West Virginia

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

About 20 years ago, when North Charleston reluctantly adjusted to the reality that the south end of the former Charleston Naval Base would become a new container terminal, the city approved a plan that would balance the emerging port presence there with the desires of nearby neighborhoods should remain protected from industrial sprawl. In particular, the city planners noted that industrial uses should be welcomed on Spruill Avenue’s east side, while the future of the street’s west side should be more mixed-use.

City Council has an important opportunity, perhaps even an obligation, to implement this long-term plan when it votes Tuesday on final approval of the rezoning of 10 lots on or near Spruill from industrial to general business.

Mayor Keith Sumey said the city’s long-term goal has been to attract various types of businesses to the nearby neighborhoods of Union Heights and Chicora Cherokee, according to The Post and Courier’s Rickey Ciapha Dennis Jr. Using Spruill as a sort of zone boundary between port uses and quieter neighborhood uses would help protect the residential quality of life in a gradually developing part of the city. “We didn’t want to end up between two neighborhoods with industrial zones,” Mayor Sumey said.

Some owners of these 10 lots oppose the change, but there’s one more point the city council should consider beyond the city’s long-term plan. The zoning change will not disrupt ongoing industrial operations on these properties; it would only limit any expansion of them. There’s a big difference between repurposing a property and using a more controversial process known as depreciation, which aims to phase out certain pre-existing businesses. Depreciation is not what is happening here.

What is perhaps most troubling is the lack of memory in North Charleston’s collective planning brain when it came to the matter. When the issue first came before the city’s planning commission on Oct. 10, no one briefed the commissioners on the story here, a story that began long before work on the new Hugh K. Leatherman terminal began. Instead, the commissioners heard mostly from property owners interested in maintaining their warehouse, storage, and truck repair operations. This is probably why the planning commission recommended against the rededication.

We typically expect and often urge councilors to follow the advice of their respective planning commissions, but we make an exception in this case for the reasons listed above.

Spruill Avenue is a major north-south corridor that runs just 3 miles east and parallels Rivers Avenue, terminating at East Montague Avenue near Park Circle. Spruill has a checkered past as the scene of many of the vices to be expected wherever thousands of sailors are stationed nearby, but in the generation following the base’s closure, the town has worked to rebrand the thoroughfare as a more vibrant, blended place to position. use corridor.

The city has made ambitious moves in that direction, including putting the road on a street diet years ago — making it far more attractive to cyclists without incurring significant traffic delays — and acquiring a more northerly section from the state to allow for additional ones On-street parking to support emerging restaurants and businesses.

The current rededication efforts clarify the city’s vision for a more dynamic urban boulevard as the avenue curves south toward North Charleston’s southern city limits. It made sense when the city first came up with the plan 15 years ago, and it still makes sense today.

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