Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Mount Pleasant Town Councilman Gary Santos had the issue of the 75-foot height allowance (in certain spots along Coleman Boulevard) placed on the Planning and Development Committee agenda Monday. Santos is pushing to have that height lowered. Residents packed council chambers to vocalize their sentiments, however, there was no discussion regarding their comments or the issue among committee members.
The density is way too much along Coleman Boulevard according to lifelong resident Jimmy Bagwell. He said he is confident the public does not want a 75-foot height allowance along Coleman Boulevard.
Resident Vernon Owens said the density concerns him because of the traffic congestion it will cause. “You can't solve over-development by putting higher density development in,” he said.
The history of building height requirements in the Town of Mount Pleasant goes back to 1949. Planning Director Christianne Farrell gave an overview of height allowances in the town through the years.
The 1949 Zoning Code included three height districts:
•Class A-1 – 50 feet (Dwelling House District)
•Class A-2 – 100 feet (Apartment House District)
•Class A-3 – 150 feet (Business and Industrial Districts)
The 1979 Zoning Code based on maximum height on zoning district allowed for:
•R-1, R-2, R-3, CH (now OV-HD) — 35 feet, 2.5 stories
•RPH, RTH — 50 feet, three stories
•MF — No height limit, but all buildings over three stories required certification that they could be served by existing town firefighting equipment.
•OP, NC, AB, LI, CO, PD, PD-MH — No height limit, except OP limited vertical mixed-use buildings to three stories.
The 1982 Comprehensive Land Use and Major Project Plan based height on geographic location rather than zoning district. Once adopted, it governed in terms of height:
•Neighborhood I (Old Mount Pleasant, Shem Creek side of Chuck Dawley Boulevard) — Generally 35 feet, with exception of 50-foot areas including Moultrie Plaza, Moultrie Middle School, Brookgreen Shopping Center, parcels between Fairmont Avenue and Pherigo Street and Tolers Cove
•Neighborhood II (West Coleman Boulevard, JDB up to Bowman Road, both sides of Mathis Ferry Road up to Wakendaw) — 72 feet near bridge; 35 feet immediately adjacent to harbor; 50 feet from Houston Northcutt Blvd to 72-foot height area; 50 feet most of north side of JDB; Patriots Point height based on State Development Plan
•Neighborhoods III, IV and V (remaining areas of town, up to Porchers Bluff Road) — 35 feet
Current Height Limits
Building height varies throughout the town. Generally, the maximum height for buildings is 35 feet, except in Special Flood Hazard Areas where maximum height is 40 feet. The Building Height Plan Map provides alternative height limits in some areas.
•Magrath Darby to Ravenel Bridge — 80 feet
•Patriots Point — 50 feet, except in proximity to Hallman Boulevard where it is 80 feet
•Queens Row (Mathis Ferry Road) — 50 feet
•Scotts Creek (Rifle Range Road) — 40 feet
Approximate or Actual* Building Heights:
•Shem Creek Inn — 50 feet (including parapet)
•Lighthouse at the Trawler — 58 feet
•Mason office building — 28 feet (eave), 60 feet (dormer)
•Motley Rice office building — 68 feet (eave)
•The Boulevard* — 50 feet to 60 feet
•ECRMC*— 72 feet
•Tides condos* — 79 feet
In some instances, Planned Development Districts and Overlay Districts provide for alternative height limits.
UC-CBS, formerly known as CBS-OD (Coleman Boulevard):
•1982 until 2006 — 50-foot height areas, as per 1982 Comprehensive Plan
•2006 — CBS-OD, Coleman-Ben Sawyer Boulevard Overlay District, provided for 55 feet (measured to eave) for buildings fronting the boulevards, with 40-foot height limit adjacent to existing residential
•2008 — Coleman Revitalization Advisory Board (CRAB) recommendation provided for 55 feet (max four stories) in most areas; 75 feet (max six stories) originally proposed for four locations but later changed to three specific locations: Moultrie Plaza, Family Dollar and Sea Island Shopping Center
•2008 — During ordinance adoption process for revisions to CBS-OD (to implement CRAB recommendations), a property owner adjacent to 75-foot-height area requested expansion with certain conditions and the ordinance was modified as requested. Provisions still remain in UC-OD ordinance.
•2011 — UC-OD, Urban Corridor Overlay District, provides for 40 feet along Chuck Dawley Boulevard (measured to eave); 55 feet in Johnnie Dodds Boulevard. Neighborhood Commercial and Office District (measured to eave); 80 feet in Johnnie Dodds Boulevard. Hospitality/Economic Development District and Health and Wellness/Economic Development District (measured to eave); and a range of 45 feet to 75 feet (in three locations) along Coleman and Ben Sawyer Boulevards.
How height is measured in UC-CBS:
•Measured from top of curb or edge of paving if no curb, averaged at building corners
•45-foot height areas measured to roof ridge; parapet walls may exceed height limit by up to four feet
•55-foot height areas measured to eave (max four stories)
•75-foot height areas measured to eave (max six stories)
Area of Mill Street and Coleman Boulevard:
•2006 — CBS-OD provided for 40 feet (measured to ridge) from Live Oak Drive to the boundary of SCW-OD, Shem Creek Waterfront Overlay District.
•Nov. 2008 — Request for text amendment submitted by a developer for height increase in C1 Area. Amendment increased height to 45 feet, measured to top of roof; allowance for flat-roof buildings to have a parapet wall up to 42 inches tall above the maximum height.
•Dec. 2013 — Request for text amendment submitted by a developer for height increase in C1 Area. Amendment increased height to 55 feet for ten properties with frontage on Coleman between Live Oak Drive and boundary of SCW-OD.
Planned Development Districts examples:
•Dunes West/Park West, Carolina Park — 40-feet residential, 50-feet commercial
•Belle Hall — 35 or 38 feet above Base Flood Elevation for single-family residential; 43 feet for multi-family residential located behind Belle Hall Shopping Center; 48 feet for River Oaks Apartments (Wando Park Blvd); 66 feet for one building and 52 feet for all other buildings in Woodfield Apartments
•Central Mount Pleasant — 35 feet to 65 feet, depending on use and location
•Carolina Walk Townhomes (Hungryneck Boulevard) — 43 feet
•Seaside Farms — 40 feet for detached single-family residential and Neighborhood, Retail and Office tract; 50 feet for Marais, Long Grove Condos, Franke Home and Farm Proper Tract
Through the years, they have been changed and amended. Generally, max height is 35 feet or 40 feet in flood areas.
James Scott, also a concerned resident, told the committee that the comments being made that afternoon were a continuation of what's been on everyone's radar for months. “This is a push to make Coleman something that it is not,” he said in reference to the allowed 75-foot height.
“This is a vision being pushed upon the neighborhoods and communities there. You're seeing push back from people who live there,” he said. “This is not an organic develop that is welcomed by majority residents who live along Coleman.”
Charles Dickinson made a point about the Boulevard itself.
“At end of the day, this is an evacuation route. Piling this much traffic (due to the allowed increased densities) along a moveable corridor will block the way. And it is inevitable,” he said.
And while the committee didn't discuss anyone's concerns, Santos said he will continue to bring the issue to the forefront.