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A wake up call for Johns Island

Tom Wise
4355 River Road
Johns Island

Residents of Johns Island and Charleston County must unite to restrain the urban sprawl that is destroying the rural ambience of Johns Island. We need to show our support for the recent application submitted to the Charleston County Planning Department to amend Charleston County's Comprehensive Plan, reinstating the original Urban Growth Line on Johns Island to its original boundary, recommended by the Planning Commission and approved by County Council in 1999.

For a map showing the original and expanded boundaries go to here

The boundary was expanded by final vote of County Council in November 2003, to include a large section of land west of Brownswood Road to Main Road, because of pressure on the Planning Commission and County Council from real estate interests and developers, and a misunderstanding on the part of concerned Johns Island residents stemming from statements by council members that the Urban Boundary would not be moved. Johns Island residents were basically ambushed while their guard was down.

The first application to amend the Comprehensive Plan and reinstate the original boundary was made late last year (2003), and actually made it through to the third and final reading by County Council before being turned down. Council member attendance at the final meeting quite possibly played a role in the motion to deny.

It is obvious from looking at the map of the expanded and original Urban Growth Lines that the New Urban Area will serve as 'the first domino' in the increasing loss of rural land if it is allowed to remain in its expanded form.

But Johns Island residents have another opportunity to revert this expounded boundary back to its original configuration. 253 residents have already signed a petition from the first application to reverse the expansion, and though the City of Charleston may continue to annex portions or all of the original Suburban Area, increasing densities and pressures on an already overburdened infrastructure, the city has pretty much respected the letter and intent of the Comprehensive Plan, and hopefully will continue to do so.

'Town Center' and 'greenbelt' are popular planning terms these days…Lets make sure that our County Planning Commission and County Council understand that Johns Island deserves a well defined Town Center and green belt, with emphasis on a denser, diversified, and mixed use Town Center along Maybank, including the original Suburban Area; and a greenbelt that preserves a rural landscape, a historic farming economy, and the rural way of life that makes Johns Island unique. This rural greenbelt should include the expanded new Suburban Area as originally planned, and should not be easily compromised.

Please send a letter to the Charleston County Planning Commission and County Council stating your wish to amend the Comprehensive Plan to revert back to the original Urban Growth Line. Include you name, address, telephone number, and the reasons behind your decision. Address your letters to:

Jennifer Miller
Director, Planning Department
4045 Bridge View Drive
North Charleston, SC 29405-7464
Fax 202-7218.

Beverly T. Craven
Clerk of Council
4045 Bridge View Drive
North Charleston, SC 29405
Fax 958-4035

Let's send a strong message to County Planning and County Council that we want Johns Island to stay rural.

I'd like to thank CharlestonWatch.com for providing concerned citizens the potential for easy access to information regarding planning, zoning, and livability issues that affect our communities. Being aware of and understanding proposed changes to current planning and zoning is not always easy, but with our participation, this website will provide us with an invaluable tool to disseminate information, understand current issues, and help our voices be heard.

Please spread the word to other Johns Island friends and neighbors about this website. It can be a very valuable tool if used properly and often. I'll be reporting on Johns Island planning issues in the future.

Tom Wise

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