The City of Charleston Technical Review Committee (TRC) gave a first review last week to a preliminary site plan to construct a Homes 2 Suites hotel at 160 Fairchild Street on Daniel Island.
Applicant Giles Branch of Earthsource Engineering presented the plans for the hotel, slated for construction next to The Islander restaurant. The property is owned by local restaurant and hotel owner Michael Bennett through a subsidiary company, Daniel Island Ventures III.
The presentation of the plan to the TRC is an early step necessitated by the City of Charleston’s planning process. As the property is on Daniel Island, it first had to progress through the Daniel Island Architecture Review Board (ARB). It did so on April 27, but all the same, a number of issues related specifically to Daniel Island were raised during the TRC meeting.
One issue raised by the TRC related to trees on the heavily-wooded plat. It was noted during the meeting that Earthsource Engineering’s surveyor marked only the hard-wooded trees on the property for the record. According to a tenet adopted several years ago by the ARB, every tree over eight inches in diameter and above must be marked on the plat so the TRC and other city boards can evaluate whether mitigation needs to be implemented in response to the total number of trees felled to complete the project. To meet TRC approval, the site must maintain a minimum of 15 trees per acre.
At present, given that the project doesn’t meet the city-defined standard of 15 trees protected per acre, mitigation (buying offsetting green space somewhere else in the city to remain undeveloped) would be mandated if the project proceeds as currently planned.
Another sticking point in the hotel plan had to do with the proposed parking lot. The proposal includes 75 parking spaces necessitating, by city code, the developer implement 25 parking lot “islands” in the design. At 15, the plan was 10 short of the required 25.
A sidewalk spanning the entire frontage of the plot was also suggested. The sidewalk would need to connect with the current sidewalk fronting the new Blackbaud headquarters (now under construction) and the next-door Islander restaurant.
Earthsource Engineering will now go back and implement the TRC’s recommendations and resubmit the project at a future date, as yet undetermined.
Another hotel slated for the site was planned back in 2007, proceeding all the way through the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals in the process to achieve approval, but that project was eventually scrapped.