The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance

The Watch


Johns Island

Johns Island is a sort of battle ground - on one side are the proponents of growth and home construction, on the other side are conservationists who wish to see the rural ambience of Johns Island preserved. The battle line is distinctly drawn by the County-determined Urban Growth Boundary (UGB). Properties on the urban side can be subdivided and can look to the provision of water and sewage services. Properties on the rural side can be subdivided but minimum lot sizes are much larger and residences will not be provided with town water and sewage. The City of Charleston, which has been aggressively annexing property on James Island states that it will respect the UGB and not annex properties on the rural side of the unincorporated County areas. Annexation would open the door to the provision of town water and sewage services. .

May 04, 2018

County Council, May 3
Trying to breathe life into the Pitchfork projects
Real hurdles remain
Warwick Jones

We have often wondered over the past few years why Johns Islanders never rioted over their traffic problems. The completion of I-526 was expected by many to be the solution. But this plan was nixed near 10 years ago and the “pitchfork” solution agreed upon. And what has happened since? Possibly a lot in terms of planning and permitting but no progress. And in terms of construction, effectively nothing. Meanwhile, traffic congestion worsens and the patience of commuters increasingly tested.

Continue reading "County Council, May 3"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 03:46 PM

May 15, 2013

City Council, May 14
Council embraces “Late Night Entertainment Establishment Ordinance”
But not so keen on new rule to hide trash containers
Marc Knapp

The revitalization of upper King Street has been a remarkable success. Now sporting trendy restaurants, bars and retailers, the street stands in strong contrast to the shabby and neglected appearance some years ago. But the success has brought its own problems – the creep of bars and restaurants onto the fringes of adjacent residential areas and the large crowds of patrons in the late hours of the weekend. The City is attempting to address these problems and Council last night approved the Late Night Entertainment Establishment Ordinance. The ordinance must go through another two readings in its passage and most likely there will be amendments. But from the enthusiasm expressed last night, its passage seems inevitable.

Continue reading "City Council, May 14"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2013

City Council, April 23
Major development approved on Johns Island
Planning Commission vote ignored
Marc Knapp

The approval of the 462 acre Planned Unit Development (PUD) on Johns Island was not a surprise. But that it was approved so rapidly with no dissention was. The Planning Commission had voted unanimously to reject the proposed PUD. And in an effort to appease possible opposition on Council, the owners of the property voluntary offered to reduce the scale of the retail and commercial components. They didn’t need to make the effort. Council approved the PUD in its original form with only one member opposed.

Continue reading "City Council, April 23"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2010

County Council, October 19
Council endorses Finance Committee recommendation on Mark Clark
The sad plight of property holders in its possible path

Warwick Jones

Council made no substantial changes to the Finance Committee’s decision on the Mark Clark extension. The SC Department of Transport (DOT) will be asked

to further study plans for completion of I-526 Project, in addition to Alternative G to include:
1. Improve existing roads within the scope of the project
2. Proposal submitted at the Finance Committee entailing the completion of the project, without the James Island Leg
3. Further investigate New Ways to Work Plan

All continued analysis should bear in mind legal and financial constraints.

Continue reading "County Council, October 19"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 08:25 PM

October 15, 2010

County Council, October 14.
Yet another plan for Mark Clark expressway
DOT’s proposal looks dead!

Warwick Jones

And so it goes on. The issue of the extension of the Mark Clark expressway remains unresolved. It does seem that the proposal of the State Department of Transport (DOT) is dead. But what will be built in its stead, or indeed if anything will be built, remains unresolved.

Continue reading "County Council, October 14."

Posted by Warwick Jones at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2010

County Council, August 12
Sea Island Greenway killed again
County will proceed on Safety Measures only
Warwick Jones

The Sea Island Greenway (SIG) is dead, for now. It has been killed a couple of times in the past, but has somehow been resurrected. And maybe it will rise again to haunt the island. Its death last night was slow and extended over the major part of the two hour Finance Committee meeting. And indeed, there were times where it seemed the Sea Island monster would live to stretch its tentacle across the island. Ultimately, the Committee agreed only to Safety Improvements which include changes and modification to a number of intersections.

Continue reading "County Council, August 12"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2009

Shrimp n' Grits
Kiawah River Plantation Planned Development TIF District, A Boondoggle in the making

Lee Walton

Given the slim local news pickings lately in the Palter and Chatter, one is often forced to even read the minutia hidden in the bowels of the classified Public Notices and Meeting Notices to find out what’s happening on the Lowcountry political agenda.

Continue reading "Shrimp n' Grits"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 11:02 PM | Comments (0)

September 02, 2009

County Council, Sept 1
Johns Islanders confused
A choice between two unpalatable options?
Warwick Jones

Some Johns Islanders were shaking their heads after last night’s Council meeting. It wasn’t in disbelief so much as confusion. The Islanders have battled hard and consistently to restrain development on the Island and preserve its rural ambience. But after last night’s meeting, it seems they may have lost some ground.

Continue reading "County Council, Sept 1"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)

August 28, 2009

County Council, August 27
“Pitchfork plan” approved for Maybank Highway: Sea Island “Greenway” to be studied
Objectives defined for solid waste management
Warwick Jones

In common with Council members Schweers and McKeown, we were surprised to see “Johns Island Roads” on the Finance Committee meeting agenda without any supporting documentation. The documentation was given to Council Members just prior to the meeting and without time for proper consideration.

Continue reading "County Council, August 27"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2009

County Council, May 14
Budget outline defined for 2010
Exasperation over Chisolm Road properties. And Ms. Condon’s Birthday

Warwick Jones

Council has completed the broad strokes in painting the 2010 budget. The Finance Committee began the deliberations over the funds that make up the County’s budget about 2 weeks ago and yesterday completed its task, at leasat for the General Fund. Staff will now fill in the details. The first reading of the budget ordinance is scheduled for May 21.

Continue reading "County Council, May 14"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2009

Viewer questions City's action over Angel Oak
A mere pawn in Charleston’s game of taxes?


In 2004, Charleston voters approved a ½ cent sales tax after 2 failed attempts. It was estimated that this tax will raise $1.3 billion over a 25 year period. A whopping 83% was earmarked for mass transit and roads. Roads such as the Mark Clark and Glenn McConnell extension which are “major sprawl-inducing projects” according to Dana Beach of SCCCL. Only 17%, down from the original 25%, of the tax will go to park and green space funding.

Continue reading "Viewer questions City's action over Angel Oak"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 08:38 AM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2008

County Council, October 16, 2008
Another traffic study for Johns Island
Approval for Comprehensive Plan but not for Compensation Study
Warwick Jones

Some Johns Island residents are getting irate. How many times do they have to defend the encroachment of development on the island? Most thought the proposal for a Cross Island Parkway to more easily link Kiawah and Seabrook Island developments to the City of Charleston was dead. However, Council member Thurmond has no intention of letting it die despite Council’s lack of enthusiasm for its resuscitation.

Continue reading "County Council, October 16, 2008"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 11:42 AM

September 24, 2008

City Council, September 23
A bond issue by the School District?
Agreement on City Market Area and Maybank Highway widening
Marc Knapp

It was another of those meetings – lots of talk but not much substance. There were the usual recognitions, this time, for many of the baseball and softball teams in West Ashley. But unlike most other recognitions, there was no standing ovation from Council members. Council members, and the rest of us, wished for a quick ending. The other items that took up most of the 3 hour meeting included a presentation from the Superintendent of the County School District, a contract for management of the City Market area, and discussions relating to resolutions, in particular that for the widening of Maybank Highway.

Continue reading "City Council, September 23"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:37 PM

July 28, 2008

Shrimp 'n Grits
Maybank consultants send mixed signals for Johns Island’s future
Lee Walton

If last week’s flurry of Palter and Chatter articles and commentaries are any indication, Charleston’s imperial mayor and his deal-estate development cronies have a whole lot riding on their world-class visions for the future of Maybank Highway and the rest of Johns Island. Riley and his want-to-be environmentalist and sidekick, Dana Beach, recently conned County Council into second-guessing the will of the voters who supported the ½ cent sales tax referendum and voted specifically to widen Maybank Highway. In a local parallel to what Bill Clinton’s meaning of the word “is” is, Riley and his stable of sycophantic pettifoggers are now claiming that construction of turn lanes and bike paths would legally constitute the vote-approved roadway widening. Meanwhile, Riley’s hired “ringers from off” have been spinning more convoluted and contradictory visions for the development of Johns Island.

Continue reading "Shrimp 'n Grits"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2008

County Council, June 26
Issue on choice of projects for sales tax allocations
Request for State to address issue of safety on Johns Island roads
Warwick Jones

There was little on the agenda for yesterday’s Finance Committee that seemed contentious. But Council Member Thurmond took exception to the fiscal 2009 annual allocations for road and drainage work financed by the half cent sales tax. He did not object to the spending but questioned as to how the specific projects were chosen.

Continue reading "County Council, June 26"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 11:48 AM

June 13, 2008

County Council, June 12
Citizens speak out against proposed Johns Island Crossway
Public meeting next week
Warwick Jones

At a Finance Committee meeting last month, the proponents of a new expressway across Johns Island had their say. An expressway was needed to alleviate the traffic on the existing roads. Those working and living on Kiawah and Seabrook Island would be the main users. It also could be a toll road, they said.

Continue reading "County Council, June 12"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:00 PM

February 29, 2008

County Council, February 28
Widening of Maybank Highway – Is a compromise possible?
Parking fees to rise in County’s downtown garages
Warwick Jones

One wonders how it happened. Here was the City squaring off against the County in regards to changes along Maybank Highway. Change had been planned for some years and indeed voters in a referendum had signaled their approval of the County’s plans. But the changes planned were within the City of Charleston. Its views were very different. Why wasn’t there cooperation between the County and the City in shaping the proposed change?

Continue reading "County Council, February 28"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2007

City Council July 17, 2007
The Sofa Store site, Ansonborough Field and down-zoning on Johns Island
Too much for one evening!
Marc Knapp

Summer meetings are a test of endurance. Last night's was no exception. It lasted 5 hours. In summer, there's only one meeting per month instead of the normal two. Not surprisingly, the seats get uncomfortably hard and concentration impossible. It is not helped by some Council members raising trivial issues at the end of the meeting, seemingly designed to garner attention than to address real issues.

Continue reading "City Council July 17, 2007"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 06:12 PM | Comments (3)

June 15, 2007

County Council, June 14
Liability over Mark Clark extension daunts some members
Final decision likely on Tuesday. Some issues on a greenbelt project
Warwick Jones

We’re getting close to the wire. The issue of extending the Mark Clark Expressway fianlly should be decided at the Council meeting on Tuesday. To be fair, the extension of the expressway is not the issue, it is the liability that accompanies it. It would seem that if the County does not assume this liability, which is open ended, the extension becomes moot. The voting at yesterday’s Finance Committee meeting gave no indication as to what the final decision might be with the 8 members present evenly split. Council member McKeown was absent but full attendance of members at the next Council meeting should ensure a decision.

Continue reading "County Council, June 14"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:13 PM | TrackBack (0)

April 18, 2007

City’s vision for urban Johns Island
To embrace “new urbanism”
Warwick Jones

There didn’t seem to be any unhappy residents in the audience. After all, the City’s plans for development of the urban side of Johns Island had been shaped after a series of public meetings; at least that is what the City staff said. From our discussions with a citizen member of the Growth Management Committee that worked with the City, the plan did truly reflect opinions voiced by the public. And to this writer, it was a pleasant surprise to see that these opinions and the broad proposals of the City matched the “new urbanism” concepts preached by many planners including the renowned Andres Duany. Mr. Duany spoke at a planning conference organized by Governor Sanford in Charleston last month. Our report on the conference was posted on March 27.

Continue reading "City’s vision for urban Johns Island"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 11:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 21, 2007

County Council, March 20
CHATS presentation does little to resolve issue of I-526 extension
Council agrees to seek change in sales tax ordinance

Warwick Jones

If the presentation by the staff of CHATS was expected to settle the issue of extending the Mark Clark then it failed. The presentation highlighted some of the gains and losses in terms of traffic flow along the roads on and servicing Johns Island. But the spokesmen refused to be drawn into any conclusion as to whether the extension should be built. A random check amongst attendees indicated that most were as confused as this writer.

Continue reading "County Council, March 20"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 12, 2007

Shrimp 'n Grits

I-526/I-26 Conspirators "in league” with Riley’s Deal-Estate Development Cronies

Lee Walton

If one ever doubted the tenacity of the conspiring cronies hell-bent on shifting I-26 eastward in the Charleston Neck for the benefit of private development, they need not look further than the series of Palter & Chatter articles that have appeared over the past year. This past Sunday’s Palter & Chatter B-1 and H-1 above-the-fold broadsides were the latest in this series of misinforming drivel and editorial spin aimed at cultivating public support to move I-26 at the expense of the completion of I-526, the survival of the remaining remnants of the Rosemont Neighborhood and the proposed SPA terminal at the former Navy Base. This latest smoky back room scheme by Riley and his handpicked deal-estate cronies seeks to spend over $293 million in taxpayer’s money to move a short section of I-26 a few hundred yards simply to maximize the potential of another Riley World vision.

Continue reading "Shrimp 'n Grits"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 09:15 AM | TrackBack (0)

December 07, 2006

Change in Board of St Johns Water Company

Sam Brownlee
Johns Island

Dear Friends of John's Island :

Dec. 5th, 2006 was a good day for justice and the John's Island community because a another new era began at the St Johns Water Company on the path to positive changes.

Continue reading "Change in Board of St Johns Water Company"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 11:10 AM | TrackBack (0)

July 28, 2006

Johns Island - Strong opposition to extending sewage facilities
Compromise seems likely
Warwick Jones

Johns Island residents today strongly expressed their ire at the proposal for Charleston Water System (CWS) to provide sewage disposal to areas outside the Urban Growth Boundary. The meeting was called by the Council of Governments (COGS) after a request from St Johns Water Company (SJWC) and CWS. Under the proposal, CWS would provide sewage facilities for up to 1250 residences on Johns Island and outside the County-defined Urban Growth Boundary. The utilities also proposed that sewage disposal should be made available to all residents on the island that were within the Urban Growth Boundary without the necessity of first annexing into the City of Charleston.

Continue reading "Johns Island - Strong opposition to extending sewage facilities"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 10:11 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2006

Save the Urban Growth Boundary!
Coastal Conservation League warns of changes
Megan j. Desrosiers Coastal Conservation League 328 East Bay Street

The Berkeley Charleston Dorchester Council of Governments (BCD COG) will evaluate a proposal that will essentially expand the urban growth boundary on Johns Island by several thousand acres and allow Charleston Water System to provide sewer service to new homes in the rural area of Johns Island. This move will extend sewer beyond the existing growth boundary to Main Road on the west, to Bohicket Creek and Plow Ground Road on the south, and all the way over to River Road on the east. The proposal would initially allow 1,250 new sewer taps into this rural area, significantly increasing the amount of land on Johns Island which could be intensely developed with access to sewer.

Continue reading "Save the Urban Growth Boundary!"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 10:53 PM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2005

Johns Island residents petition against proposed water line

Tom Wise
Johns Island Preservation Coalition

Petitons signed by over 500 islanders were turned in to the headquarters of St. Johns Water Co on February 24, 2005. The signers had many reasons for putting their name on the pieces of paper asking the company to reconsider its decision to build a 30-inch waterline:

Continue reading "Johns Island residents petition against proposed water line"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2005

Johns Island residents oppose a Cross Island Expressway

Tom Wise
Johns Island Preservation Coalition

Recently the Post and Courier reported that the Mayor of Kiawah is resurrecting plans for a new Cross Island Expressway to help residents of Kiawah and Seabrook get to their homes more quickly. The article reported that Kiawah Island residents are responsible for 11% of the property tax revenues that Charleston County receives every year. Because of this significant contribution to Charleston County, the Mayor is proposing the Charleston County "owes" Kiawah something in return, namely a new road across Johns Island to be built with revenues from the Charleston County ½ cent sales tax. The article can be found on the Johns Island Preservation Coalition website,

Continue reading "Johns Island residents oppose a Cross Island Expressway"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 10:53 PM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2004

A call to Johns Island residents

Tom Wise

Monday, November 1, 2004 is a very important day to vote. That is ifyou are a resident of Johns Island and a member of St. John's Water Company. We're not talking about going to the polls and voting for a national or local politician, we're talking about voting for someone to represent you as a member of St. John's Water Company. St. John's Water Company is holding their annual meeting on November 1 where they will hold an election to elect three new members to the St. John's Board of Directors. This Board of Directors makes very important decisions about the Water Company and their operations on Johns Island.

Continue reading "A call to Johns Island residents"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 04:25 PM

October 20, 2004

County Council Meeting October 19
A Commission to be formed to oversee green space acquisition
Coastal Conservation League to oppose sales tax increase.
Warwick Jones, standing in for Shawn Keller who is on military duty in Iraq

County Council took another small step forward in an attempt to win voter approval for the half cent sales tax. It agreed to set up a panel similar to the proposed Country Transport Commission (CTC), to guide and oversee proposals for spending in relation to green space. Is the move enough? We don't think so. Nor did the SC Coastal Conservation League.

Continue reading "County Council Meeting October 19"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 05:42 PM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2004

Residents of Johns Island to fight subdivision

Tom Wise who covers Johns Island

Over 50 residents of Morris Acres and the surrounding Johns Island neighborhoods met on Thursday evening, Oct. 14, 2004, at the Berkley Electric Co-op building on Johns Island to voice their opposition to the densities proposed for the planned Brickman Farm subdivision. The subdivision will comprise 281 acres and will have its first reading before County Council on Oct. 19. Numerous fears were addressed as concerned residents contemplated increases in traffic, water runoff and possible groundwater pollution, destruction of natural habitat, possible annexation by the City of Charleston, and a general decline of their peaceful way of life they have enjoyed for years.

Continue reading "Residents of Johns Island to fight subdivision"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 07:11 PM | Comments (0)

August 31, 2004

Johns Islanders organize to restrain waterline construction

Tom Wise who covers Johns Island

Johns Island residents, with the support of the Coastal Conservation League, have started a website to promote our petition to force St. Johns Water Company to call for a vote on whether or not to continue with plans for a proposed 30 inch waterline on Johns Island. (For more details on the waterline and why many Johns Island residents are opposed to it, see my July 28 posting to

Our new website is located at, or clickhere

Continue reading "Johns Islanders organize to restrain waterline construction"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 03:10 PM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2004

The vultures gather

Alfred F. Croucher III
469 Riverland Dr
James Island


The town of James Island has $3 million in the bank. I see the vultures landing to rip out their share. While our officials figure out how to approach the State Supreme court on reversing its decision, they gather. On the edge of the Town limits the bulldozers and constrution workers line up for the whistle to blow so their machinery can begin, again, the destruction of our rural peace. The line at the bank is growing longer as the committees and government agencies begin fighting over their share of the funds we've put away for the good of our island.

Continue reading "The vultures gather"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 04:23 PM | Comments (1)

July 28, 2004

New water line threatens Johns Island rural ambience

Tom Wise who covers Johns Island

Concerned Johns Island residents sincerely appreciate the Editorial in the Post and Courier of July 26, 2004 regarding the proposed 30-inch waterline on Johns Island. The preservation of our rural way of life depends on the dissemination of the facts, and we applaud the effort on our behalf.

To better understand the controversy over the Johns Island waterline, I have done a bit of research on this issue, and I'd like to share with your readers some of the information that I have learned.

Continue reading "New water line threatens Johns Island rural ambience"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 03:48 PM

July 20, 2004

Support for restoring the original Urban Growth Boundary on Johns Island

Megan J. Terebus, Land Use Associate, South Carolina Coastal Conservation League PO Box 1765 Charleston

In respect to Mr Wise's report published today, it is important to remember that County Council twice voted in favor of restoring the original Urban Growth Boundary on Johns Island in response to Cindy Floyd's request. The application failed third reading because the fifth vote that Johns Islanders had counted on, AD Jordan, was absent from the meeting due to a family illness.

Continue reading "Support for restoring the original Urban Growth Boundary on Johns Island"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 08:46 PM | Comments (0)

Charleston County Planning Commission Votes Against Application by Johns Islanders to Restore Urban Boundary

Tom Wise. who covers Johns Island issues

It was no real surprise to concerned Johns Island residents that the Charleston County Planning Commission voted 3 to 2 last night against recommending the Urban Boundary line on Johns Island be restored to its original position. The recommendation will go to the to County Council for consideration next month. Supporters of keeping Johns Island rural were noticeably absent at the meeting, as they expected this outcome and will show their full support when County Council is scheduled to here the application at 5:00, August 17, 2004.

Continue reading "Charleston County Planning Commission Votes Against Application by Johns Islanders to Restore Urban Boundary"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 06:13 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2004

County Planning Commission to consider reinstating urban growth line on Johns Island

Attention Johns Island Residents: Stop the Madness!

Please attend County Planning Commission Hearing on July 19

Tom Wise
4355 River Rd.
Johns Island

The Charleston County Planning Commission will consider the most recent application to amend the Charleston County Comprehensive Plan at their next regular meeting, July 19, 2004. This amendment would reinstate the original Urban Growth Line that was established by County Council in 1999, reversing its decision to expand the boundary and open up 2500 more Johns Island acres to development and urban sprawl. For a map showing the original and expanded boundaries click
here (See my previous letter for more details)

Continue reading "County Planning Commission to consider reinstating urban growth line on Johns Island"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:06 AM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2004

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

Continue reading "A wake up call for Johns Island"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)