December 3, 2015

John’s Island Council
Post Office Box 208
John’s Island, SC 29457


Members Attending: Sam Brownlee, Rich Jenkins, John Kozma, Thomas Legare, James Owens, Monica Smith, Tim Squire, Rich Thomas, Catherine Poag

In the absence of Chair Chris Cannon, Vice Chair Rich Jenkins conducted the meeting.

Following the pledge of allegiance, the meeting was called to order.

Upon a motion duly made and seconded, the minutes of November 5, 2015 were approved with the change of ”Scholarship” to “Scholars” Fund.

Two guests, Linda Wood and Jean Howard, were welcomed. They had attended the “Roads” meeting and were interested in learning more about John’s Island issues and the Council.

Chairman’s Report
There was no report.

Treasurer’s Report
Treasurer Sam Brownlee reported that the November bank balance was $637.06. The Scholars Fund is at $373,571.61 which is a slight increase. The market is still down which has affected the level of the Fund.

Sam reported that there had been a meeting but he was unable to attend.

New Business
Vice Chair Rich Jenkins brought up 2 items that will be on the County Planning Committee agenda for its December 14th meeting. The first is the property at 3005 Maybank Road. The request is for a zoning change R-4 to PD-153 The Settlement at John’s Island. There had been a presentation at the June 4th JI Council meeting by Jason Long of Blanchard & Calhoun development company. The site will to be used for 4 buildings—of Lowcountry design with much of the wooded area retained and with gravel parking. The buildings would be for retail and restaurants. It would be built one building at a time. The back area was not to be built on due to marshy conditions and a back section that opened onto Cane Slash road was to be left R-4. It was suggested by JI Council that the back area and “lot” be placed into a conservation easement or have a deed restriction. Members of Council were concerned about possible future plans for the property in the back area. If left R-4, it could be developed. There was not an objection to the plan for the front section as presented at the June 4th meeting; however, the uncertainty of the back area is a concern. It was decided that JI Council will ask for a delay for clarification of the plan being presented to Planning Committee vs. what was presented to JI Council. Rich Thomas and Colin Cuskley will check with County and review the “packet” of information.
The second property is at 923 and 931 Main Road. This was presented to JI Council at the April 2nd meeting. The plan is to build a second Dollar General store on John’s Island. There were 4 lots to be purchased and the one lot that was zoned Commercial was not buildable so the plan was to downzone it and rezone another one of the lots to Community Commercial so the store could be built on it. At the time JI Council expressed concerns about the evening hours, the possibility of selling alcohol and the fact that the neighbors had not been contacted yet. The developers were asked to keep us apprised as they moved forward. Thomas mentioned that he had heard from a number of people who were against this. There is a residential area next to this location and while there are other commercial properties nearby, none of them are open at night. Following general discussion, Thomas moved to oppose the zoning change from R-3 to Community Commercial. Rich Thomas seconded. The motion was approved. This opposition will be sent to County Planning.

Catherine Poag mentioned that there are 15 lots across Plowground from her family’s property that are now going to be developed. The land has been clear cut recently and the foundation has been put in for one house. Thus far, three taps have been put in by the water company. Each lot is approximately .29 acres so it will end up with 15 houses on 4.3 acres. There are 30 acres on the back adjoining these lots and Catherine expressed concern for whether that acreage could be somehow rezoned to allow for 15 houses per 4 acres there. She will talk with County to try to get more information.

John Kozma presented research he had done on Impact Fees for Developers. He mentioned that he had researched this awhile back for JI Council and the JI Council had approved it at that time. The main intent is for “reasonable and responsible development.” Too often developers come in, build and leave and the residents then must pay for increased expense for the needed infrastructure improvements. John mentioned that at one time he had attended a City committee meeting where there were proposals for City to pay impact fees for garbage and police. That was opposed by real estate developers and never got very far in the system. John mentioned that there is a state statute that allows for impact fees for specific purposes. He will follow up with Natalie at SCCCL. Dorchester and Berkeley do have impact fees. Tim complimented John on his research and there was discussion of what all can be included in “infastructure and services.”
Sam moved that we invite Joel Evans come to a JI Council meeting in January or February and make a presentation about County Planning, the process etc. and cover topics such as impact fees. Thomas seconded the motion. The motion was approved. Rich Thomas mentioned that it might be a good idea to have another public meeting and have both County and City Planning/Zoning make presentations. The more people understand the “systems’ and are informed, the better it will be. Rich had raised this point of taking an active interest at the end of the “Roads” public meeting.

Catherine Poag thanked everyone for all of the work that went in to promoting and getting 350 residents to come to the “Roads” meeting on November 16 at St. John’s High School. She thanked Rich Thomas for organizing this and moderating the meeting. She pointed out that there was good press coverage and considerable increased public awareness. It also gave residents an opportunity to hear from those who are in charge of a range of services at state and local levels—Roads, Fire, EMS, Sheriff –and to ask questions and meet these individuals. Sam said that he had spoken to Steve Thigpen—County Transportation—at another event and Steve had been very complimentary of the meeting. Thomas mentioned that he had met Representative Robert Brown at Burden’s Creek Bridge a few days after the meeting and showed him what the questions/issues seemed to be with the bridge replacement and closing the road for that SCDOT project.

Colin Cuskley reported on several items from the JI Task Force Meeting. The Progressive Club would like to move ahead with plans but there is an issue with a power line and Berkeley Electric wants $80,000 to move the line in question. He asked if anyone had any ideas. It was mentioned that Henry Chavis was recently elected the local Berkeley Electric Company Board and he might be able to get some additional information. Colin then mentioned the “Pitchfork” road plan at Maybank and River Roads and had a map. Everyone agreed that it is important for City, County and State to look at long term solutions instead of just ”patching.” when it comes to the roads. It only become more expensive to have to eventually do it the right way. One possibility Colin discussed for the intersection of Maybank and River was a 2-lane traffic circle.(roundabout). Tim asked if that could handle the flow of large numbers of vehicles. Colin pointed to many European cites as examples of where this can work. The circle at Freshfields Village, while handling a small flow of traffic, seems to be well designed and work quite well. Thomas said that he felt this made sense for that intersection.

James Owens mentioned that there is a lot of building and property changing hands on Kitford Road where he lives. Someone has started a sock manufacturing business on one site. There is a piece of property that has an drive/road easement back to other homes but that road is sometimes blocked by trucks etc.. An attorney named Jackson recently bought that property and has wanted the neighbors to sign some papers that no one is quite sure what is going on and so will not sign. James wanted to make Council aware of all of this.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:30PM

Respectfully submitted,

Catherine Poag