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Petition Drive Underway To Preserve Ashley Hall Plantation


rising tide-john steinberger


May 11, 2017
By John Steinberger | Contributing Writer

A petition drive is underway to preserve the historic Ashley Hall Plantation property at the intersection of Ashley Hall Plantation Rd. and Captiva Row in West Ashley. The 45 acre property dates back to the 1670s and is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. The development group Ashley Hall Plantation Partners, LLC, a subsidiary of Carolina Holdings Group out of Myrtle Beach, plans to build more than 60 homes on the property. Find the Stop Ashley Hall Plantation Cluster Development petition here: www.ipetitions.com/petition/Ashley-Hall-Plantation-Cluster The petition states, “The (development) design is inconsistent with the surrounding neighborhoods and will likely negatively impact the surrounding areas with increased traffic, decreased home values, water runoff, and parking issues from a (planned) new park.” The stated goal is to generate at least 1000 signatures.

The developer, which paid $4.4 Million to the estate of Rosina Kennerty Seignious for the plantation, wants the City of Charleston to annex the unincorporated property and allow cluster zoning there. Charleston City Council will consider the annexation request at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23.

To date, more than 550 petitions have been signed calling for the preservation of the historic property. Several members of the Kennerty family posted comments indicating that the family had intended to have a historical preservation easement placed on the property.

Among the more than 180 comments included in the petition drive was posted by Charles Steinert. He wrote, “The only reason this (property) is being annexed is because the County doesn’t have a cluster zoning category. If our city administration really wants to revitalize this area, this is not how to start.”

Florence Canaday wrote, “We are allowing developers to destroy what makes the Lowcountry beautiful. We will cut down every tree and build houses until Charleston loses its soul.” Many petition signers commented on how the planned development would worsen traffic and cause drainage problems in the flood-prone area. Ashley Hall Plantation Rd. is already used as a “cut-through” for drivers turning off Highway 61 on their way to enter I-26 and experiences congestion during rush hour.

Charleston County Council has the option to use some of the more than $200 Million in green space revenue approved in the $2.1 Billion sales tax increase which took effect May 1 to negotiate with the developers and purchase the property. It is also possible for private foundations to negotiate a purchase.

The City of Charleston’s Technical Review Committee will meet with the developers Tues., May 11 at 9 am at 2 Coming St. (behind the Gaillard Center) to review the plans. The committee includes city staff, law enforcement, fire protection, EMS and environmental officials. While officially open to the public, the meetings are held in a small space with no room for concerned citizens to hear the briefings. Requests have been made for the city to move the meeting to a larger space where the Design Review Board meetings are held.

After weeks of gathering citizen input for the West Ashley Master Plan, the Citadel Mall is hosting a week of open house displays in the Center Court area near JC Penny. The studio will feature design drawings based on previous input. Hundreds of residents attended workshops held at John Wesley Methodist Church, West Ashley Middle School, Bees Landing Recreation Center and West Ashley High School. Groups gathered around maps of West Ashley and made recommendations for the area’s future needs. The planning studio will have a drop-in format in which people can examine the drawings during regular mall hours and write comments.

West Ashley Master Planning Studio Open
The West Ashley Revitalization Commission is holding its monthly meeting Wed., May 10 from 5 – 7:30 pm at Citadel Mall. The meeting will give citizens an opportunity to make comments and ask questions about the design drawings. The planning process will be wrapped up from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, May 13 at Citadel Mall. The planning staff will present an overview of citizen recommendations and feedback on design drawings. The website www.PlanWestAshley.com lists the complete schedule of events and give people a chance to post comments. Make your voices heard!

John Steinberger is the editor-in-chief of LowcountrySource.com. To contact him, email John@LowcountrySource.com.

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