Update on Proposed Changes to Charleston County’s Zoning & Land Development Regulations

At the January 11 County Planning Commission meeting, discussion of proposed changes to the County Zoning and Land Development Regulations resulted in a request of Planning and Zoning staff to reconsider proposed changes to RR-3 and R-4 zoning. In particular with reference to R-4 zoning, staff was asked to investigate:

  • No increases in the R-4 Zoning District density for properties located in the Rural Area (outside the UGB); and
  • Allow increases in the R-4 Zoning District density for properties located in the Urban/Suburban Area (within the Urban Growth Boundary (“RGB”)) except those located adjacent to the UGB and on the Sea Islands, which should maintain the current density of 4du/ac, if feasible.

The County Zoning and Land Development Regulations are applicable to property in unincorporated areas of Charleston County. Of particular interest to residents of Seabrook Island is the parcel that lies between Kiawah Island Parkway and the site of Town Hall that is outside the Town boundary but is inside the UGB (click here to see the accompanying aerial view on which the UGB is shown as a dotted maroon line and the outline of the parcel of concern is shown as a solid red line). The parcel of interest is currently zoned R-4 and, as shown, lies within the UGB.

Zoning and Planning staff has prepared revised proposed changes to be presented at the County Planning Commission meeting on February 8. The revised changes are as follows:

All properties currently zoned R-4 continue to be zoned R-4 (not including properties located in overlay zoning districts that regulate densities) subject to the following:

  1. Maintain 4du/ac for all R-4 properties that:
    • Are located in the Rural Area (outside the UGB);
    • Are located in the Urban/Suburban Area (inside the UGB) and any part adjoins the UGB as of the date of adoption of this ordinance; and/or
    • Currently have a Future Land Use designation of Urban/Suburban Cultural Community Protection (negates the need for the proposed S-4 Zoning District).
  2. Allow density increases through the Conservation Subdivision process for R-4 properties in the Urban/Suburban Area (inside the UGB) that do not adjoin the UGB as follows:
    • 6du/ac when 30-49.9% of the total site area is delineated as Conservation Area; and
    • 8du/ac when 50% or more of the total site area is delineated as Conservation Area.
  3. Continue to allow up to 8du/ac through the PD process when .05 ac of common open space per dwelling unit plus 10% of the land designated for nonresidential uses is provided (previous proposal was to increase this to 12du/ac).

It is noted that the County Zoning and Planning staff revised proposal contemplates potential increased density for property zoned R-4 that lies within the UGB but does not expressly except properties on the sea islands. It appears that the parcel of interest to Seabrook Island residents would be subject to that potential increased density. With that in mind, residents who wish to comment regarding the revised proposal may do so by submitting email comments to:

planning@charlestoncounty.org

Of interest in that regard is that in connection with the January 11 County Planning Commission meeting, of 422 letters received, 324 expressed opposition to the proposed changes to RR-3 and R-4 zoning and 8 expressed opposition to any changes on Kiawah and Seabrook Islands.

-Submitted by Mayor John Gregg, Town of Seabrook Island

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