CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Hundreds of Wadmalaw residents packed into the Charleston County Council meeting room. Almost 70 people signed up for public comment.
The meeting was called after the council had received a sizable amount of comments from the community towards a re-zoning application. Residents sent in letters and signed an online petition before tonight’s meeting.
The applicants, Seth and Tori Bolt, own a 30-acre luxury treehouse rental property called Bolt Farms. After receiving backlash from the community, they decided to withdraw their application.
“The last thing we want to do is have our community be upset with us,” says co-owner Seth Bolt.
The Bolts say that they wanted no harm in the development of their land. Seth claims that he grew up on a rural farm in South Carolina and knows the importance of preserving nature.
“We love and we respect Wadmalaw and the residents. The proposal that we had first submitted was not a good proposal. We know that now and we understand that so we’re going to continue listening,” he says.
The proposal would have allowed more large events, rentals, and various other developmental plans on the farm. (See the full proposal here.)
Wadmalaw native Rick Jackson says that he believes the couple should be allowed to do what they want with the farm; within reason.
“I do believe that a person has the right to do what they want with their land within the confines of the law,” says Jackson. “The law is to prevent the development and prevent damage to the ecosystem; so they go hand in hand.”
Many attendees clapped when the council announced that Bolt Farms would be retracting their application. If they want to re-apply, it would take a year and must be approved by council.
“We don’t exactly know our plans moving forward,” says Tori Bolt, “We hope our property, our nature retreat, can be a place that the community embraces.”
In the future, the Bolts hope that they can learn from the experience and strengthen their relationship with the community.