str council

Michele Canon, Principal Planner for the Town of Mount Pleasant presents the Short Term Rental ordinance at the Aug. 13 council meeting.

Patriots Annex

At the Aug. 13 Town Council meeting, the council reviewed three items together regarding the 30.32 acres of property known as Patriots Annex located between the USS Yorktown and Patriots Point Road.

The first ordinance was to rezone the property from Planned Development District (PD) to Cooper River Waterfront Gateway District (WG-C). The second ordinance was to amend the Building Height Plan Map to allow up to 80 feet in building height across the 30.32 acres. The third item was a request for approval of an impact assessment and conceptual plan for the property.

Since the property is a part of the Patriots Point Development, council must amend the PD zoning in order to establish design guidelines and permitted uses for the property.

Michele Canon, Principal Planner for the Town of Mount Pleasant presented the project summary. She explained the town’s Future Land Use Map in the Comprehensive Plan recommends Cooper River Waterfront Gateway District zoning for this property.

Mayor Will Haynie explained that he doesn’t know if anyone aside from planning staff understands the specifics of the Cooper River Waterfront Gateway District in their entirety. He was curious what this zoning meant for the future use of the property as well as if amendments could be made at second reading.

Town attorney, David Pagliarini said that since first reading it could be changed by the next reading or withdrawn by the applicant by the next reading.

This is the first property seeking Cooper River Waterfront Gateway District in the town. The council approved the rezoning for the property unanimously.

The applicant requested to defer the ordinance to amend the Building Height Plan Map to allow up to 80 feet in building height. The council made a motion to defer the item until next month and asked the applicant to explain why they’d made this request.

“We have requested to defer on height in order to give us more time to continue what I think is a very robust and healthy conversation; and working continually with staff and members of council to find the best approach on height for this property,” James Wilson, partner with Womble Bond Dickinson Law Firm, explained on behalf of the applicant.

Wilson asked council that this be deferred until next month but that the other items on the agenda move forward with approval this month. The motion to defer the ordinance passed unanimously.

Canon explained an overview of the impact assessment and conceptual plan for the property. She explained that intent is to make sure that the parking and building plans met the requirements of the zoning district. The planning staff also reviewed the commercial design overlay for the property to include commercial villages. Canon said planning staff confirmed the assessment showed the applicant would meet all the requirements for the zoning district through their phasing and required mixed use.

Councilmember Gary Santos made a motion to approve the impact assessment and conceptual plan. Councilmember Jim Owens made a second to the motion.

Councilmember Joe Bustos said he didn’t understand how the conceptional plan could be approved since the height was deferred by the applicant. Planning staff explained the impact assessment is going to be controlled by the number of trips to the property and the square footage, height would not necessarily change the impact.

Santos said this is only first reading and that if staff says the impact assessment will be the same regardless of building heights, they should approve first reading and look at it again second reading aside the proposed building heights.

Pagliarini explained that there is not a second reading for the impact assessment and conceptual plan, once passed it is approved by the town council.

Canon confirmed that the assessment does not consider the height, the assessment is looking at trips, drainage and similar impact items.

Brimmer pointed out that there are two places on the plan’s document that refer to 80 feet for building heights on the property. Pagliarini explained that the ordinance on the height would overrule the height map for the assessment.

Mount Pleasant’s Planning Director, Jeff Ulma explained that the Waterfront District outlays every requirement for that area. It includes mixed use and specific percentages that the applicant will need to meet. The proposed project was analyzed for the following land uses:

  • 130-unit mid-rise multi-family housing
  • 250-room hotel
  • 330-room resort hotel with associated 90,000-square-foot conference center
  • 170,000-square-foot general office
  • 60,000-square-foot shopping center
  • 18,000-square-foot quality restaurants

The Transportation Department anticipates 605 morning peak hour car trips and 801 evening peak hour car trips based on these mixed-use developments. The town’s Transportation Director Brad Morrison gave a brief update on his department’s assessment and shared he presented the full transportation report during the planning committee meeting on Aug. 5.

Ulma added that the conceptual plan is to give an idea and better information on the development once zoned Waterfront Gateway.

Brimmer said that Ulma and Morrison made key points in explaining that this is the max number of trips and that it can’t be exceeded regardless of the building height allowance.

Mayor Will Haynie said that if the council got every impact assessment right through the years, they wouldn’t have the traffic problems that the town faces now. He said he’s not prepared to pass as it is and that it needed to go back for further review in committee before they pass it.

The impact assessment and conceptual plan passed 6-2 with Bustos and Haynie as the lone votes in dissent, councilmember Tom O’Rourke was absent from the meeting.

More information about the Patriots Annex and the impact assessment can be found the Town of Mount Pleasant’s website.

Short-Term Rentals

After years in the planning process, council officially passed a Short Term Rental (STR) ordinance for the town on Aug. 13.

The proposed revisions from committee for the ordinance were to lower the application fee to $250 annually, create a tentative effective date of Nov. 1, 2019, clarification STR permit will not transfer in the event of a change in home ownership, removal of the provision stating the town may have entry to the property and revise the date for annual Business Licence fee to July 1 each year.

Cannon explained that committee decided to keep the 1% numerical cap on STRs, a parking requirement of one additional off-street parking space per dwelling unit rented, prohibition on STR in Multifamily Dwelling Units and an affidavit from property owners stating compliance with applicable fire and building safety codes.

Anyone legally operating a STR with a business license and paying accommodations taxes prior to Jan. 1, 2020 will not be included in the 1% cap.

Cannon said that the planning staff may need more time to implement the ordinance past Nov. 1 in order to create a website, an application process, a payment processing system and determining which software they will utilize to monitor and enforce the ordinance.

Councilmember Kevin Cunnane explained that he didn’t think that the 1% cap defined justly enough. He also said the ordinance should require one space per bedroom. He also stated he thought an affidavit stating their compliance was “absurd” and that it should come from a building inspector.

Council amended the ordinance to include the recommendations from committee, with a change to move the start date to Jan. 1, 2020.

The council then passed the STR ordinance 7-1 with Cunnane as the lone vote in dissent. O’Rourke was absent from the meeting. More information can be found online at tompsc.com/1154/Short-Term-Rentals.

Shem Creek Advisory Committee

Former mayor and Shem Creek Advisory Committee member, Cheryl Woods-Flowers gave the committee’s final presentation to Town Council on Aug. 13. Flowers briefly described that their work has been part of a comprehensive solution and plan for this particular area in town.

Flowers asked the council to give attention to the special document now, instead of putting it on a shelf to look at later.

View the committee’s final report online at tompsc.com/1129/19062/Shem-Creek.