The Goose Creek Planning Commission’s decision to recommend adding a new 30-acre development along Windsor Mill Road and Highway 52 drew mixed reviews during an August 2 public meeting, with nine residents issuing complaints about the project.
On hand for details was developer Boris Van Dyck who reports that he was originally approached by multiple parcel owners in the area about the possibility of bringing senior living and retail to the Goose Creek community.
Van Dyck, who now owns that space, has formally asked the advisory committee to give the go-ahead for his request to redo the zoning involved, including Stonewall Court and part of Carol Drive to Planned Development.
The PD designation usually allows builders to bypass standard zoning and development regulations.
“We went through many iterations of this site plan and what we were really told, the feedback we got was really that they wanted something that was really lively housing with retail. They didn’t want that the four-story buildings were pushed onto the street so we changed the site plan Significantly,” Van Dyck told.
The builder’s current plan entails downsizing the establishment to a maximum three-story level with high-end (at market rate) architectural finishes featuring multi-family, mid-market seniors’ living, as well as 32,000 square feet of retail in the complex front-end.
At the commercial end of things, the applicant shared his vision of bringing in family-style restaurants, coffee shops, gyms and other service businesses, while staying away from e-cigarette stores and fast food chains.
He emphasized the presence of “a lot of greenery” and public spaces throughout, along with amenities that would be available to residents and the general public.
“In terms of traffic, we’ve done a traffic study. We’ve worked very hard with all the agencies involved, including DOT, Berkeley County Roads & Bridges. I know one of the biggest pushbacks is traffic. I know there’s not much I can do.” about that [U.S. Highway] 52, but we are trying to ease everything we can by redesigning the intersection,” the developer explained.
Van Dyck acknowledged that a dedicated right turn lane and other steps to facilitate traffic flow had been discussed with the Department of Transportation.
The introduction of the mixed-use project did not prevent at least nine residents from issuing their comments on the project, beginning with Vivian Taylor, who appealed to the committee not to remove green spaces in the community and preserve wooded areas.
On a similar note, Stephen Harrison, a resident of the Bremore residential area, expressed similar sentiments during and after the meeting.
He told Goose Creek Gazette, “The biggest problem is that they want to develop the little green space we left in front of our subdivision. And great, that’s what they can do and what it’s set aside for, but I have no idea because no one talks to the subdivisions, the homeowners in Region “.
On the other hand, Larry Alexis has expressed concerns about the possibility of eliminating Woodland Lakes and wooded areas through development.
“It calms you down,” he said of the blessing. “Driving down 52 is making you crazy. And now we have buildings and stuff? It’s going to take away that whole calming effect. To me, you can’t really replace that calm — you can’t do that.”
Nikki Alexander, who presented herself as a long-term care pharmacologist with a Ph.D., was known not only for the sentiments of the approximately 1,500 people the project will host, but also the hundreds of medical professionals who will drive in and out of Windsor Mill to serve seniors on site. These include: pharmacy providers, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, rehabilitation specialists, and nursing case managers.
“My biggest concern is that while this looks great and this looks great, it’s going to be about 2,000 people going in and out every day,” Alexander said.
After the public comment period, the committee had questions of its own and concluded that the proposal was viable, as long as it met certain conditions.
Commissioner Heather Bird emphasized that mixed-use construction would enhance property values, along with meeting the living needs of seniors, increasing affordable housing, and adding small businesses.
Her motion for the zoning request was voted on and approved by her colleagues on the condition that all parcels adjacent to housing estates be equipped with a 20-foot undisturbed buffer along the parcel lines. Also, the commission is asking the developer to provide an additional 20-foot hedge consisting of a mix of trees and 15 shrubs for every 100 linear feet. It was also noted that the investor erected a metal fence between the natural barriers.
The authority explained that all car-powered restaurants will be excluded from the commercial games plan, while also calling for the addition of at least two electric charging stations.
Furthermore, the Van Dyck planning group advised placing additional spin lanes and/or deceleration lanes. In particular, the required left-turn lane on Windsor Mill Road was part of the demand package, along with traffic stocks on the north and southbound lanes of U.S. Highway 52.
The committee’s recommendation will be examined and voted on by the city council at the next board meeting.