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Lawsuit against Town of Mount Pleasant heads to court

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCBD) -- The Town of Mount Pleasant and a Park West developer began its civil trial Monday. 

Park West Development and Avion at Park West are suing after they claim the town violated its own ordinance in blocking townhomes and apartment plans.

Kevin Steelman with Park West Development says his company acquired the land that is now Park West in 1996.

Steelman created nearly 3,000 units—single and multi-family homes, plus commercial space—over the years. He was operating under a 1990 Mount Pleasant ordinance called the Planned Development District Ordinance (PDD).

PDD allowed Steelman flexibility in zoning in that particular area, as long as he met the proper density requirements.

“We had the discretion to move those in response to market conditions, and so we did that,” Steelman said.

Steelman says in 2014, things changed.

“We had a proposed townhome project adjacent to the airport and a proposed apartment project here at Cambridge Square. The Town decided that they were no longer allowing us to utilize the floating zoning and use the approved density that we had to move forward with those two projects,” Steelman said.

The lawsuit claims the town denied the proposals, essentially violating its own ordinance.

“In response to some public pressure, they decided they no longer wanted to follow the ordinance and chose to basically disregard their ordinance and block the projects,” said Steelman.

“We didn't want to be in a lawsuit, but that's where we've ended up,” he said.

Steelman says this project was proposed when several other large projects were in action around Mount Pleasant that some residents opposed.

A similar lawsuit to this one was filed in 2015. Last year, the judge ruled in favor of the plaintiff.

News 2 reached out to Town of Mount Pleasant representatives, but no calls or emails were returned.

The damages in the case could range from $6 million to more than $34 million.



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