Editorial: North Charleston should follow its vision for Spruill Avenue | Editorials

About 20 years ago, when North Charleston began to reluctantly adjust to the reality that the south end of Charleston’s old naval base would become a new container terminal, the city approved a plan that would balance the emerging port presence there with the desire of nearby neighborhoods. stay safe from industrial sprawl. Specifically, planners noted that industrial uses should be welcome on the east side of Spruill Avenue, while the future on the west side of the street should be more mixed in nature.

City Council has a significant opportunity, perhaps even an obligation, to act on this long-term plan when it votes on Tuesday on final approval to rezone 10 lots on or near Spruill from industrial to commercial. general.

Mayor Keith Summey said the city’s long-term goal is to help attract different types of businesses to nearby Union Heights and Chicora Cherokee neighborhoods, according to Rickey Ciapha Dennis Jr. of The Post and Courier. Using Spruill as a sort of zoning boundary between port uses and quieter neighborhood uses would help protect the residential character of life in an ever-changing part of town. “We didn’t want to end up with industrial zoning between two neighborhoods,” Mayor Summey said.

Some owners of these 10 properties oppose the change, but there is another point that the city council must keep in mind beyond the city’s long-term plan. The zoning change will not disrupt current industrial operations on these properties; this would only limit their expansion. There’s a big difference between rezoning a property and using a more controversial process called depreciation, which aims to phase out certain pre-existing businesses. Depreciation is not what is happening here.

Perhaps most concerning is the blackout in North Charleston’s collective planning brain when it comes to this issue. When the matter was first brought before the city’s planning commission on October 10, no one told the commissioners of the story here, a story that began long before work on the new Hugh K Terminal Leatherman. Instead, commissioners heard primarily from landowners interested in maintaining their warehousing, storage and truck repair operations. This is probably why the Planning Commission came out against rezoning.

We generally expect city councils to follow the advice of their respective planning commissions, and we often urge them to do so, but we make an exception in this case for all the reasons listed above.

Spruill Avenue is a major north-south corridor that runs just east and parallel to Rivers Avenue for approximately three miles, terminating at East Montague Avenue near Park Circle. Spruill has a checkered past as the scene of much of the vice one would expect anywhere there are thousands of sailors stationed nearby, but in the generation after the base was closed, the town worked to reposition the artery as a more dynamic and mixed artery. use the hallway.

The city has taken ambitious steps in this direction, including putting the street on a road diet years ago – making it much more attractive for cyclists without causing significant traffic delays – and acquiring a section further north. of the state to allow for additional travel. on-street parking to support emerging restaurants and businesses.

The current rezoning effort clarifies the city’s vision of a more vibrant urban boulevard as the avenue extends south toward the southern city limit of North Charleston. It made sense when the city first introduced the plan 15 years ago, and it still makes sense today.

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