Mount Pleasant one step closer to limiting housing permits

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Town of Mount Pleasant is trying to get its growth under control.

That’s why town leaders are looking to limit the number of housing permits they grant each year.

They’re looking to cut the number of housing permits to 600 units a year. They average about 1,200 permits a year.

The executive director of the Charleston Home Builders Association, Patrick Arnold, opposed the new system.

“We believe its going to do the exact opposite of what the town intends for it to do,” Arnold said. “You’re actually going to encourage sprawl which is pushing the development to just outside the boundaries of the city where people will be using the roads, the infrastructure and they will not be paying taxes to pay for those things.”

The mayor of Mount Pleasant Will Haynie says limiting permits will help the town manage growth. Haynie says the town grew about 30 percent in less than a decade.

“Right now, it’s required because our growth. Nobody saw this. It’s been phenomenal, it’s been unsustainable and this protects our infrastructure and it protects our quality of life,” Haynie said.

The permits will be issued on a first come first serve basis. The town looks to have the limits in place for about five years.

The limits will not apply to development agreements that have already been approved. It also won’t apply to permits requested for redeveloping existing structures.

"It will get our growth rate down to two percent a year, maybe a little less depending on some fluctuations and that's something we can live with," Haynie said.

Arnold says it hurts those in the development business and he predicts costs of homes will rise, making it more difficult for people to afford to live in the town.

"It's also going to hurt the people who own property that are looking to build their homes." Arnold said.

This ordinance must pass a second reading before it goes into effect. It's expected to get approval in January.

"We're doing the best of where we have governance, and that's what we're doing that's what we promised our people and our people overwhelmingly support this," Haynie said.

The first reading passed unanimously among council.

There is currently a temporary ban on construction of new apartment units in place.

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