The Planning Committee meeting on Feb. 2 will feature a vote on the conceptual development plan for The Atlantic project on the old Channel 4 property on Ben Sawyer Blvd. (the plan can be found here: http://www.tompsc.com/DocumentCenter/View/12638). This is not a vote to rezone the property as the proposed plan is allowable under the Urban Corridor Overlay District zoning. Rather, this is a review of the conecptual plan and how the project's impacts are to be handled.
Save Shem Creek Corp. has serious concerns about the proposed project called The Atlantic on Ben Sawyer Blvd., and just about every nearby resident we've talked to, including the many from Sullivans Island who have reached out to us, feels the same way.
The Atlantic project is a prime example of why the Town’s zoning code needs to be modified to get rid of bonus densities and encourage a better balance of commercial space. By including a small amount of retail space in order to claim a “mixed-use” project, the developer is allowed to greatly increase the number of residential units (30+ units/acre) and more than double what we think is a reasonable number of residences for this property. Until the bonus density code is modified, we will continue to see knockoffs of The Boulevard formula rather than the creation of a true commercial corridor for our town.
By way of comparison, the Simmons Pointe property across the street is a dense project by Mt. Pleasant standards, but is only about a quarter as dense as what is proposed here. This sort of intense development in no way meshes with or enhances the surrounding, established neighborhoods, which itself is a violation of the Town’s zoning code.
Furthermore, The Atlantic’s site plan presents itself as something from an urban block based on how the buildings front the street, which goes against the Town’s Coleman Blvd. Master Plan. The concept appears to be similar to The Boulevard project rather than what is called for in the Town’s Coleman Blvd. Master Plan for this section of Ben Sawyer Blvd. These are lines from the Town’s Coleman Blvd. Master Plan:
Ben Sawyer Boulevard should feel more open and expansive than the more urban sections of Coleman Boulevard. There should be a transition from the more urban sections near the [planned] Roundabout with the least intensive areas near the marsh edge.The character should become more expansive and open.
Save Shem Creek Corp. believes this unique property requires a plan deserving of its beauty and location, and the current plan reads as a cookie-cutter, massive apartment complex disguised by a trendy “mixed-use” label.
In addition, we have strong reservations about the number of protected live oaks that are proposed to be cut down, and more could be done to work around these trees. We also have strong concerns about the potential water quality impacts from having such an intense development right along the marsh edge.
If you have similar concerns, be sure to make your voice heard by contacting members of Council at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or attending Monday's Planning Committee meeting.