JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) – The Charleston City Council is still considering the change despite more than 100 people on Johns Island saying they oppose road rezoning.
The city’s Planning Commission moved forward with plans to rezon Southwick Drive at a Monday night meeting.
“You know, if we had millions of dollars to fix these problems ourselves, we would, but we don’t,” said Southwick Drive resident Karyn Buckley.
Middleburg Communities is attempting to rezone 16 acres on Southwick Drive from about 128 homes with 1 unit per acre to at least 160 homes with 6 units per acre. The city’s planning committee voted 7-2 to refer the project to full committee.
“On paper, on commitments or on charts, you know, that’s the picture they want to happen, but we’re providing a picture of life every day,” Barkley said.
At least 40 people who live on Southwick Drive have spoken to the Charleston Planning Commission, and 92 others who live nearby have signed an email to a project opposing the rezoning of Southwick Drive. members of the city council. With dozens of accidents on this road over the past few years, driver safety is a top priority.
According to a 2016 SCDOT analysis by Middleburg Communities, 85 percent of drivers were traveling at 42 mph on the 35 mph road. Only one accident was reported during the three-year study.
But since Jan. 1, 2019, 13 accidents and 34 speeding tickets have been reported, according to the Charleston Police Department. The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office reported eight accidents, 30 speeding tickets and three DUI arrests.
Charleston City Planning Manager Christopher Morgan thinks the speed limit should change.
“I think, as a planner, 35 mph is too fast for this road,” Morgan said. “I think we would certainly support any effort to try to reduce the speed of traffic on that road.”
Morgan said a traffic study isn’t required before it’s submitted to the full committee, but Middleburg Communities will have to send a report to the city’s technical review board at some point.
“This traffic study will look at mitigations that may be needed, possibly a four-way intersection on Southwick Drive where their intersection will turn, possibly a turn lane,” Morgan said.
Buckley said traffic lights at Maybank and Southwick had to be present. Still, she worries the city won’t keep its word.
“Sometimes, you know, the influx of money doesn’t end up where it’s needed most,” Barkley said.
The Charleston City Council will make a decision on the rezoning on December 20.
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