Nearly 1,000 acre development agreement fails to pass at Summerville council meeting

Dorchester County News

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – Plans to turn 973 acres of woods near the Nexton Interchange into an 2,300 home development are now on hold.

At the Summerville Town Council meeting on Thursday night, four of the seven Summerville council members voted against approving the first reading of a development agreement between Hoyer Investment Company and the town to build the Sheep Island Planned Unit Development, currently located in unincorporated Berkeley County.

Council members said they have strong reservations about the current plans and some question if the town could handle that many additional homes.

“The number of units proposed would increase the size of the town by about 15 percent – that’s big,” said Councilwoman Christine Czarnik. “Until we are certain that the roads, utilities, police and fire can handle a development of that size, we’re going to have reservations.”

The plans submitted by the developer included 1,700 single family homes, 600 multi-family residences and about 400,000 square feet of commercial space.

Others also raised concerns during the council meeting. General Manager of Nexton, Brent Gibadlo said that traffic from the development may have a significant impact on the Nexton community and requested that a traffic study for the proposed development be entirely completed before the town and developer move forward with the plans.

“To date, that traffic study hasn’t been completed and finished,” said Gibadlo. “And so we’re just asking council to hold off until there’s a finished traffic study that everybody can take a look at and determine what type of impact this development would have on overall traffic flow.”

Del Webb Nexton subdivision residents, who live next to proposed development, have also raised concerns about the plans in recent weeks. They requested that a buffer of trees larger than 25 feet be installed in between the two communities. The residents also wanted a proposed road to be moved away from the edge of Del Webb Nexton and did not want their single-family homes to be adjacent to multi-family residences on the new development.

After sitting down with the developer, some of the Del Webb residents told News 2 on Thursday that they felt like they were making progress on finding alternatives that both groups could agree to. They said that the developer had agree to make the community buffer 50 feet long and agreed to move the proposed multi-family buildings away from Del Webb.

But after the council meeting, Del Webb resident Tom Conry said he is concerned that if the developer does not resubmit plans for a development agreement, the land could remain zoned as it is right now – Heavy Industrial, Flex1, Agricultural – and that could mean that something else other than residential homes could be built next to their community.

“Tonight was a bit of a surprise with some of these other issues being raised,” said Conry. “And I have a sense that it could dramatically affect the project, even to the point of it not going through. And that leaves us at Del Webb Nexton back to the issue we’ve had with this land next to us, of it being open… we could wind up with more industrial than we would [if it were] rezoned residential.”

In order for the development to potentially move forward, the developer will have to submit a new development agreement to the town and it will require the approval of two readings by town council. Council would also have to pass a second reading to annex and rezone the land for development in the town. The first reading was passed on June 13.

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