charleston roots to 1789. It is a non-profit organization – and thus, is generally exempt from property taxes.

Roper St. Francis’ growth and expansion to PCP is good news economically for sure, and more evidence that PCP is a hotbed commercial development corridor and a center of “good jobs” employment. Boeing is expanding its PCP presence steadily; so are Cummins and Daimler Vans. Charleston County is moving along with its plans for a state-of-the-art recycling center on PCP.

But with that good news, there is the one issue I hear most about in my Council work – TRAFFIC. At either end of Palmetto Commerce Parkway at rush hour, it’s simply awful – and likely to get worse before final solutions can be planned and built.

The City has a limited role in roadway capacities — but we do beg, plead and importune Charleston County and the S.C. Department of Transportation to address traffic congestion as a “quality-of-life” neighborhood issue.

A turning lane capacity expansion project is about to begin at PCP intersection with Ladson Road. This should help with the afternoon rush hour congestion nightmares.

The Corridor’s Ashley Phosphate intersection is more problematic. The big plan is a PCP “flyover” of Ashley Phosphate, but this is years away. We have now asked Charleston County to consider all possible interim improvements, such as better signaling.

Charleston County has taken the initiative in a somewhat related project – adding a second turning lane from Ashley Phosphate onto eastbound Interstate 26. This work should begin in late January, depending on weather.

And many of you have inquired as to what’s going on at the property generally behind Daimler and across from Boeing’s Interior Responsibility plant on Patriot Boulevard. A large land parcel is being cleared. The activity relates to a developer’s plans for a “spec” building to be built in the “near future.” One interesting planning factoid, however, is that the access road for this project will be a link in the Future Drive roadway which ultimately will link Patriot Boulevard to the new Interstate 26 interchange. The first phase of Future Drive, from Northside to PCP should be completed next summer.

Looks like we’ll have two Walmart Neighborhood grocery centers soon underway — one at Ladson Road and PCP, and another at Patriot Boulevard at Dorchester Road.

Look for a “Raising Cane” chicken restaurant project to begin at the Corner at Wescott early next year.

A Sears-K Mart “outlet” is the latest working rumor for a chunk of the Festival Center.

NOTE TO HOA AND POA officers – A new state law promotes maximum coordination between local governments and owners’ associations. This encourages the filing and timely updates of covenants, guidelines and standards. The net objective is to assure that neighborhood rules and regulations are fully respected in local governments’ planning, zoning and permitting. Most District 4 owners’ associations already provide such filings and updates routinely. Our city is working now to make filings and updates as simple as possible and I will keep the officers of owners’ associations informed.

North Charleston’s Annual Christmas Parade will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, December 6 at Park Circle. This is always a lively and colorful Holiday Season parade in a family environment. Hope to see you there.

Contact me with your questions and your counsel. And please pass this little newsletter on to your neighbors. I would be pleased to add anyone to the direct mailing list. They need only to contact me at rbrin@aol.com

District Updates

October 21, 2014

Notice the truck traffic warning signs on Patriot Boulevard? These signs are warnings to large truck drivers that Patriot Boulevard is not an authorized truck route. Only local deliveries are permitted. After this warning period, North Charleston police will begin appropriate enforcement initiatives.

New lane design and markings at Wescott Circle will take a bit longer. The projected costs for this work exceeds available funds budgeted, so the city’s public works department must wait for  funding cycles to catch up.  Look for this work to be completed early in 2015, well ahead of the beginning of construction of the new assisted living campus now approved by City Council and ready for permits and then site work. Pedestrian cross-walks have been completed at the Circle.

We now have an operative road maintenance partnership program underway with Dorchester County.  Finally !  As I’ve previously reported, each of South Carolina’s 46 counties receives a small portion of the state’s  16.75 cents per gallon fuel tax for road maintenance programs.  For Dorchester County, this has been averaging just over $1 million annually.  As some major roadways in District 4 continue to deteriorate into pot-hole corridors, we have challenged the County to help us with city streets. Actually, we learned that Dorchester County has never shared any funding with projects in District 4 and very little in District 9.  Those who attended the last meeting of the Fort Dorchester Residential Association heard this issue discussed fully with Councilmen Bailey and Hargett.  Last week, the Dorchester County Transportation Committee approved an initial program to resurface some key roadways.   Estimated costs – about $1 million, over four years. Funding will be “shared” by the city and the county. The city’s public works department will administer the first tranche of projects.

The priority project is repairing and repaving Patriot Boulevard at Ashley Phosphate Road.  Look for this work to begin as early as January, depending on weather.  Resurfacing Club Course Drive between Dorchester and Patriot is a “standby” priority and could get earlier attention if other priority projects attract lower bids, and thus cost savings. (This is a possibility given falling crude oil prices which should translate into lower asphalt prices.)

The Sunrise town home development at Patriot’s hairpin  is nearing its renewal. This neighborhood will be a part of The Farm at Wescott HOA.  The original plan – approved in 2008 — called for 81 condominium “town homes” clad in vinyl.   As I reported earlier, I objected to the process that allowed a six-year-old plan to proceed without any accommodation to current neighborhood conditions. And I received lots of help in registering this objection from the property owners associations in The Farm and Coosaw Creek — and finally Mayor Summey.  D.R. Horton has now agreed to alter its plans from condominium to “fee simple” town home ownership, to use cememt board (“Hardie Plank”) as the principal exterior cladding, to restrict on-street parking, to limit the number of units to 79 , to respect and maintain the 50-foot buffer with West Fairway Woods, to donate land needed to correct the “hairpin”, and to donate the land needed to connect the Charleston Park street system to Patriot Boulevard. There are still some street dimension issues being worked on, but this project will be more a 2014 plan than a 2008 program,  and that’s a good thing for our broader community. Kudos to D.R. Horton for its willingness to address neighborhood concerns – and thanks to The Farm and Coosaw Creek owners associations for their informed representations of issues and concerns.

Look for that “hairpin” correction project on Patriot Boulevard  to begin in the first quarter of 2015. It is under design now and a federal permit is needed because a small section of a regulated wetland will be impacted.  (This redesign has been planned for many years. This sharp curve is border-line hazardous and simply must be corrected.)

The Ladson Road at Palmetto Commerce Parkway Intersection improvements project is ready to begin. This Charleston County work should start in mid-November and be completed within 12 weeks. Turning lane capacities will be expanded. This should provide some relief for afternoon congestion horrors at this busy intersection. Wish I had any such “positive” news about the other end of PCP – the intersection of Ashley Phosphate which is steroidal congestion in the mornings.  Employment at PCP businesses and plants has doubled in the last three years. It is expected to double again in the next three years. The highway has become a major traffic connector, too.  The Future Drive project connecting the Northside Drive corridor is well underway and is scheduled for completion next August.  The PCP “flyover” of Ashley Phosphate and down to the Boeing campus is still in early planning. As a solution to the morning congestion issues, it is many years away. We have asked the S.C. Department of Transportation and Charleston County to consider some interim initiatives that might provide any measure of relief.  I will keep you posted.

Recyclables disposal service is uniformly provided by county governments.  But Dorchester offers only disposal collection “sites” while Charleston offers curbside pickup.  Our city, wanting to provide consistent services, provides curbside services to its residents in Dorchester County. And demand for this grows steadily throughout the Dorchester corridor communities. but recently there have been delays in pick up schedules.  This problem flares periodically for several reasons. One is the growing use of recyclables disposal in the broad Wescott community  – which is a very good trend.  But this growth has created a service demand that at times exceeds the city’s current resources. North Charleston provides its Dorchester County residents with curb service with the use of a  single garbage truck adapted for the purpose. At times, that truck fills quickly necessitating additional trips to the disposal site. It is during these periods that the crews run woefully behind.

The challenge for our city is to match resources to the demand. I assure you our public works department is working to achieve just that.

Please share this newsletter with your neighbors, and I’ll be glad to add anyone to the distribution list. They need only to contact me at rbrin@aol.com. 

Also, please check in regularly at  www.northcharleston.org for information on city services – or requests for city services — and activities and programs for city residents. Here’s an  example of one such opportunity, a message from Salley Mobley about a special volunteering program:

It has been my pleasure to volunteer with Reading Partners at Burns Elementary for the last several years.  The curriculum is very simple to follow and time spent with a young mind is good for the soul.  The Mayor has been a great supporter of this program since its inception.  I hope you will consider signing up, here is a breakdown of needs in our fair city: 

Chicora Elementary            30 tutors needed now

Burns Elementary                40 tutors needed now

Hursey Elemntary                45 tutors needed now

Goodwin Elementary          30 tutors needed now.

 

Centers are also opening at Lambs and Pepperhill in November so they’ll need a substantial number of tutors there as well.

With as little as one hour a week, you can make a difference in a child’s life. Reading Partners is a national program with measureable results. In Charleston County last year, 71% of students increased their literacy learning and 94% of tutors reported satisfaction in their experience with both Reading Partners and public education.

To sign up, contact: Sally Mobley Volunteer Coordinator

sally.mobley@readingpartners.org

843-860-3915

District 4 Updates – September 20, 2014

Next Meeting of Fort Dorchester Residential Association

Wednesday, October 8, 7 p.m. Wescott Park Community Center

Dorchester County Councilmen Larry Hargett and George Bailey will be principal speakers. We have been working closely with the County to redefine road maintenance and general drainage projects. Most District 4 constituents reside in Dorchester County and we rely on certain Dorchester services.  Councilmen Hargett and Bailey are veterans in county government and they have been trying to help us with road and drainage projects. This forum is of timely interest and I hope to see you there. Please invite your neighbors.

ASSISTED LIVING CENTER – WESCOTT CIRCLE – This project plan will receive final approval Thursday night by City Council.  In first reading and during the public hearing last week, the developers were complimented for having agreed to a public meeting before submitting their plans, AND for responding to the concerns expressed by residents.  Actually, the community residents who participated in the July 28 public meeting are to be applauded, too. It was another excellent example of constructive dialogue that makes a difference. The developers’ most notable change was to reduce the main building’s height to three floors.  Construction should begin in the Spring of 2015. In the meanwhile, pedestrian crossings are now in place at the traffic circle and the city will soon install new lane markings and caution signs. The City will continue to look for ways to make this traffic circle and intersection work better.

NO NEW GASOLINE STATIONS!  – That’s an assurance of current zoning ordinances governing the Dorchester overlay district. But what about existing stations, those with outdated operations and “tired” looks?  City Council will soon approve ordinance amendments to allow existing stations to “remodel” within existing property footprints. Whenever this happens, the stations will be required to bring the entire property to 2014 zoning and overlay district standards with emphasis on buffering and landscaping.  The Shell station/convenience store at Ashley Phosphate and Dorchester will likely be the first property to apply for a remodeling project under this amendment. We have not heard from the Hess station operators at Club Course and Dorchester.  As I reported to you previously, an informal request for a fuel service island at the Corner at Wescott was rejected summarily. (The Sunoco operation at Patriot and Ashley Phosphate is closed while a larger annex building is constructed and the interior of its convenience store is rearranged. This is no doubt in response to that massive Spinx Station soon to open across Dorchester Road.)

Compensation: Mayor and City Council –   Mayor Summey isbasically the chief executive of our city’s $105 million operation. He also is a member of the 11- person City Council.  Every four years, Council considers compensation levels for the mayor and city council members with any changes to be effective upon the following election – January 2016.  On Thursday, Council will consider a Finance Committee report recommending an increase in the mayor’s annual salary from $148,905 to $176,255, and Council members’ annual compensation from   $15,965 to $18,779.  The Finance Committee voted unanimously last week for the mayor’s salary proposal.   The Committee approved the council compensation increase on a 6-5 vote and after a spirited debate.  I voted against this and so did Councilmen Stigler and Astle.  I shall vote against it again Thursday evening. 

The Patriot Boulevard “Hairpin” and Sunrise Development-

I continue to work with D.R. Horton representatives hoping to convince them to update and upgrade their 2008 plans for 78 condominium townhomes around the ‘hairpin’.  This plan –“Sunrise”- actually stands approved and the developer could proceed any day. But the basic point of implementing a project planned six years ago in a community that has changed notably over that time is troubling. To its credit, D.R. Horton reps are responding to these concerns.  Among the “updates” and “upgrades” we hope for – altering the “condominium” format to “fee simple” ownership, streets that meet city standards, and upgrading exterior materials and driveway parking. We will not compromise on the 50-foot rear buffer or any other wetlands protections.  Mayor Summey has been helping with this process.  Hope to have some news soon.

But …..look for the ‘hairpin’ correction project to begin early in 2015. Mayor Summey has given this long considered project priority status. The work will bring a smoother and safer curve with a 35-mph “rating.”  This is not the beginning of widening this section of Patriot Drive.  While widening is a longer range plan, I don’t see how that project can begin for at least another five to seven years, given current funding realities.

Our CITY is alive with so many activities – from cultural arts to recreational programs for children, adults — and us senior citizens.  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.

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

August 27, 2014That long vacant building in front of Walmart on Dorchester Road is about to become a “Triangle Char and Bar.”  This will be the third restaurant in the Charleston-based chain. Opening is targeted for late September. Check it out at   http://trianglecharandbar.com/Café Craft is another new bar-restaurant, located at the Village at Coosaw Creek – corner of Dorchester and Club Course. It features small plates and a revolving menu of craft beers from many locations. http://www.beermenus.com/places/16828-cafe-craftRoad Projects UpdatesFuture Drive & Northside Drive Extension – This major road project is moving toward its final stages. It connects Highway 78 to Ashley Phosphate and creates a traffic artery for the 1,800- acre Ingleside Plantation planned development.  A long term feature would connect this new roadway to Patriot Boulevard, somewhere near the Joe Pye Elementary School. You can check out the project’s scope and dimensions and its status at

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

A separate but functionally related project is the Palmetto Commerce Interchange which is progressing through initial conceptual planning phases. This would create a new interchange at Interstate 26 and Future Drive/Northside Drive, providing a direct access connector to Interstate 26 from Palmetto Commerce Parkway. Construction is projected to begin in November 2016 and to be completed in late 2018.  That is dependent on the very large issue of funding.

You can check out this project athttp://www.charlestoncounty.org/departments/tst/pci.htm

Charleston County also is developing “PCP Phase 3” conceptual plans for taking Palmetto Commerce Parkway over Ashley Phosphate with an ultimate connection at or near the Boeing campus.  The options include some that would heavily impact several older neighborhoods east of the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks. You can read about this project phase athttp://www.charlestoncounty.org/departments/tst/pci.htm

Or you can attend the first public meeting on

PCP Phase 3 planning options -6 p.m. Tuesday, September 10,

At Stall High School, 3625 Ashley Phosphate Rd

The Ladson at Palmetto Commerce Parkway intersection is an afternoon traffic nightmare. Charleston County Council this week approved a construction project that will add a right turn lane and increase capacities of the others. This project should be completed within 90 days.

Artist-In-Residence

Our City’s Cultural Arts Department has appointed mixed media artist Alexandra Roberts as Artist-in-Residence for 2014/15.  The City’s Artist-in-Residence serves as a key resource for the department’s outreach programs, especially in the area of art instruction. The selected artist shares his/her unique skills, talents, and experiences by providing services to senior groups, public schools, group homes, and various other groups within the city limits of North Charleston. Alexandra Roberts will instruct at North Charleston schools and is available for workshops for community groups of all ages.

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MISC…

Be sure to check in at www.Northcharleston.org for information on all activities. Let me know whenever you have questions – or counsel — about any aspect of city government or services. You can monitor recent crime reports at   http://www.northcharleston.org/Residents/Police/Crime-Stats.aspx

And please tell your neighbors that I’d be pleased to include them in the circulation of this little newsletter. They should contact me at rbrin@aol.com and simply share their e mail address.

DISTRICT 4 UPDATES – AUGUST 1, 2014

Wescott Circle-Assisted Living Center –The well-attended public meeting last Monday evening produced two primary concerns: 1.) the scale of the proposed four-floor building and 2.) the functionality and inherent traffic safety of the Wescott Traffic Circle. We have progress already on both issues. The developers working with architects in Dallas, Texas, have concluded they can reduce the height of the building to three floors. All buffering requirements will remain as proposed. The amendments needed to the 2006 Planned Development District will soon be before the Planning Commission. These developers have done exactly what they promised during the meeting – consider the possibilities of reducing the profile of this building. It was very clear at our Monday evening meeting that there is growing anxiety about the Wescott traffic circle.  Councilman Stigler and I have shared such concerns frequently in our conversations with city planners. Following last Monday’s meeting, I spoke with Dwight during his vacation in Montana and then to Mayor Summey and his staff.  The mayor actually drove over to Mount Pleasant to inspect personally a recently designed traffic circle. He has now directed police traffic professionals to work with public works to implement some interim improvements. Very soon residents will see signs announcing the changes which should be fully implemented by September 1.  And these changes will include one well-marked lane within the circle, lower speed limits within the circle and at the approaches to the circle, warning lights for speed changes and better lane markings. There will also be more enforcement of speed limits. These are interim steps — the Mayor and his staff are considering long range solutions to this intersection, and now such planning will be a part of the development projects being proposed.

Gas Station Rumors – I tracked one of these to its source this week and learned such a proposal for the Corner at Wescott was being considered. I’ve informed the developer that gas stations are not permitted uses in any part of the Dorchester Overlay District, which includes most of District 4.  It is possible that an exemption could be proposed to the city, via Planning Commission and City Council procedures. I don’t think any such proposal would be approved and, as I have informed the developers, I would not support it.

  Sunrise Development –  As reported last week, this condominium project at the Patriot Boulevard “hairpin” as approved in 2008, is moving toward implementation. This was the final amendment to The Farm at Wescott planned development district. The developer – D.R. Horton – now wants to convert to townhomes and spread the footprint somewhat to the west side of Patriot once the “hairpin” is redesigned. The developer could proceed immediately with the original condo plan but the proposed changes require Planning Commission reviews and City Council approvals.  Biggest concern is density/number of units and quality of external materials. I will keep everyone informed. WWW.NorthCharleston.org  is a full service interactive tool for residents. Visit it often for up to date information on activities and services provided by your city government. If you’re interested in crime statistics and daily reports, go to http://www.northcharleston.org/Residents/Police/Crime-Stats.aspx And if you ever have a question that I might be able to answer, please contact me at rbrin@aol.com Tell your neighbors about this little newsletter and I’ll be glad to add to the “mailing” list anyone interested in receiving it. Just send me a note at   rbrin@aol.com

Saturday, September 13 at 7:30pmNorth Charleston Performing Arts Center The North Charleston POPS! kicks off its 2014-2015 season with a“Boston Pops Tribute” concert!  The show will pay tribute to great Boston Pops conductors Arthur Fiedler and John Williams. Williams is also known as the composer ofsome of the most popular movie scores of all time including Jaws, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Raiders and Schindler’s List.  The evening will be packed with familiar delights, fun instrumental soloists and a chorus under the energetic baton of special conductor Mary Woodmansee Green. Internet Pre-sale! Internet offer begins Friday, August 1 at 10:00am and runs until Sunday, August 3 at 10:00pm Internet Pre-sale Password: BOSTON
Public on sale Monday, August 4 at 10:00am.  Tickets are available at the Coliseum Advance Ticket Office, Ticketmaster.com, Ticketmaster outlets (including select Publix grocery stores) or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000.
www.NorthCharlestonColiseumPAC.com

District 4 Updates

Thanks for the great attendance and discussion forum

on Monday evening (July 7) of the Fort Dorchester Residential Association.

 Rezoning of most of Palmetto Commerce Parkway properties has  been completed.  The mayor’s office nine months ago initiated a zoning package to rezone these properties to M-1 (industrial) in accordance with planning and zoning maps.  Mayor Summey granted my request that this initiative be suspended until all issues related to buffers and boundaries of existing and planned residential neighborhoods were carefully considered. City Council last week gave unanimous approval to a rezoning package that includes agricultural zoning for much of the property bordering Coosaw Creek, The Farm at Wescott, Coosaw Preserve and Indigo Palms. This process has documented regulatory wetlands which essentially provide natural buffering for Indigo Palms and Coosaw Creek – and protection of the McChune Branch runoffs which are so important to drainage in our broad neighborhood.  This process was delayed because some of the property to be zoned “agriculture” was not in the city.  The Mayor and I concluded the property should be annexed into the city and immediately zoned “agriculture” so as to provide better long term public control. This property is the only property in our city zoned “agriculture.” We can be grateful for Mayor Summey’s help and the cooperation of the property owners in getting this rezoning package as “right” as possible.  So, with this rezoning package, our neighborhoods have immediate buffer-boundary protection. But over the long term, such “protections” are subject to change by future mayors and city council.  North Charleston and Dorchester County is a center of dynamic growth.  Well-informed neighborhood vigilance of government plans and policies was the key in achieving the results we needed this time. But we are reminded that such vigilance and care must be continued.

At the  FDRA meeting  Monday evening, we discussed

  • Charleston County’s plans for a recycling center on Palmetto Commerce Parkway
  • Problems at the barricaded end of Windsor Hill Boulevard at Indigo Palms
  • Quickly forming plans to extend Charleston Park’s Parlor Drive to Patriot as originally planned, and
  • Quickly forming plans to straighten the hairpin curve on Patriot Boulevard
  • Lagging plans by Charleston County to improve turning lane capacities and traffic flows at Palmetto Commerce Parkway and Ladson Road. (I’ll also share what seems to be in the works for the intersection quadrant at PCP/Ladson.
  • Road repaving plans in cooperation with Dorchester County
  • Termination of the Community Action Committee and introduction of a new citywide action group to be formed by neighborhood association presidents.

Our  city’s  website  is now a full service interactive tool for residents. Hope you will visit it often for up to date information on activities and services provided by your city government. If you’re interested in crime statistics and daily reports, go to http://www.northcharleston.org/Residents/Police/Crime-Stats.aspx

And if you ever have a question that I might be able to answer, please contact me at rbrin@aol.com

 

Please tell your neighbors about this little newsletter and I’ll be glad to add to the “mailing” list anyone interested in receiving it. Just send me a note at   rbrin@aol.com

 I’m trying to update a list of homeowners’ association presdients’ e-mail addresses. Can you help me?

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From North Charleston Recreation Department

Dear Parents,

Welcome to the 2014 Fall Sports programs!  We are excited to have your child/children registered to participate in the upcoming season. Once again, we have a dedicated group of volunteers ready to coach, teach, and mentor your child. Volunteer coaches are very important to our program and we appreciate all of their hard work and dedication.  With your help and support, by having your child at practices and games in a timely manner, and communicating with your coach, we will have a very successful season. Parents will be contacted by their coaches before practices start for the sport in which you have registered.

The following is a breakdown of what equipment your child/children will need for each sport.  Please make sure you read the following instructions carefully.

If you are registering for Tackle Football

You will need to buy your child their own equipment. This equipment consists of shoulder pads, helmet, chin strap, colored mouth piece (clear mouthpieces are not acceptable), knee pads, thigh pads, hip pads, tailbone pad, athletic supporter and cup, rubber cleats,  football pants, practice shirt and any other equipment you might think they will need. We suggest going to T & T Sports on Rivers Ave., where they will be able to guide you through the process and make sure the equipment fits properly. Each participant will receive a game jersey, socks and decals for their helmet.

 

If you are registering for Flag Football

You will need to buy your child their own rubber cleats or rubber sole tennis shoes as well as a mouth piece. Flag belts will be provide for use during the season, but must be returned to the recreation department. Each participant will receive a game jersey, socks and shorts.

 

If you are registering for Cheerleading

There is an additional cost for the cheerleading uniform.  Please make sure you have tried a uniform sample on your daughter. Your daughter will receive a sweatshirt and pom poms. Once teams are formed, they may decide to get hair bows, colored shoes strings, etc.  This will be determined during practice times.  Cheerleaders will need to wear comfortable tennis shoes to practice and games.

 

If you are registering for Recreational Soccer

You will need to buy your child a set of shin guards. Make sure the shin guards fit your child properly. They will also need rubber cleats or rubber sole tennis shoes. Rubber cleats are recommended above the U8 level. Each participant will receive a game shirt, shorts and socks.

 

If you are registering for Fall Softball

You will need to buy your child a helmet with a facemask and chinstrap. They will also need rubber cleats and their own glove. Each participant will receive a game shirt, socks, pants and visor.

If you are registering for Fall Baseball

You will need to buy your child a helmet with a facemask and chinstrap. They will also need rubber cleats and their own glove. Each participant will receive a game shirt, socks, pants and hat.

Important dates to remember!!

Fall baseball and softball practices can begin the week of August 25, 2014

Fall baseball and softball games will begin the week of September 15, 2014

Football practices (non-contact) can begin the week of August 25, 2014

Football practices (full contact) can begin the week of September 1, 2014

Football games will begin on September 20, 2014 with a Jamboree

Cheerleading practices can begin the week of September 1, 2014

Cheerleading games will begin on September 20, 2014 with a Jamboree

Soccer Practices can begin the week of September 1, 2014

Soccer games will begin September 27, 2014 with Soccer Jamboree at River Oaks Soccer Complex

North Charleston Recreation Department is always looking for volunteer coaches and team sponsors.

For more information please call:

Armory Park-745-1032,   Northwoods Park-572-5410,

Danny Jones Gym-745-1033,   River Oaks Gym-695-2478

City Hall-740-5803 / 740-5804   Westcott Park 767-0782

 

 

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.

 

 

Message from Police Chief Driggers – Daily Crime Reports

Thank your for your interest in tracking criminal activity in your neighborhood; the City of North Charleston is always pleased when its citizens want to become involved and informed about the welfare and safety of its residents.  Although you have asked for a copy of the Daily Police Report that is sent to our City Council members, I want to bring to your attention a very informative link to the City’s website that provides not only crime statistics, it can also be personalized with address mapping.  You can ask for a certain type of crime(s) within certain date ranges, and within a certain distance from your home, work, school or other location of interest to you.  It also provides information on registered sex criminals.  Additional analysis of crime is offered, showing what type of crime is more prevalent on a certain day or hour of the day, and anonymous tips can be entered as well.   Also, you can sign up at this site for Crime Alerts and/or daily/weekly or monthly reports, as personalized by you for your needs, and sent to your computer or iPhone.  Please take a minute to view the following link and feel free to share this with your neighbors, Neighborhood Association members, friends and family members.  http://www.northcharleston.org/Residents/Police/Crime-Stats.aspx

City of North Charleston Emergency Preparedness

Greetings Community Friends and Council!

Thank you so much to all that attended and participated in our first annual America’s PrepareAthon Town Hall Meeting on Emergency Preparedness. I really appreciate the support! I believe the items in the below e-brief further supports the topics we discussed that night. We really need to be communications champions and pass the word on to family and friends about emergency preparedness. As it was mentioned many times during our Town Hall Meeting, it is key for the city’s resources to be focused on RECOVERY after an event.

We discussed many topics and we really had some great suggestions from those in attendance. Remember this is OUR plan and together with everyone making
an effort to prepare themselves and their families we will gain strength from whatever event we are challenged with.

Also, included in the article, was yet another item we discussed during our meeting, and that was volunteering and the need for volunteers to make all of the programs mentioned functional when disaster strikes. Our Volunteer Coordinator, Belinda Swindler, is working on ways to make it easy for you to sign-up with the ability to pick your location of choice to volunteer. Please be looking for those forthcoming opportunities to volunteer.

Below are some dates for you to mark on your calendar to remember:
· June 1st – Atlantic Hurricane Season begins
· June 4th – Recovery Drill POD’s (Points of Distribution) and NDIP’s (Neighborhood Distribution and Information Points)

1. Location: POD site TBD @ 9:00 a.m.

2. Location: NDIP – Riverbluff Church, Whitehall Subdivision @ 12:00 noon

· June 7th – The Dorchester County Hurricane Preparedness Expo at Lowe’s on Dorchester Rd.

· June 19th – Charleston County Drill: The City of North Charleston will activate the MEOC (Municipal Emergency Operations Center)

**All are welcome to come out and view the June 4th event where both the POD (Points of Distribution) and the NDIP (Neighborhood Distribution Information Points) will be activated;however, the June 19th event is closed to the public.

Thanks so much for your service to our city, and again, for your support of emergency preparedness.

Butch Barfield, Director N. Char. Emergency Preparedness