Dorchester County to Extend Residential Growth Moratorium


Council wants more time to plan growth
Dorchester County likely to extend residential development moratorium

May 7, 2008

By Dave Munday – The Post and Courier

Dorchester County Council intends to renew the moratorium on new residential developments before it expires next month, giving the county more time to finish a plan to make sure building doesn’t get ahead of roads and schools when the economy picks up again.

The county’s six-month suspension of new developments expires June 10. Council voted 6-1 Monday to give first-reading approval to renewing it for three months.

“Our concern is that development proposals that are waiting in the wings will come in before we have a good comprehensive plan in place,” said Councilman Jamie Feltner, who lives on Dorchester Road, one of the county’s most congested areas.

Councilman Chris Murphy was the only one to vote against it.

“I think the economy is taking care of building here as in the rest of the country,” said Murphy, a Summerville attorney.

Phillip Ford, executive vice president of the Charleston Trident Home Builders Association, was not at the meeting but said he’s concerned extending the moratorium will discourage commercial and industrial investments as well as residential developments.
“People (considering commercial projects) are going to leave and they’re not coming back,” Ford said Tuesday. “When you start sending a message that you’re anti-growth, I think you’re going to see a ripple effect, and taxpayers are going to have to foot the bill.”

Hamilton Davis, Coastal Conservation League project manager, was one of five people who urged council to extend the moratorium.

“It’s not just slow growth or no growth but making sure the growth we do have is a good model,” Davis said Tuesday.

Feltner wanted to extend the moratorium for another six months, but council opted to pass the 120-day compromise proposed by Willie Davis of St. George.

Council will hold a public hearing before final approval, which is expected at the June 2 meeting.

The moratorium affects new developments of at least 10 units in Dorchester District 2, which includes the Summerville area rather than the more rural parts of the county. It does not affect projects that already have been approved.


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