Lowcountry Headlines

Lowcountry Headlines


Organizers pushing to turn Johns Island into a town

By Harve Jacobs|February 4, 2020 at 2:37 PM EST - Updated February 4 at 7:57 PM

JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - An effort has begun to turn Johns Island into a town.

Currently, people who live on the island live either in unincorporated Charleston County or in the City of Charleston.

Organizers say folks in favor of a town say they've been ignored by government officials in Charleston County.

“We just feel like we are being treated like the red headed step child in the City of Charleston and County of Charleston,” Johns Island farmer Thomas Legare said Tuesday. “And we’ve got to get control of our own destiny on Johns Island.”

"Nobody will listen to us, so we really don't have a choice," Randall Horres said.

The two men say there aren't enough deputies assigned to what has become an ever growing Johns Island.

Legare believes that will change if a town is formed.

“We can contract with the sheriff’s department just like James Island does. But we can specify how many police officers, how many deputy sheriffs we will have on Johns Island at what hours of the day and night. We’d have more men and women over here.”

Legare says pleas have been ignored to control development and flooding on Johns Island.

"The growth and the uncontrolled development on Johns Island, that kind of stuff has to be stopped," Legare said.

“We’ve kicked, we’ve screamed, we’ve begged. We’ve had the car accidents, the crime, it’s out of control. I think that planning and zoning are almost non-existent for Johns Island,” Horres said.

The two men are trying to raise enough money to do a feasibility study to determine which parts of Johns Island are eligible to be part of the town.

They want to hire the same attorney who helped James Island form a town to help them with their effort.

Under state law, people who live in parts of the island that are in the City of Charleston are not eligible to join the town.

Charleston County Government released the following statement:

Charleston County guidelines for development and growth are governed by county ordinances and the Comprehensive Plan. The ordinances have density requirements and land use designations. There is a significant public comment component from Planning Commission to County Council. Additionally, the Charleston County Stormwater Division is also involved and helps monitor runoff. As such, Charleston County Stormwater Management Program requires that citizens obtain a Stormwater Permit to perform any land-disturbance activity over 5,000 square feet. These items only apply to the un-incorporated areas of Charleston County.

The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office also released this statement:

Sheriff Cannon would like to put more deputies on Johns Island and the department deploys deputies in areas in the best manner possible based on data and activity.

Copyright 2020 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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