Political question and answer sessions
Chairman Chris Cannon reported that City of Charleston Councilman Tim Mallard is interested in doing a question and answer during the November meeting of the Johns Island Council. Cannon has been working with City and County Council members, encouraging them to come to the Council meetings and participate in general question and answer sessions with Johns Island Council members and residents. Cannon is currently attempting to secure a visit from State Representatives Stravinakis and Brown since they will be returning to Columbia soon.
Treasurer Sam Brownlee reported that there had been no expenses for the month of September. The remaining balance is $670.31
Brownlee reported that the CHATS Committee did not discuss anything that really pertained to Johns Island at the last meeting, except to note that the BCDCOG has commissioned CHATS to do a complete Johns Island traffic study in light of the Greenway/widening of Main and Bohicket roads proposals.
Johns Island zoning appeals
Chairman Cannon reported on a handful of planning/zoning issues which came before Charleston County this past month. County Council approved the request for resource extraction at 2953 Plowground Road with conditions, and two variances for tree removal in a utility easement which were denied in August were brought up again as the Utility company has applied for a new approach which involves placing the lines under the roots of the trees with minimum disturbance. The trees in question are listed as a double grand live oak and a double grand magnolia. Finally, Cannon noted that the PUD at the corner of Betsy Kerrison and River Road has requested a variance to allow for a mechanical repair business. “There hasn’t been so much as a new subdivision or rezoning on Johns Island,” Cannon commented. “There’s just nothing going on. I’m waiting for the onslaught.”
Gary Marino, representative for the Wadmalaw Island Council, reported that the only thing happening at the moment is that Berkeley Electric is removing an antiquated sub-station on the island and replacing it. However, the transformers for the new sub-station carry a significantly higher amount of energy, making it necessary to replace the wooden electrical poles on the island with metal ones. This created such uproar on the island, however, that the power company is looking into the possibility of running the new lines underground.
Water Company meeting
Councilman Brownlee noted that the St. Johns Water Company annual meeting will be Monday, November 2, and they will be electing board members. “We’re really hoping there will be some competition, but if not, then we won’t have an election, which will save us a bunch of money.” Brownlee pointed out that when he began serving for the Water Company, he found several ways to reduce extravagant bills with some basic common sense. “ Our auditor was costing us $40,000 plus a year, and I found a new one for $22,000,” said Brownlee. “It was just a matter of injecting some common sense.”
Chairman Cannon pointed out that Councilman Rich Thomas had previously suggested that he would like to head the Council’s Transportation Committee. “I would like to nominate people to that committee and, if we’re going to do this, figure out how we are going to make our resolutions,” said Cannon. “No need to decide now, but I’d ask [Secretary] John Kozma to go through the by-laws and find out how it’s been handled in the past.” Cannon further noted that the Council needs to have this Committee in order to come up with concrete proposals instead of “sitting around and discussing the same things over and over again”.
Along those same lines, Cannon also noted that the Council needs to send a letter to the County Council, noting how several of the intersection improvements which have been proposed for Johns Island are a waste of time. “I have a copy of those proposals and would like to write a letter about what we support and what we don’t support,” said Cannon.
A cyclist’s victory
“Remember that Rich Thomas made history today in South Carolina,” said Councilman Thomas, “by successfully prosecuting the first person under the bike law.” Thomas reported that, following his traffic accident wherein a truck sideswiped him while he was riding his bike down River Road, he was able to get the driver charged under the South Caorlina bike law. “He was ticketed for improper passing since the officer was unaware of the bike law,” said Thomas. “But, the Bike Law says you can’t come too close to a cyclist and if you violate that and cause an injury, it’s a punishable offense. There were other law violations we could have brought up, but it would have required going before a jury.” The driver of the van pled guilty to the charge of passing too closely and causing injury and was fined $100. According to Thomas, this is the first time since the passing of the Bike Law in 2008 that someone was prosecuted under it.
The next meeting of the Johns Island Council will be held at Berkeley Electric Co-Op, 3351 Maybank Highway, at 7pm on Thursday, November 5.