Shem Creek parking garage plan faces controversy - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Shem Creek parking garage plan faces controversy

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For the second month in a row, there was standing room only for much of Tuesday night's Mt. Pleasant Town Council meeting.

Dozens of residents came out to voice their concerns with plans to put a business complex, that features a parking garage, at the corner of Mill Street and Coleman Boulevard.  Many of the neighbors voiced worries that the structure is too tall and will change the landscape of the area.

"The run-off from automobiles and careless people who drop God knows everything, is going to be tremendous," Louisa Montgomery said. "You can have your parking garage, just don't put it on my creek."

One speaker presented a petition to the council, which he said featured nearly 1,100 signatures of those who are against the plan.

The only person who spoke in support of the proposal was Isle of Palms based developer, Tex Small. He claimed that neighbors are spreading false information to stop the plan from moving forward.

"The people who put misinformation out and they show [this picture], they have an agenda.. They have a personal agenda," Small said.

Council-members did not make any action on the proposal, as it was only classified as a discussion item.  There were concerns from Councilman Gary Santos who said he is not supportive of the fact that the town will pay $185,000 each year over the next 15 years to subsidize the plan. That total cost is $2.77 million, according to Santos.

Town Administrator Eric DeMoura said that funding will come from hotel taxes.  He said the town is helping with the project so that it has access to the parking spaces during overnight and weekend hours. 

Santos put forward a motion to strip the project of that funding, but that failed after no one seconded the motion.

While many of the neighbors focused on the height of the building, Small urged the public to realize the proposal could bring more jobs.

"It's a parking garage that supports an office building," Small said.

Still, neighbors asked Town Council to be cautious of the project and how it could affect the future of the area.

"I think the town council needs to step back, take a look at what they're doing, and for God's sake do what you can to save what's left of Shem Creek," Jimmy Bagwell said.

There is no word on when Town Council is expected to vote on the proposal.

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