9,000-acre PUD plan takes shape, plants early roots for long-term community
BY: CHARLIE MORRISON
In December of 2016, the City of Charleston Planning Commission kicked off a new chapter in the story of the Cainhoy Peninsula when the nine-member body voted unanimously to approved the first subdivision concept plan to be designed as part of the massive, 9,000 acre “Cainhoy Plantation” Planned Unit Development (Cainhoy Plantation PUD). Development of the property, owned by family members of the late Harry Frank Guggenheim, is being managed by the DI Development Company.
Construction is to begin later this year on “Cainhoy South Residential,” the 235-unit development to be located on 228-acres adjacent to Nellifield Plantation and around the newly opened Philip Simmons Elementary, Middle and High School campuses. The project represents an important first step in developing the Cainhoy Plantation PUD, but it will merely be a first step. As economic indicators continue to project residential demand to be peaking and commercial and industrial activity along Clements Ferry Road to be growing, the development is only the beginning.
As many of the projects currently moving through the City planning process (or about to enter it) are being timed for completion with Phase Two of the Clements Ferry Road Widening Project, Cainhoy South is sure to be only the first of a collection of developments that will build upon each other until the DI Development Company’s goal of constructing 18,000 new homes on the 9,000 acres is met.
But the Cainhoy Plantation PUD isn’t the only residential project underway on the Cainhoy Peninsula to potentially have an impact on the area. A number of other investment firm- and developer-led initiatives are being constructed in the region, and some are actually ahead of schedule and nearing completion. One such parcel is the fifth phase of the Governor’s Cay multi-phase residential development, located on Thomas Island near the Clements Ferry Road – I-526 interchange. Governor’s Cay is a project from Beazer Homes and the Ryland Group, Inc., but partner Stantec Consulting Services is serving as a liaison between the developers and the government. The 33-acre development is expected to include more than 200 single family dwellings. On June 21, the project came before the Planning Commission for a potential final approval of an additional 22 units to the plan. It was in a similar position at the May meeting, but the development team pulled it from the agenda, delaying the decision to June.
“This is a parcel that is adjacent to the previously approved Governor’s Cay Planned Unit Development that is currently under construction,” said Stephen Julka, senior planner for the City of Charleston. “This is being done by the same folks who did the PUD. With this parcel they didn’t need to incorporate into the PUD to achieve what they wanted to achieve. It will be tied in to the overall Governor’s Cay development, but it’s not actually under that PUD zoning.”
The request was not actually for 22 lots, continued Julka, but 22 units.
“There is a proposed, new public right-of-way cul-du-sac extending off of the existing Forrest Drive and that new cul-du-sac will serve 12 new single-family detached parcels,” he said. “And then there is a proposed 10 multi-family units on the parcel as well. It is a proposed total of 22 units but actually in terms of the subdivision it’s really a right-of-way with 13 new parcels being proposed off of that right-of-way.”
After announcing that the City’s Technical Review Committee (TRC) had recommended the Planning Commission grant the project approval with no conditions, Julka asked if a representative from the applicant was on hand. Stantec’s Erica Chase was at the meeting, there to seal the deal with the members of the Planning Commission by announcing they “have additional parking that’s being provided, and cross-parking will be allowed between the phases.”
With that, the Commission voted unanimously to approve the phase five project plan for the Governor’s Cay subdivision, ending the body’s involvement with just one of what will likely be a myriad of development applications to come before the Commission in the coming months and years.
And while the Governor’s Cay vote brought to a close the Planning Commission’s business on Cainhoy and Clements Ferry Road for the evening of June 21, as evidenced by the evening’s report from the Technical Review Committee the TRC continues to buzz with activity related to both the PUD and other surrounding developments.
Preliminary and final plats continue to be under review by the TRC on a number of impactful developments to likely break ground in the coming months. The body is considering additional parcels in Cainhoy South, including a 66-acre, 70-lot tract to be constructed along Hopewell Drive.
During the month of June the TRC also vetted projects slated for a 63-acre tract labeled “Oak Bluff” and a 12-acre PUD subdivision off Hopewell Lane that will be part of the Plantation.
Apartment builder Spectrum Companies is ahead of even the pace of Governor’s Cay. The private partnership between the apartment builder, who constructed the Simmons Park and Talison Row apartment facilities on Daniel Island, and the DI Development Company gave birth to the 274 rental-home “Point Hope” complex, which Spectrum recently broke ground on.
A final proposed PUD-zoned development, “the Marshes at Cooper River,” is soon to be developed on 34 acres between Clements Ferry Road and the Cooper River. The proposed development is designed to be “mixed use,” combining 10,000 ft. sq. of office space with 135 single-family residences and 25 residential townhomes for an all-inclusive experience that will be completed and open for business within an estimated three years.