Sam Brownlee reported that $76 had been spent on the Council’s yearly postal box rental, so the remaining balance stands at $676.31.
“As all of you know, Main road is being repaved,” Sam Brownlee reported. “But that’s about all I know at this time.” There were no other Johns Island projects discussed at the CHATS meeting.
“I only have a little bit to report,” said Chairman Chris Cannon. “We talked about removing a few trees for a utility line along Maybank Highway and I was surprised, they turned two of them down.” Both the 27 inch DBH grand double magnolia and the 33.5 inch DBH grand double live oak at 3125 Maybank were disapproved. However, the 25 inch gum tree at 2931 Maybank was approved. “Guess they felt that a gum tree wasn’t worth while,” Cannon smiled.
Chairman Cannon noted that nothing pertaining to Johns Island has appeared on any of the meeting agendas for the City of Charleston, and the only thing coming up with the County is a special exception request for a “resource extraction” ,or dirt pit, at 2953 Plowground Road. The request will be heard during the September 14 meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals.
Cannon also announced that the Council will be forming subcommittees at the next meeting, and encouraged everyone to attend so they could choose the committee on which they would like to serve.
Sam Brownlee brought in a copy of The Post & Courier, with a report on the Johns Island road studies proposed at the September 1 County Council meeting. The report included a list of suggestions, which the Council members discussed.
Cannon noted that the County had discussed several different suggestions for improvement to the current Johns Island roads, including widening Main Road from Maybank up to Brownswood; installing a right and left turn lane from Plowground to Bohicket; a left turn lane, bridge replacement and grand tree impacts at River and Murraywood, and a right turn lane at Plowground and River.
Council member Thomas Legare stated that a traffic circle would probably fix the troubled River and Maybank intersection. “Right off of River onto Maybank and vice versa, I think it would work,” said Legare. “Short term, they can put turn lanes on Maybank and River Road, but long term, I think this pitchfork thing will solve the problem.”
Cannon asked if anyone had any comments about the trees that the SCDOT is proposing to remove, as per the presentation by Joel Evans from the Charleston County Planning Commission at the last Council meeting. Vice Chairman Rich Jenkins asked what the difference between the orange and gray tapes around different trees on the sides of the road stood for, and Brownlee stated that the orange tape was from surveying, but he wasn’t sure about the gray tape. “I’m just trying to understand why they would wrap all these different colored tapes around trees,” said Jenkins. Cannon elaborated on the issue, noting that the colors were generally a coding system, letting contractors know the tree’s details, such as save it, cut it, or “this is a grand tree”.
Cannon also noted that the County Council is “entertaining” the idea of a Parkway again. “No, they authorized spending $200,000 of our tax money on doing the study,” Legare said. “They’ve voted on it, now they’re sending out an RFP [request for proposals] to do the study. It’s in the works.”
“We need to let the Councilmen know that we’re not happy about it at all,” said Cannon.
“This is the most underhanded thing that the County Council has done to the Johns Island people,” said Legare. “They put it in the Finance committee agenda as three things: the pitchfork, road improvements and a $200,000 study for the best alignment for a Cross Island Parkway. Honestly, I don’t think County Council knows what it voted for. Added into the three items was a study for widening Main and Bohicket road. They could very well say we need the Cross Island and widen Main and Bohicket. Dickie Schweers seems like the only friend we have on Council [Schweers was the only Council member to vote against the studies]. What’s going to happen is that they will spend the $200,000 of our tax dollars to come up with alignments, Johns Island will slap them down and we just wasted two or three years and $200,000 of our money.”
Resident Henry Chavis argued with Legare, pointing out that, “We won’t be able to get off this island when the economy improves. The pitchfork won’t help it. If they take Maybank and move traffic without causing a tie-up and put a turning lane down the center, you have it taken care of.”
Secretary John Kozma reported that he had looked into several different website names, and found that JohnsIslandCouncil.com, .net and .org were available.”You could also put in hyphens and underscores, but I would prefer not to use them,” said Kozma. “If we go with JohnsIslandCouncil.com, we could go ahead and get the other two (.net and .org) for cheap.” Kozma stated he had experience with creating a website and suggested using GoDaddy for $60/year.
Cannon said they would all consider the ideas and would vote on it at the next Council meeting.
The next Johns Island Council meeting will be held at the Berkeley Electric Co-Op at 3351 Maybank Hwy. at 7pm on Thursday, October 1.