Who: City of Charleston Planning Department
When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Gildan Office, 1980 Clements Ferry Road
Why: To discuss proposed Planned Unit Development for Cainhoy Plantation property
A new high school planned for the Clements Ferry Road area could eventually be part of a community that’s even bigger than Daniel Island.
A mixed-use development of residences, businesses, parks and more could be built on 5,000-plus acres that is part of Cainhoy Plantation, a tract owned by the family of the late Harry Frank Guggenheim.
The City of Charleston planning department is holding a meeting Tuesday to update the community on the project and get input.
The development, on the south side of Clements Ferry Road, could take 50 years to complete, said Matt Sloan, who is representing landowners Cainhoy Land & Timber. It will be based on the plans for nearby Daniel Island, a 4,000-acre master-planned community that is about halfway into a 30-year building plan, said Sloan, who is also president of the Daniel Island Co.
“The first development on Daniel Island was under Guggenheim ownership, so they sort of set the stage for what Daniel Island was to become and now they are resetting the stage for this property,” Sloan said.
The parcel is in the City of Charleston and Berkeley County. Sloan said it is not part of a current movement by Daniel Island residents to annex into Charleston County.
The project was pushed into fast-forward mode when the owners agreed to sell a parcel to Berkeley County School District for a 1,500-student high school scheduled to open in August 2017.
“A high school for that area is very much needed, and it’s needed quickly,” Sloan said. Students currently attend the overcrowded Hanahan High School.
To move forward with the high school, “We needed to take the project into the planning stages,” Sloan said. “Our development agreement says you can’t just go subdivide land without a master plan, which is actually good common sense. You should have a plan before you start cutting something up. Then we decided, if we’re going to go through the master-planning process, let’s plan the whole property and do it in a cohesive way.”
Residents from Daniel Island and Cainhoy are currently studying several sites where the district could build a middle school, including adjacent to the high school property. They are expected to make a recommendation to the school district by the end of November, Superintendent Rodney Thompson said.
“Once we figure this whole school thing out, that will open up the land for development,” Sloan said. “Presumably, if there is going to be a school or schools on the property, people will want to live near that and so that would make sense to start introducing housing at that time.”
He expects traffic to be residents’ biggest concern about the future development.
“People who live on Clements Ferry Road basically are stuck driving Clements Ferry Road every day, which is not a pleasant experience,” he said.
A two-phase widening project is in the works, part of a $122.2 million road improvement plan being funded through a 7-year, one-cent sales tax program that was approved by Berkeley County voters in 2008, according to the Berkeley County Engineering Department.
The first phase includes widening 3.6 miles of Clements Ferry from I-526 to Jack Primus Road to two lanes in each direction with a center turn lane and a multi-purpose trail on one side.
Berkeley County is planning a public hearing this fall on the design, and hopes to start acquiring rights-of-way in early 2014.
“The widening will be done by the time we are adding to the traffic count on Clements Ferry,” Sloan said.
The second phase involves widening 4.5 miles from Jack Primus Road to Highway 41 to four lanes with a raised median and a trail on one side. That project is currently on hold due to National Environmental Policy Act considerations.
Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or @brindge on Twitter.