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July 14, Gullah Cultural Center
The St. James Foundation is seeking to develop a Gullah Cultural Center on James Island.    The proposed location is a nearly 10 acre parcel on Grimball Road. (TAX PARCEL ID: 3340700048.) It is located between Septima P. Clark Corporate academy and James Island Elementary School.

The Foundation hopes to purchase the property using Charleston County Greenbelt funds.    It has applied for a grant from the rural portion of the program.   It has also approached the Town, asking for a $200,000 match from the Town's allocation of Greenbelt funds to help reach the total $900,000 purchase price.  
The Foundation's application will be reviewed by the Greenbelt Board in early August and so if the Town is to the support the project, a decision must be made at the Town Council meeting on Thursday, July 17.

The Gullah Cultural building will take up two of the ten acres on the site.   Most of the grounds will be landscaped and open to the general public.   An interpretative walking trail tracing the history of the Gullah experience will be included on the grounds.   Space will be available for large picnics, school groups and farmers markets.   This open land and trail is very consistent with the Town's strategy for using its share of the Greenbelt funds.    

The building will include an auditorium, conference center, a teaching kitchen and  café.   The Foundation plans for a variety of educational and cultural activities at the Center, including story telling, sale of sea island crafts by local entrepreneurs, and food.

The Gullah Cultural Center will be located in a portion of James Island that was in the Town in the past but is now unincorporated.   The Town hopes that this area can be returned to the Town soon.
 
Troy Strother, of the St. James Foundation, we be at the July Town Council meeting to make a presentation about the project. July 9, Candidate Forum
James Island Messenger Sponsors Town of James Island Candidate Forum
 
July 9, 2014 -- The James Island Messenger (JIM) is sponsoring a debate/candidate forum this coming Wednesday, July 16 for registered candidates in the Town of James Island "Special Election," scheduled for Tuesday, July 29.  

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) has agreed to host the event, to be held at their Marine Resources Research Institute Auditorium, located at 217 Fort Johnson Rd. on James Island.  

The event will begin promptly at 7 p.m. and will last 90-minutes. The forum will include a question-and-answer, alternate format debate, bookended by opening and closing statements from the candidates. 

The highlight of the event will be debate between incumbent Town Mayor Bill Woolsey and challenger Trent Kernodle, a former attorney for the Town as well as the James Island Public Service District.The forum will also feature five of six candidates vying for the four seats on James Island Town Council.  

Following the forum, candidates will be available for further interaction with attendees until 9 p.m.   

(From James Island Messenger Press Release.)

July 7, Thursday Planning Commission Meeting Cancelled



The Thursday, July 10, 2014 Planning Commission meeting has been cancelled. The next regularly scheduled Planning Commission meeting will be on Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 6pm. Please call Town Hall at 795-4141 if you have any questions.


Attorney General Opinion Favorable to Town Tax Credit



   The South Carolina Attorney General's Office provided an official opinion that the Town's proposal to use LOST Property Tax Credit funds to reduce Charleston County taxes is legal.   The Attorney General's Office also said that the Town could seek a declaratory judgment from a court to be sure.

    The Town's proposal is to deposit funds that the Town received from the LOST property tax credit fund with the County Treasurer.  The County Auditor would calculate the property tax credit and apply it to each tax bill in the Town  A municipal tax credit would appear at the top of each tax bill.   This would include tax bills for homes, businesses, cars, and boats.    Taxpayers in the Town would pay less to the County Treasurer by the amount of the credit.   With the amount budgeted now, the result would be a 16% cut for homeowners in the Town.

    If the Town comes to an agreement with Charleston County, then as each tax bill is paid and processed, funds from the Town's deposit would go to Charleston County's general government fund to cover the amount of the credit on the bill.   Charleston County would receive the same amount of revenue as before.
 
   Hopefully, this opinion by the Attorney General's Office will pave the way for the taxpayers in the Town to pay less taxes on the bills going out this Fall.

Bill Woolsey, Mayor
Town of James Island

June 26, Riverland Drive Study - 2nd Public Workshop

Public Workshop Announced for Riverland Drive Study

The BCD Council of Governments announced today that it will be holding a Public Workshop to gather input on a Corridor Management Plan for the Riverland Drive Scenic Byway on James Island.

Riverland Drive was designated a scenic byway by the South Carolina Scenic Highways Committee in 1988.   The BCD Council of Governments is leading a community-based initiative to prepare a Corridor Management Plan for the Riverland Drive Scenic Byway.  A Corridor Management Plan (CMP) is a written plan developed by the surrounding community that sets forth its goals, vision, and strategies for preserving and promoting a scenic byway in the future.   

Specifically, the Riverland Corridor Management Plan (CMP) will guide how to preserve, protect, and enhance the byway’s character and assets that define the corridor.  It will address issues such as the preserving natural and historic resources, promoting sustainable growth practices, roadway safety, and expanding recreational opportunities.  The study is being funded through a grant from the Federal Highway Administration Scenic Byways Program.

The second of these public workshops will be held on Thursday, June 26th from 5:30-7:00 PM at Bethel AME Church, located at 1827 Central Park Road on James Island.  Residents and property owners are encouraged to attend the public meeting to discuss and provide input on a guiding vision statement, future goals, and strategies needed to preserve and enhance the corridor over the next ten to fifteen years.

Contact Nick Pergakes, BCDCOG Senior Planner, at (843) 529-0400 ext. 209, or at nickp@bcdcog.com for more information



Public Hearing on the Town's Tree Fund



The Town of James Island is holding a public hearing on the Town's Tree Fund.   It is an amendment to the Town's Zoning and Subdivision Regulation Ordinance.   The proposed amendment will allow the funds to be used for beautification on James Island.

Most of our Town's children attend schools such as Stiles Point, Harborview, and James Island Elementary.   Stiles Point and Harborview are under City of Charleston jurisdiction and James Island Elementary is in unincorporated Charleston County.   The Assistant Principal of James Island Middle asked the Town if we could donate some trees.  While many Town children attend the school and it is near the center of our Town, it is under City jurisdiction.    James Island Charter High School is also under City jurisdiction.  Only Fort Johnson Middle is in the Town.  (And we have offered to donate trees to Fort Johnson Middle.)  By amending the ordinance to remove the restriction that the funds must be used in the Town, it will be possible to plant trees at our Island schools. 

Depending on the location, beautification can be best accomplished by planting a mixture of trees and shrubs.    The Town is currently looking at beautification of the intersection of Dills Bluff and Camp.   While we may be able to plant some trees, other types of shrubs or flowers would be nice as well.

The Town's Dock Street Park perhaps could use an additional tree, but it is mostly well shaded.   However, some flowering shrubs would improve the park.   Also, many of the properties that the Town has reviewed for a new park are heavily forested.   While adding some specimen trees would be nice, adding flowering shrubs and other plants would help enhance a new park.

It has always been Town policy to bring proposals for Town action to Council for approval.   Usually, it is presented in the form of a  resolution.    This change in our ordinance will provide the Town staff and Council with flexibility in spending monies from the Tree Fund on beautification on James Island.

Bill Woolsey, Mayor
Town of James Island
 

James Island Town Hall

1238-B Camp Road

P.O. Box 12240

James Island, SC 29412

Office: (843) 795-4141

Fax: (843) 795-4878

Email: info@jamesislandsc.us

Webmaster: Bill Woolsey

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