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City Council, January 22

City to consider new skateboarding regulations
Commercial/residential development on Folly Road approved
Warwick Jones

Proposed regulations governing skateboarders will come before Council within a month or so. Last night, the Committee formed to shape the regulations presented its proposals. However, there was no discussion. This will wait until the Traffic and Transport Committee considers the proposals, and public hearings.

Council member Seekings who headed the Skateboard Committee was highly critical of present regulations governing skateboards. They were hard to understand and unenforceable. He said a lot of work had gone into creating the proposed “common sense” regulations.

Viewers can see the proposed regulations and the streets where skateboarding is prohibited by pressing Download file. Skateboarder will have the rights and duties that are applicable to the drivers of motor vehicles. This implies that they can’t use sidewalks and must obey one–way traffic signs. Other rules relate to footwear, hand signals, helmets, and riders attaching themselves to vehicles. Probably of greater interest, is the expansion of the number of roads over which skateboarding is prohibited. Predictably, it includes most of the commercial area of the peninsula – along Broad, Meeting, King, Calhoun and East Bay Streets. But it also includes some of the important streets north of Calhoun.

Council member Lewis, clearly no friend of skateboarders as he reflected on some of his encounters, wondered whether the proposed ordinance would be enforced. He noted that bikes were supposed to conform to traffic rules but cyclists frequently used sidewalks. Council member Hallman followed with a question as to whether the Police Department had been consulted over the proposed ordinance. Council member Seekings replied with a strong affirmative adding that members of the Police Department had participated in shaping the proposed ordinance.

Some of us will be saddened by one clause in the proposed ordinance. “It is unlawful, taunt, or maliciously throw an object at or in the direction of any person riding a skateboard”. Hmmm... Does this mean that before this proposed ordinance is implemented, skateboards are “fair game”? OK, just joking.

Opposition to a development on Folly Road
Much to the discomfort of Council member Wilson, a number of citizens rose in Citizen’s Participation to oppose or delay a residential/commercial development on Folly Road. The development is in her district. She noted after their comments that she had spent much time with nearby residents in the Ocean Neighbors community and that the development had the support of neighborhood associations. The present opposition was a surprise.

The proposed development covers some 30 acres in an irregular area stretching from Folly Road on the west and Grimball Road Extension to the north. Part of the development has already been approved as a Planned Unit Development (PUD) by Council. The developer wanted to add some parcels to the PUD and these parcels were on last night’s agenda for annexation.

Mr. Tim Keane, Director of Planning, Preservation and Sustainability told Council that the site had become a junk yard and eye sore. The developer planned construction of a maximum 294 units in a multifamily development. All would be low-rise, rental units. There would also be commercial development along Folly Road. The density in the amended PUD would be little different to that in the original PUD. He also noted in response to a question that the parcels lent themselves to residential and commercial development. The land was once zoned light industrial but considering the residential development surrounding the parcels, the continuation of such zoning was not appropriate.

It was the density more than anything else that concerned the citizens who spoke in Citizens Participation. They didn’t like the concomitant traffic flow from the development onto Grimball Road Extension and Folly Road. They noted the long lines of traffic in summer. Some said that a traffic light was imperative at the junction of Folly and Grimball Roads. Some also opposed the proposed bike lane from the development to Old Military Road. As it was a very narrow stretch of land, unlit and obscure, they feared what it might attract.

Council member Wilson had no argument with the suggestion of a traffic light and had already sought it. She also agreed that the bike trail was not a good idea and proposed an amendment to remove it. The Mayor also weighed in saying he would strongly urge the SC DOT to install the suggested traffic light.
The Council unanimously approved the annexations, the PUD amendment, and the addition of Council member Wilson’s amendment.

Other items from last night’s meeting were:

  • The presentation of the 2013 Harold Koon Award to Mac McBride. Mr. McBride is the President of the Daniel Island Neighborhood Association.

  • An ordinance making it an offence to rummage remove, scavenge etc. through any solid waste container whether located on kerb side or drop-off or collection points. The scattering of any contents of a container is also prohibited

  • The Mayor’s State of the City address. As usual, address has been widely covered in the media and we will make little comment. We do concur with the P&C that there were few new initiatives, a reflection probably of how many that are now underway. In our view and ceertainly others the transformation of King Street over recent years and particularly north of Calhoun has been a great achievement. The variety and number of restaurants that have opened has been impressive. But as we and others have observed, some of the patrons that are attracted to the bars and restaurants are doing little to enhance the area. Bodies of youth are sometimes loud, intoxicated and aggressive. We have never seen a fight develop on the street but others have and gone elsewhere to dine. We suspect the police are aware of the problem as we frequently see parked police vehicles on the street.

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