Nov 30 2009

Johns Island Council – November 5, 2009

Charleston City Council member Tim Mallard arrived to have an informal question and answer session with the Council before the meeting began. Council members asked questions ranging from the widening of Maybank Road to traffic lights, snipe signs littering, construction waste burning, turning lanes on Maybank, and traffic on the Stono bridge.

Mallard replied that, from what he understands, the Maybank widening project has been put on hold. “The plan was approved and voted on, but the City Administration did not sign off on the project. I think the County and City administrations got in a tiff about it and the money is still sitting there. I think we should move forward on it; at least put in some shoulders and turn lanes.” He concluded that he felt the Council has some legitimate concerns and will do what he can to look into them.

Official Council meeting

Chairman Chris Cannon opened the meeting with a reading of last meeting’s minutes. The minutes were approved unanimously.

Treasurer’s report

Treasurer Sam Brownlee reported that for the month of October, the balance of the Council account was $670.31. As there were no expenses, balance remains at 670.31.

CHATS

There was no CHATS meeting this month, so there was nothing to report.

Guest presentation

Sheila Larson of Hope Plantation (Kiawah River Estates) gave a short presentation on the issue of private wastewater facilities and the motion before Charleston County to become a designated management agency. “I feel like we’re all being hit between the eyes,” said Larson, pointing out that if the County decides to become a management agency, large developments could start springing up outside of the Urban Growth Boundary on Johns Island. In fact, they already have. Johns Island Junction, a proposed commercial and residential development by Bennett and Hofford at the intersection of River and Betsy Kerrison, has asked Charleston County to become a management agency so that they can install a private wastewater treatment plant. And Kiawah River Plantation, which is being built by the Beach Company near Mullett Hall, is requesting to be rezoned as a PUD (Planned Unit Development), which also involves the building of a private wastewater treatment center. “All of a sudden, if you have the money and the land, you can go against the plans of Johns Island to build your own facility,” said Larson.

The Council discussed the issue with City Councilman Tim Mallard and determined that the ultimate decision on the issue, and thereby the group to which they should appeal, will be the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

“There are some teeth in it,” said Mallard on the issue. “Developers would have to build their own facilities, go through a regulating board of the government, and put up million dollar bonds; but the idea would be that management comes from a governmental agency.”

The Council motioned to oppose the PUD rezoning request by Kiawah River Plantation, based on the grounds of the company’s proposition to have a privately owned water sewage treatment plant. The Council also opposes Charleston County Council becoming liable for private sewage treatment plants because the failure of the project would be borne by the tax payer. The motion was approved unanimously.

Old business

Chairman Cannon noted that St. Johns Water Company is requesting the removal of a 28” Diameter Breast Height Grand Water Oak tree at 4195 Betsy Kerrison Pkwy. in order to construct a proposed elevated water storage tank. Cannon didn’t object, but Brownlee stated that he felt there would be an appeal.

Two tree removal requests made by the Utility Company were also considered: one for the removal of a 33.5” Diameter Breast Height Grand Double Live Oak tree, and the other for the removal of a 27” Diameter Breast Height Grand Double Magnolia tree, both of which are within a utility easement and preventing the extension of an existing 10” gravity main line. The removal of the Magnolia was approved with conditions, while the Live Oak removal request was denied.

Cannon also noted that St. Johns Parkway has requested the removal of several grand trees and the reduction of their setback line, but the request has been postponed. Cannon stated that he would keep everyone informed as to when the request will be brought before City Council.

Finally, Councilman Rich Thomas stated that in the three months since he and Councilman Brownlee spoke with the Charleston County Sheriff’s Department, there has been no visible increase in patrols. Thomas noted that Kiawah has several officers parked off their Parkway all day long, “but we can’t get deputies to monitor the roads here.” Thomas then stated that he would like to know what Kiawah and Seabrook are doing to increase the safety on Johns Island’s roads before their proposed new Parkway is built. “I don’t see any of them petitioning anyone to come out and enforce safety laws,” said Thomas. “When our neighbors on Kiawah and Seabrook are aggressively pursuing new roads without addressing our current safety issues, that’s a problem. We need more law enforcement on our roads.”

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