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Development in Francis Marion Forest?


lsgchas

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The last couple of weeks, there have been an interesting series of articles and editorials in the newspaper about the future of Francis Marion National Forest. Like many people, I assumed that Francis Marion was 100% off-limits to surburban development, but that is untrue. There are tens of thousands of privately-held acres in the forest that could conceivably be turned into suburban neighborhoods. Charleston County has zoned much of the land for one structure for every twenty-five acres, which would prevent this from happening. Enter Mount Pleasant.... The Mt. Pleasant Waterworks has started studying the logistics of extending water and sewer lines deep into the forest. This is seen as the first salvo in the coming battle over the forest's development. It'll probably be years before we see the first developer come forward with a concrete proposal, but both sides are trying to get out their message now.

First, Mayor Hallman wrote an editorial in the News & Courier to "set the record straight" about what the Mt. Pleasant Waterworks is doing. The gist of his argument is that there are eight governments or agencies that could control development inside the forest, and that Mount Pleasant is the best choice. He seems vague on whether he would allow suburban development, and he claims that the town council has not yet even discussed it. However, it seems clear that he wants to annex land that is deep inside the boundaries of the forest.

The editorial can be found here: [url="http://www.charleston.net/stories/?newsID=46301

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It seems to me that Charleston County is the logical entity to control growth there... though I was unaware that this type of thing was possible. But if you think about it, it makes sense. There are some towns and existing developemtn in national forests all accross America, so its not 'right' to prevent them from growing.

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:shok: Is it me or do Charleston's suburban city mayors really understand what their cities are supposed to be? Hallman is becoming as bad as Summey, especially if he is even considering developing Francis Marion National Forest. Good grief, it is a National Forest, which means it is supposed to remain as a FOREST! And people complain about Mayor Riley? He has been far more reasonable and understanding with his annexations for his city. Sheesh, I'm almost willing to think that Hallman wants Mt. Pleasant to be the primary city in the area. He's caught Summey's greed disease or something...
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Well, I think Hallman is trying to annex as much available land as possible before Awendaw boxes the town in. I understand that, but Awendaw would probably limit development there whereas Mt. P would have less stringent zoning requirements. I just think that a National Forest is the same as a National Park...it is to be left in its natural environment. Only building access roads or roads to inhibit massive forest fires should be done, IMO. Good grief, I'm saying this and I'm not a liberal environmentalist!

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In a letter printed in the News & Courier, Mayor Riley wrote that he wants to protect Francis Marion Forest, and also all the other rural land outside the Urban Growth Boundary. I'm not sure what he can do to stop Mt. Pleasant from expanding into the forest, but it is encouraging that he's spoken to the mayor of Mt. Pleasant and that both agreed that there should be meetings held to discuss the Forest.

Here's the letter: [url="http://www.charleston.net/stories/?newsID=49555

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Roads should only be built for viewing. Putting out fires is a bad idea because you will end up with the more massive fires like they have out west. Fire is natures vaccum cleaner.

Well, if a fire ever started in Francis Marion, you wouldn't want it to spread into Mt. Pleasant or Awendaw. Fire trucks and fire response teams would need quick access to some areas to contain the fire. The problem out west was that a previous presidential administration prohibited any building of access roads in national forests or parks. This caused fires to get out of control because without additional road access into the forests, the fire teams could not contain the fire. The primary purpose of the roads would be for viewing and accessing other interesting parts of the forest, but they do serve a secondary purpose with fighting fires.

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Great news. It looks like Charleston and Mt. Pleasant want to forge a pact to protect the Forest. The P&C article tells it all:

"...Local leaders are considering a 'blood pact' to stop future annexations, sewer lines and other measures that might encourage development between Mount Pleasant and the Francis Marion National Forest - a rare case of rivals cooperating on a potentially contentious land-use issue. More than 200 people packed Mount Pleasant Town Hall Tuesday night to support efforts to protect this rural area from urban sprawl, and town officials responded by postponing plans that could lead to future annexations...."

The full article can be read [url="http://www.charleston.net/stories/?newsID=50372

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Park your fire trucks to save the structures in Mt Pleaseant and Awendaw (which doesn't have much of anything to protect except that restaurant ;) ). Let the rest of the forest burn itself out.

FMNF is a pine thicket so the pines caught on fire is normal for the pine's lifespan and fertility as well as balancing the ecosystem.

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The article link below gives encouraging news for Francis Marion National Forest. Leaders of 11 cities, towns and utilities of the Charleston metro area gathered Wednesday and unveiled a proposal to slow development on thousands of acres in and around the Francis Marion National Forest. It calls for municipalities to protect 25,000 acres between Mount Pleasant and the Francis Marion by agreeing not to extend water and sewer services to the area. The city leaders also agreed to prohibit any developments with densities higher than the county's zoning plan. This would effectively limit future development to one home per 3 acres near Mt. Pleasant. On land closer to the national forest, building would be limited to one home per 25 acres. The leaders haven't signed the agreement yet, but they have to get permission from their councils and commissions. I think we might can breathe a sigh of relief on this one...though I do think an access highway to I-26 could be built near the forest.

Francis Marion pact unveiled

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The article link below gives encouraging news for Francis Marion National Forest. Leaders of 11 cities, towns and utilities of the Charleston metro area gathered Wednesday and unveiled a proposal to slow development on thousands of acres in and around the Francis Marion National Forest. It calls for municipalities to protect 25,000 acres between Mount Pleasant and the Francis Marion by agreeing not to extend water and sewer services to the area. The city leaders also agreed to prohibit any developments with densities higher than the county's zoning plan. This would effectively limit future development to one home per 3 acres near Mt. Pleasant. On land closer to the national forest, building would be limited to one home per 25 acres. The leaders haven't signed the agreement yet, but they have to get permission from their councils and commissions. I think we might can breathe a sigh of relief on this one...though I do think an access highway to I-26 could be built near the forest.

[url="http://www.charleston.net/stories/?newsID=55111

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This is great news. Hopefully, we'll see more of this sort of regional cooperation. Of course, we got really lucky with this one, because Mayor Summey isn't involved. :P Can you imagine what would happen if North Charleston bordered Francis Marion Forest? Yikes!

:rofl: Exactly! He'd look at it as another way to further expand his new "empire"!

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Mount Pleasant has alredy realized this. They are in the process of planning the future of Johnnie Dodds Blvd, which they invision as being a dense corridor with many mixed use buildings and such along the sides. We have a thread about that somewhere.

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