On Wednesday, November 17, The City of Charleston Planning Commission will host a public meeting that will present an amendment to the City’s Zoning Ordinance that will affect the Angel Oak Village Development.
The proposed ordinance would give developers a chance to move through the permit process faster by changing the role of the Commercial Corridor Design Review Board, (CCDRB). Currently, projects in the CCDRB district must get approval from the Board before they can move forward with acquiring any building permits.
Essentially, the proposed ordinance would place review of projects within the district to the “administrative officer”, (a City planning staff member). The board would become an appellate body with the exception of demolitions, which would still need Board approval. If the ordinance is adopted, big controversial projects, including the Angel Oak Village Development would NOT have to go through CCDRB.
Interestingly enough, the Angel Oak Development did go before the CCDRB several times already, but plans were either denied or deferred due to board members concerns over the development being completely out of character with rural Johns Island, among other concerns.
Even more interesting, was that City employee Tim Keane, who worked as a private contractor for the developer of Angel Oak Village until the summer of 2009, created and presented the plans to the CCDRB that were not approved. Keane then became the Director of Planning for the city at the end of November that same year.
In April of 2009, Tim Keane presented plans for Angel Oak Village to the CCDRB that were rejected. The Post and Courier wrote an article about the meeting in April of 2009:
“Board member Patrick Pernell was highly critical. ‘The plan has a long way to go,’ he said, saying the scale and mass of buildings is still too much. He likened plans ‘to the 1970s.’ ‘There is no suspense, no sense of destination and I don’t feel any sense of space. Behind the buildings is a sea of asphalt,’ Pernell said.”
In June of 2009, The Post and Courier published another story about the Angel Oak Village development in which Mr. Keane was quoted:
“Tim Keane, Charleston’s former planning director who now runs the design firm handling the development, called the plan “one of those rare victories for public planning,” and said it meshed with regional development goals developed through years of community meetings on Johns Island.”
It seems as if the Director of City Planning and the CCDRB have different standards when reviewing development, which is proof enough of that it takes more than one person to review a development.
The City of Charleston Planning Commission meeting will be held at 5:00 p.m., on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 in the Meeting Room, Third Floor at 75 Calhoun St (Charleston County School District Building—across from the main library). Please come out and voice your opinion.
Samantha J. Siegel