Developers gather input on 340-unit project on James Island

Residents voice concerns over traffic and flooding

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A new development proposed on Folly Road has many James Island residents looking for answers.

Known as The Lively, the project would sit on a 10-acre property at the northwest corner of South Grimball and Folly roads and include 340 residential units, studio space for artists, and a commercial market area for vendors. Islanders most likely to be affected by the proposed project have raised serious concerns during two recent community meetings hosted by developers Orange Capital Advisors. And with the next presentation scheduled for May 24 focusing on traffic, it’s a safe bet that plenty more will be said before the final plans for The Lively are submitted to Charleston County at the end of the month.

“When it comes to us that have to live here, there’s no other place for us to go,” said James Island resident Elizabeth Singleton, who argues that infrastructure can’t support another development in the area. “You’re in the heart of the Gullah-Geechee corridor. I live on 5 acres. Right now, with the development that just started, Bambi, which was living in the woods, is in my back yard.”

In addition to added density, flooding and congestion were the main points brought up by those who spoke during Thursday’s community meeting. A traffic study of the proposed project prepared for the developers and made available online at thelivelyonfollyroad.com states that The Lively will have one full-access driveway and two right-in, right-out access driveways on Folly Road. For years, local leaders and residents have asked for the addition of a traffic signal at the intersection of South Grimball and Folly roads to improve traffic conditions in the area.

Current designs show that the buildings along the property will be three to four stories tall with a max height of 55 feet. Those behind the project say that 50 percent of The Lively’s retail space will be available as an incubator for local artists and vendors for $100 per month. A steering committee will be established to recruit potential candidates.

“I think everyone’s got issues here with the traffic and stormwater,” said Orange Capital Advisors president McFaddin Blanding at Thursday’s meeting. “If you’re upset about that now, then this project is probably not for you. But for the folks that have seen traffic build up over time and have been marginalized, I think this is the chance to take something that is occurring at a very rapid rate and set the precedent of how future projects need to approach these areas where you do have a very cultural sense that exists there.”


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