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James Island Reincorporation

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The James Island saga continues. There is some interesting stuff aobut the technicalities of creating a city. If their new legislation goes thoroguh we could possible see more cities poppin up in SC. Thats how they come accross anyway. I think that if they can find another area that wants to do the same thing, then they could incorporate and stay that way. I will be interesting to see how this round plays out.

Will James Island rise like a phoenix?

BY BRIAN HICKS

Of The Post and Courier Staff

All that remains of the town of James Island these days is an answering machine with a hopeful message on it from "mayor-in-exile" Mary Clark.

"We are currently working on a third incorporation," Clark says in the phone greeting, a reference to new legislation working its way through the Statehouse.

If two bills in the Senate become law, the town could once again rise from the ashes.

And if that happens, the city of Charleston promises to challenge the decision -- once again.

Round 3 of James Island versus Charleston will play out in the Statehouse this coming week, with bills up for debate that would ease restrictions on new cities.

One bill would abolish the restriction on forming a town within five miles of another, and another would lower the number of people required to form a town and reconfigure laws that allow town borders to cross marshes, state roads and other public property.

On two separate occasions, the state Supreme Court has determined that the laws used to incorporate James Island were flawed and illegal. Twice, the town has been shut down, most recently this past July.

Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell, sponsor of this new legislation, says lawyers believe they now have legislation with statewide application that will withstand court challenges.

The laws don't allow for "paper towns," McConnell says, but ease restrictions that have all but eliminated self-determination.

"The people have a right to vote, that's all this is about," McConnell, R-Charleston, says.

Clark says the state needs to clear up incorporation laws dating back to the 1970s which required towns to have 12,000 people and be farther than five miles from existing cities. These bills erase the distance requirements and lower the required number of people to 7,000.

The legislation requires towns to have police departments, fire halls, and recreation facilities, or at the very least to contract for them: the idea being that an area can't form a town to block annexation.

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley has requested public hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee on the bills, believing senators need to hear public concerns.

"Looking to the future, South Carolina needs to commit its resources and energy to orderly growth," Riley says. "A policy that fragments communities is very bad."

The mayor says if the legislation passes and James Island incorporates for a third time, Charleston will again challenge the law. Riley says the bills are still written as special legislation, which is unconstitutional. McConnell says his bills are general application laws, and would apply to dozens of communities around the state.

Clark says if this Hatfield-and-McCoy fight ends up in court again, she'll fight and then go back to the Legislature for a new law a fourth time.

"I don't care if we have to do it five, six or 10 times," Clark says. "This is not about Mary Clark and Joe Riley. This is about American freedom."

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Well, this is my first post, so I want to see what other people think about James Island. I believe wholeheartedly that James Island is a part of the city of Charleston. I never thought it was separate from the city or another town. It is ridiculous to further splice and divide people, and add another bureaucracy to further complicate development and growth of Charleston.

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Well, this is my first post, so I want to see what other people think about James Island.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Welcome to the Forum. We need more Charleston representaton here. Even though, you live in Cola now, it's a start.

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Well, this is my first post, so I want to see what other people think about James Island. I believe wholeheartedly that James Island is a part of the city of Charleston. I never thought it was separate from the city or another town. It is ridiculous to further splice and divide people, and add another bureaucracy to further complicate development and growth of Charleston.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I've been there. If I didn't know that there were these disputes going on, I wouldn't know that the area was separate from Charleston.

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If I didn't know that there were these disputes going on, I wouldn't know that the area was separate from Charleston.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Actually, THAT is the misconception! Most of James Island is already annexed into the city of Charleston. The island just has small pockets surrounded by city borders of unincorporated land. The residents have misinterpreted the city as being responsible for the development of the rural land there, but the reality is that many neighborhoods were built there BEFORE Charleston annexed any land.

The barrier island is actually a bedroom community for Charleston. It is a fully integrated part of the city because it has such a history with it. Some of the 1st Civil War shots were fired from a battery on the island to Fort Sumter. There is McLeod Plantation, the county park, the Charleston Country Club, and the city golf course all located on James Island.

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Overlapping cities drive up costs, stifle development

IN A STATE WHERE tourism is king, the crown jewel is Charleston, known nationally and internationally for its hospitality and charm. But its economic power doesn’t stop with tourism. State officials say the city was a major selling point last year when they landed their first big fish in years, persuading Vaught-Alenia to bring a $560 million aircraft fuselage plant, and 645 high-paying jobs, to South Carolina.

So you’d think the Legislature would do whatever it could to make sure such an important player in our state’s economy stays healthy. At the least, you’d think lawmakers would make sure they didn’t do anything to hinder Charleston’s ability to remain a vital city.

You’d be wrong. Earlier this month, the Senate passed a bill that would cut off one of the city’s avenues for growth, leaving the city’s residents to pay for services that benefit the burgeoning number of nearby non-residents who don’t pay for them. That, in turn, would hinder the city’s ability to preserve those qualities that make it such an attraction. And unlike previous efforts (all struck down by the Supreme Court), this bill could strangle other cities and towns across the state as well.

At issue is the latest attempt by some residents of James Island to create an “anti-city” that would prevent Charleston from annexing the part of the island that isn’t already part of the city. Current law, designed to cut down on expensive duplication, doesn’t allow a new city to form within five miles of an existing one unless the local population is at least 15,000, more than double what James Island can muster.

The bill would cut the population requirement to 7,000. And to make sure James Island can get to 7,000, it allows these new cities to essentially leapfrog over any government-owned roads, waterways or other land inside an already-existing city.

This proposal makes Columbia’s shoestring annexation of Columbiana mall look like a reasonable, orderly expansion. Imagine the town of Forest Acres leapfrogging across Fort Jackson — which is part of the city of Columbia — and taking in Lower Richland, all the way over to Eastover, and you get an idea of how this could work. It turns the notion of what a “city” is on its head.

That may be fine with the folks on James Island, who want no part of any city, but it’s not fine public policy.

This year’s legislation does have one redeeming quality, which is a drastic improvement from previous efforts: It prevents areas from incorporating unless they provide police protection and at least three other municipal services, such as solid waste collection, zoning, building code enforcement and parks and recreation. But the bill creates a legislative committee to sit in judgment of the proposed municipalities, as if legislators don’t already do far too much interfering with how local elected officials run their localities.

We would love to see the state outlaw the anti-cities, which exist in name only. They limit real cities’ ability to match up their boundaries to the urbanized populations that benefit from their services, and they also siphon off state “aid to subdivision” funds and county local option sales tax funds, which are supposed to go to actual cities to help them provide services to residents. But if the only way to accomplish that is to also make it easier to balkanize our state with redundant little cities, then it’s not worth the price. We need to help make our existing cities stronger, not strangle them with redundant new entities.

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That was an editorial from The State from today (2/22/05)

I agree with this person, we should make the central cities stronger, not weaker. It will be interesting to see how if cities start expanding more quickly in the next few years since they can skip over land.

Is it that they can skip over already annexed land, or just skip parcels altogether?

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That was an editorial from The State from today (2/22/05)

I agree with this person, we should make the central cities stronger, not weaker. It will be interesting to see how if cities start expanding more quickly in the next few years since they can skip over land.

Is it that they can skip over already annexed land, or just skip parcels altogether?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree as well. Central cities need to be the strongest link with control of development of their areas. Look at Jacksonville. That area is experiencing a Renaissance of development with little opposition. It is also an area with an excellent economy and with a great real estate market that is not insanely inflated.

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Is it that they can skip over already annexed land, or just skip parcels altogether?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The issue with the James Island situation is that originally, the newly formed "anti-city" (I LOVE that name for it, because that's exactly what it is!) was a hodgepodge area that skipped over marshes that the city annexed, skipped over roads that the city annexed, and yes, also skipped over parcels of legitimate city land that the city annexed. There is another thread I saw in here that showed the map of what the town would look like. It is really ridiculous.

Mary Clark, the dissolved town's founder and mayor, constantly complains about how the city only annexes parts of James Island to fuel its tax base, without providing any services. Her redneck point of view (I apologize if that offends anyone) basically compares Charleston to Nazi Germany...she says that the city is stifling the will of the people.

What she WON'T tell you is how they organized the election of the town to take place on a date other than November 3, when most voters would take the time to vote on it. Also, the town was voted on by a total of 3,000 voters with 2,000 voting for it and 1,000 voting against it. Keep in mind that the town would have included 20,000 residents if approved...not exactly a mandate! The referendum also did not have another option that Clark, of course, would not even allow: an option to be annexed into the city of Charleston before the town incorporated. Many people that are not in the city want to be annexed by Charleston, but their property is not next to city limits. In order for Charleston to annex a parcel, the land has to be contiguous to the city area. ANOTHER fact that Clark won't tell you is that many people on James Island that are non-city residents have access to many parks built by the city, a pool recreation complex run and built by Charleston, a tennis court park, city soccer fields, and the city's municipal golf course.

If it wasn't for the city, James Island would be nothing but an overrun neighborhood with no recreation services, no parks, and no WATER service! It is staggering that these people have nothing but time on their hands to further divide Charleston.

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Well, check out this s--t! :angry:

Here we go again...

I tell you, my last post on this thread still remains true to this situation, and I really hate being right. I wish I could be wrong about political developments going on down there. The cool thing about the P & C article is that it does provide both sides of the argument in the incorporation effort of James Island and the city if Charleston's reasons for James Island not to incorporate.

This new preparation to incorporate is stemming from our stupid SC leaders' bill which allowed for new towns to be created. It was approved by our governor, but he did have different reasoning for approving it. Well, different reasoning or not, it is ridiculous to support this bill. This will not help existing cities in this state...why the hell do we need additional bureaucracies to get more "slices of the budget pie"????!? Anyway, here's the link for the article:

James Islanders ready for new fight, bill allowing third bid to incorporate becomes law

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The fact that this Town will be a patchwork is what bothers me the most. The Town can't even create a small circle or square like most towns do. How is a town to control zoning and make the area livable when there isn't a contiguous tract of land in it? The intent of this town is quite obvious, and I don't like it.

Here is a map of the last Town of James Island.

I suspect this third rendition will be similar:

cityJamesIslandSCtownlimits.gif

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Here's the part of the article that sent up red flags for me:

"<The new bill> also allows unconnected properties to be part of the same town if they are separated only by certain public lands or waters.

The latter provision is tailor-made for James Island, where wetlands and annexations by Charleston have divided the island's unincorporated areas."

What the hell? Municipalities and wanna-be municipalities get to tailor-make laws now? These moronic, idiotic neanderthals (SC politicians) should be drawn and quartered. As it was said in another article, it wasn't even considered how this bill would affect the rest of SC.

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This is just an addition to what all of you have said. When you think about it, it is tremendously hypocritical to allow this bill for towns to form and allow "leapfrogging" across areas already in another city. Existing cities can't do that!

In order for existing cities to annex additional property, their city limits have to be contiguous to the property, but for new towns to do it, they can just form and NOT be contiguous to the properties. Sheer hypocrisy at its best.

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This is just an addition to what all of you have said. When you think about it, it is tremendously hypocritical to allow this bill for towns to form and allow "leapfrogging" across areas already in another city. Existing cities can't do that!

In order for existing cities to annex additional property, their city limits have to be contiguous to the property, but for new towns to do it, they can just form and NOT be contiguous to the properties. Sheer hypocrisy at its best.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I couldn't agree more. Kind of flies in the face of the concept of a "city". or worse a "town".

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This part of the article was funny, yet it shows how strongly each side feels about the issue:

Despite Riley's belief that any incorporation would fail, Charleston has been working hard to convince James Islanders to join the city before a new town could form. The city has sent letters to those eligible for annexation, made phone calls, and Riley has made in-person visits in some cases.

So far, all of the annexations have been voluntary, involving property owners whose land adjoins the city. Clark calls them patsies, or worse.

"This is a war, and every war has traitors," she said.

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Mary Clark, former mayor of James Island, is a trip y'all!

She is actually suing the city of Charleston for "injuries" sustained tripping over a sidewalk on Broad Street TWO YEARS AGO. Of course she states that none of this is politically motivated, but that she had to file before the two-year statute of limitations ran out. But she names Charleston mayor Joe Riley as well as entire City Council as defendants and gives the former Town of James Island town hall address as her return address. Read all about it here.

And she had the gall to say that CHARLESTON was desparate in attempting to annex as much of James Island as possible, but she pulls something like THIS? Gimme a break.... :rolleyes::blink:

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Mary Clark, former mayor of James Island, is a trip y'all!

She is actually suing the city of Charleston for "injuries" sustained tripping over a sidewalk on Broad Street TWO YEARS AGO. Of course she states that none of this is politically motivated, but that she had to file before the two-year statute of limitations ran out. But she names Charleston mayor Joe Riley as well as entire City Council as defendants and gives the former Town of James Island town hall address as her return address. Read all about it [url="http://www.charleston.net/stories/Default.aspx?newsID=30704

Edited by randy1

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Ummmmm, I'm Krazeeboi....LOL.

But yeah, from the picture I saw of her, I think she could've easily been a stunt double for Norman Bates' mother.

In the excerpt I posted earlier from another article in the P&C, she calls this a "war" and says that "every war has traitors." This woman is OFF. If James Island does reincorporate (and I hope not), I would at least hope that the citizens would have enough sense to vote someone else in as mayor. And it IS special legislation, and those fools at the statehouse actually PASSED the idiotic law and even confessed that they didn't think about how it would affect the rest of the state since, in reality, only James Island was in view. What Neanderthals!

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