MT. PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – The future of a parcel of land off of Faison Road in north Mt. Pleasant is being discussed in a town council meeting on Tuesday.
The Town of Mt. Pleasant purchased the 30-acre land towards the end of 2021 for around $6.5 million with no plans for its use. The parcel is across Faison Road from Oceanside Collegiate Academy before the school bus lot.
Now, council members are debating whether to develop it or preserve it.
“I know some councilmembers would like to see parts of the land sold for economic development purposes, some councilmembers would like to see it maybe held on to for future recreation purposes, and I know some councilmembers would like to see it just preserved,” said Councilman Jake Rambo.
Rambo says several businesses have approached the town about potentially purchasing a part of the parcel to develop.
“This is an opportunity for council to discuss ‘what are our plans for this property?'”
In his discussions with residents in the Carolina Park area, Rambo says the consensus is to preserve the land as the area nearby is undergoing a high level of development with shops and restaurants across from Costco, neighborhoods, and more.
“That’s my personal opinion too. It’s nice to see a large area preserved for the wildlife and to preserve some trees,” said Rambo.
In October, before the sale of the land went through, Councilman Gary Santos shared some of his ideas with News 2 about possible ideas for development. He listed a senior center, a recreation center, and a YMCA as ideas. He says it’s about finding the best fit for the north Mt. Pleasant community.
Mayor Will Haynie, who was opposed to the purchase of the land, sent the following statement to News 2.
“The lesson learned on this should be that a government body should always know for what purpose it is buying property for millions of dollars. This was bought in the heat of the moment and no clear purpose has yet come into vision.”-Mayor Will Haynie, Town of Mt. Pleasant
Rambo says the clock is ticking on development because of an outstanding permit granted by the Army Corps of Engineers that expires on December 31, 2025.
“Right now the vast majority of the parcel is considered highland. Legally, it is not considered jurisdictional wetland, but it is covered with trees and it is low lying. It would require a substantial financial investment to, basically, fill the property,” said Rambo.
The “fill and build” concept is something Rambo says the town is trying to get away from.
“It’s under a 15 or 20-year agreement with the Army Corps that basically says we can fill it and it’s not jurisdictional wetlands. However, I think that expires in four to five years. At that point, it’s estimated that a vast majority of the property would then be re-classified as wetlands,” said Rambo.
That’s where the time crunch on the future of the land kicks in.
Tuesday’s town council meeting begins at 6 p.m.