The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance
McLeod Plantation - Disappointment with City Council
1212 Taliaferro Ave.
What a disappointment our City Council leaders are. They do follow the leader well though. They don't have a clue about James Island or the importance of the McLeod property. Maybe we are just the little redheaded stepchild who gets handed down whatever scraps may be left. Most don't know we have already three large empty shopping center buildings, our traffic is horrendous and that there are people who care about their heritage. If they do, they seem to be either too tired to comprehend the issue so follow the leader, or they don't care as they have their own agenda. Thank God for Bob George, Kwadjo Campbell, and James Lewis who stood up for us and their own beliefs, opposing the rezoning on this valuable historic site. Admitted, it must be difficult for councilmembers to take some of the verbal abuse that comes their way. There surely are better ways to get one's point across besides calling people stupid! Fortunately there were only one or two of those folks and they made points about another issue and not this rezoning.
James Island residents who spoke at the rezoning hearing for McLeod Plantation generally were to the point, polite and with a dash of passion for emphasis - some more passionate than others. We owe a big thanks to our State Representative Wallace and Robert Scarborough who were bold in their opposition but not rude or disrespectful. I suppose they know what it takes. A thanks goes also to the many Friends of McLeod especially Eugene Frazier, Mike Taylor, William Richardson, Queen Quet of the Gullah Geechee Nation and the Wisdom Circle Council of Elders for the Gullah/Geechee Nation, Joe Quail, Mrs. Dalton and many other James Island residents who spoke in opposition to rezoning. There was even a Folly Beach Builder Artisan and a West Ashley Hwy 61 resident who opposed reasoning from personal experience.
There are many reasons why it is wrong to build on the McLeod Plantation property and the most important depends on to whom you talk. There is historical significance -, 300 years of the heart, soul and spirit of the land. That would include matters that relate to environment, archeology, the Colonial, Revolutionary War and Civil War periods, and the African and American heritage. Ok, if that's too idealistic for you, there is the reality of more traffic, noise and people, not only on Folly Road at one of the worst intersections, but on Harborview, around the Harborview Elementary School, and in one of the finest old neighborhoods, Dogwood Park on James Island.
Mayor Riley spoke of how Charleston became the fine city it is now because of the necessity for buildings to readapt to the changing times. I guess he forgot about those empty shopping center buildings, which need to readapt. There was much assurance of preserving the history and riding bikes to the school. I bet they didn't think about the noisy college parties that are likely to be held at the school campus. Maybe the dead will enjoy the parties, but I doubt the neighbors will as they try to sleep. No one spoke of how dangerous it is to be on a bicycle at that part of Folly Rd. or that if students can't get a parking spot, the neighborhood streets will do just fine.
Councilmember Gallant put in his two cents about the half cent sales tax which I find hard to swallow when the City has spent much money to pay the City Planning to execute and show us plans for this American College of Building Arts only to have them reworked and submitted again for this development among other wasteful spending such as sending old paintings to Boston for storage while City Hall renovation occurs to the tune of $$$'s!!!. We spent a large portion of the evening discussing the importance of saving the McLeod Plantation's African American Heritage but a multi million dollar African American Heritage Museum is underway to be built in the next couple of years in downtown Charleston near the Aquarium which is in financial despair!
It's not over yet, the City will spend more time and money discussing this......and some say it's a done deal. If you don't believe that, come put your two cents in! Or just save your two cents worth, pay the half cent sales tax and let them decide everything for you.
The Board of Zoning Appeals meeting is Tuesday, September 21 at 5.15 pm and will be held at 75 Calhoun Street. Be there! Don't let them decide for you!!!