PUD Number Three
160-unit planned residential development to incorporate increasingly popular PUD zoning
By Charlie Morrison
The City of Charleston Technical Review Committee (TRC) reviewed plans, last Thursday, Feb. 7, for a Planned Unit Development (PUD) designed for a vacant, 41-acre tract of land within the greater Seaside Plantation neighborhood. The proposed subdivision, being carried through to completion by local developer Middle Street Partners for owner Elizabeth Freeman, is the third project on James Island to receive the City’s PUD zoning.
The project borders the Seaside Plantation subdivision to the southwest, Planters Trace to the northwest, and Seaside Plantation to the northeast. Running along the southeastern border of the site is Seaside Creek.
Middle Street partner Ryan Knapp is currently spearheading the process of negotiating the respective City bodies that oversee the development of the PUD, but with the meeting with the TRC behind him with only minor adjustments to the plan required by the City, the project is well on its way. Knapp characterizes the project designed for the property as “a project James Island will be proud of, a project that reflects what James Island is.”
“The idea behind the neighborhood is to maximize the open space, particularly on the water. It kind of defies conventional residential development where you take the best waterfront land and use it to sell off private lots … what we’re doing is we’re taking almost 1000 feet of water frontage and leaving that open, giving everyone in the neighborhood access to the creek front,” says Knapp. “The area has so much in the way of natural amenities. Our goal is to do a little disturbance to the natural environment as we can.”
The pre-existing “SR-2” zoning allows for six to seven units per acre. The new PUD plan calls for just over four units per acre, reflecting Knapp’s plan to create a subdivision in keeping with the current character of the neighborhood. “Obviously we’re not trying to jam more units in than the current zoning allows. Us going through the PUD process is a means by which we can tailor the zoning to accommodate the site plan that maximizes open space and the natural amenities,” says Knapp. “That’s what James Island is and we’re really trying to create a neighborhood that is very James Island. It’s something that we believe in,” he continues. “We really want to promote a lifestyle that emphasizes the outdoors, and kayaking, and paddle boarding, and fishing, that kind of thing, and we’re hoping our residents really embrace that.”
Knapp reported that neighboring homeowner’s associations (HOAs) were “very supportive” of the project, but, at press time, the Messenger has not yet been able to verify this with the respective neighboring HOAs.
Knapp did consult with one of the island’s predominant historians Doug Bostick, as the land the development is situated on is historically significant. The two parcels that make up the development project “are part of the footprint of the June 16, 1862 Battle of Secessionville,” as reported by Bostick in a letter to Knapp dated Nov. 19. Adjacent to the property is the Confederate defense implacement Battery Number Five, however that property is owned by the South Carolina Battleground Trust.
Regarding traffic, the traffic impact study conducted by West Columbia-based firm SRS Engineering forecasts the project will generate an additional 1,00 two-way, daily trips of which 122 are expected to occur in the morning hour and 160 in the afternoon. While the development will intersect directly with Seaside Plantation Drive, the predominant traffic pattern listed in the report is north on Folly Road, the predominant intersection Folly’s intersection with Bur Clare Drive.
Level of service grades worsen from “no-build” with the addition of the development. At the unsignalized intersection of Bur Clare Drive and Folly Road, the morning level of service grade projected for 2015 will go from “C” to “D,” with the afternoon grade going from “D,” to “E.”
The Freeman’s Point PUD project has largely passed the TRC process and will be before the City’s Planning Commission in March, on Wednesday, March 21.
For more information on this project or others at the City, see the webpage for the City’s Department of Design, Development and Preservation at www.charleston-sc.gov/dept/?nid=8.
© 2013 Wiser Time Publishing, Inc.