Mt. Pleasant Council votes “no action” on Shem Creek parking garage project; votes to widen Highway 41

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC – After a five hour Mount Pleasant Town Council meeting, officials said, “No action was taken regarding the Shem Creek project.”

During the Mt. Pleasant Town Council elections last months, the 42,500 square foot office space and 234 car parking garage at Shem Creek were a hot topic amongst voters.

On Monday, council members went into executive session with their legal team at 10:30pm to discuss possibly buying the property near Shem Creek where the office and garage are currently under construction.

Tonight, we spoke with council members and community members about the potential acquisition of the property.

“Once you put something like that up you’re stuck with that forever,” said Julian Hopkins of Mount Pleasant. Hopkins says he’s against the construction. “Let’s put something there that is will benefit us more than just a big brick-and-mortar structure.”

On Tuesday night new Mount Pleasant council members were sworn in. News 2 is told some of these newly elected officials have worked with the group, Save Shem Creek, whose members have been against the office and parking garage’s construction for a while.

“I know we are all opposed to it and that is one of the things that helped launch them in the office,” said Hopkins.

Save Shem Creek Corporation is currently suing the town over its zoning decision to permit the work.

Councilman Gary Santos says the new council members were elected by the people and their voices should be heard.  Santos told News 2, “We want to make sure that’s the best use for the citizens of the town of Mount Pleasant.”

Questions remain about what the town would do with the property if they try to acquire it.

With new council members now elected, they have the potential to stop construction and could acquire the property by power of eminent domain.

Officials say they still need to figure out what would the town do with the property. They must also figure out how much of the land they would acquire, and how much would it cost.

Mount Pleasant Mayor said, “Hopefully they (newly elected council members) will shed some light on it. At this point, I have not heard any suggestion as to what any possible uses would be.”

Construction began after a groundbreaking last month, so that could not drive up the price of the property.

But still, others like the plan the way it is. Seymour Rosenthal attended the meeting and told News 2, “I don’t particularly care to visit restaurants where I have to park my car in a mud hole…I’m not sure what else you want to put there; another restaurant? I don’t know what people have in mind, another park? I don’t want to pay my taxes for another park. I have plenty of parks right now.”

Also at tonight’s meeting, Charleston County Chairman Elliott Summey addressed council members with an update on county projects.

County officials described improvements to be made with funds from the Charleston County Transportation Sales Tax Program.

Mount Pleasant Council agreed to partner with the county to widen Highway 41 over the next six to seven years. The actualy construction of the project is espected to take two and a half to three years.

Early estimates to include improvements at Highway 41 and US-17 intersection. Officials wants to widen the road to four lanes.

Officials say the project will cost roughly $100 million dollars.

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