SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – Dorchester County Council passed a motion to hold a town vote that would transfer the property from being a tax increment financed development, to a fee in lieu development.
Leaders are discussing a redevelopment plan for a large property that greets people who head into Summerville.
The 500 North Main Street property is one of the first buildings you see when you approach downtown Summerville.
“You look around, look at the natural beauty of the place. This is an old historical building,” Summerville resident, Mark Hamblin said.
It’s now the home of the county’s human services and was a hospital from 1937 to 1975, but the 5.3-acre property is going to look a lot different in the near future.
“Condos or apartments, or townhouses. Whatever the case may be. Taking that and surrounding it by a parking garage. A potential restaurant, creating a park here.” County Vice Chairman, David Chinnis said.
Some residents like Bryce Myers, say they love that plan.
“I like the growth, I think it brings good people to the area, it bring good business to the area and I think that’s a good thing for the economy,” Myers said.
However, others say the redevelopment would take away from the quaint feeling Summerville is known for.
“Too much development going on in the county, I think we need to preserve what we have,” Hamblin said.
Because of those concerns, county council is rethinking their approach to the development in a way that would honor the building’s history, but also meet the needs of growth.
“We’re not trying to bulldoze Summerville and put up glass skyscrapers. Nobody wants to see that, but to create those elements in Summerville that give us a sense of community,” Chinnis said.
In a special meeting Monday voted to hold a town vote, that would transfer the property from being a tax increment financed development, to a fee in lieu development.
Essentially, that would give developers the funds to preserve the front of the building, keep the veteran’s memorial, and require the developer to hold public outreach meetings before seeking site approval from Summerville Town Council.
“If it is feasible to maintain it and affordable to maintain it, then certainly we can do that,” Chinnis said.
The motion passed 6-0 with one council member absent.