Apr
11

North Charleston Considers Rezoning for Park Circle

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North Charleston hears zoning pleas surrounding Park Circle

April 11, 2008

By Warren Wise – The Post and Courier

Randolph Hill of James Island doesn’t want his two parcels near Park Circle to change from multifamily use to single-family use.

Tony Gentile of North Charleston does not mind the change but says he thinks it will pressure him to build his planned townhouses on Bexley Street within two years.

They are owners of three of the nearly 200 properties North Charleston wants to rezone to drive more homeowners into a city that is shedding its image as one where renters once ruled.

City Council’s public hearing on the issue Thursday drew a diverse crowd with a handful in attendance asking to be excluded from the massive rezoning.

“I don’t feel I should be negligent in looking out for my best interest now and in the future,” Hill said.

“With the current market, I might not start (to build) for another year or year and a half,” Gentile said. He already has plans for four townhouses approved, and he has two years to start the work.

The 196 properties proposed to be rezoned from multifamily to single-family use sit roughly between South Rhett and O’Hear avenues and Rugheimer and Aragon streets just south of Park Circle.

The city’s rental occupancy rate for all housing units dropped from 55.2 percent in 1990 to 45.9 percent in 2006. Those numbers are expected to drop even more with the 2010 census.

The proposed changes near Park Circle come after several other neighborhoods across the city have been changed to single-family use. They include Charleston Farms, Chicora-Cherokee, Ferndale, Liberty Hill, Evanston Estates, the Lakes at Northwoods and Deer Park.

The reason so many areas of the city are being changed is because when it became a city in 1972, North Charleston inherited a hodgepodge of development, with single-family homes next to mobile homes or apartments.

Many older parts of the city already were developed and few restrictions existed for what went where. The city has been steadily correcting that for the past 10 years.

“A lot things in North Charleston didn’t get that way overnight,” Mayor Keith Summey said. “We know it won’t change overnight, either, but if we don’t start doing things to make that happen, it never will.”

Citizens Advisory Council Chairwoman Gayle Frampton, who lives on the north side of Park Circle but once lived near the area being rezoned, said it’s been a long time coming.

“I say hooray. At last. Thank God. It has finally come,” she said.

In other business, City Council voted 5-4 to buy 14 acres between Covington Hills and Jericho on the Ashley on Dorchester Road for $3.7 million for a new park.

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:
http://www.charleston.net/news/2008/apr/11/north_charleston_hears_zoning_pleas_surr36899/

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