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JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – Dozens of acres of land surrounding the Angel Oak Tree on Johns Island will be used for a preserve in the works.According to the Lowcountry Land Trust, the design for the Angel Oak Preserve is nearly complete, but they’re hoping to gather more public input before finalizing the plans.“A lot of what we’ve been doing is community outreach to make sure that this is a project that really benefits the Johns Island and greater Charleston community,” said Meg O’Halloran, ...
JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – Dozens of acres of land surrounding the Angel Oak Tree on Johns Island will be used for a preserve in the works.
According to the Lowcountry Land Trust, the design for the Angel Oak Preserve is nearly complete, but they’re hoping to gather more public input before finalizing the plans.
“A lot of what we’ve been doing is community outreach to make sure that this is a project that really benefits the Johns Island and greater Charleston community,” said Meg O’Halloran, the Chief Advancement Officer for Lowcountry Land Trust.
According to O’Halloran, a majority if the 44-acre preserve will be a public green space which will include boardwalks, trails and a nature play area for children.
“As we were doing our community outreach, we also heard from a lot of children that they really just wish they could climb the tree. And so, one of my favorite pieces of the Angel Oak Preserve is this nature play area, a natural playground where they can climb and they can explore and get their wiggles out,” O’Halloran explained.
She said part of the project will consist of moving parking away from the tree’s root system and closer to Bohicket Road.
“The parking lot itself isn’t what you would think of its going to be permeable surfaces designed with the land, mitigating stormwater runoff so that its something that really is from the land while still offering that accessibility,” O’Halloran said.
Depending on permitting, Lowcountry Land Trust anticipates they will break ground on the project within the next two years.
According to the City of Charleston, the Angel Oak Tree is estimated to be 300-400 years old and draws in around 400,000 visitors per year.
“We heard that it was a one-of-a-kind tree and just an amazing example of God’s creation. Can’t believe it’s that old,” said Sandy Dallmann, who travelled from Tennessee to visit Angel Oak Park.
The organization is asking the public to participate in an online survey to give input on the current design plans.
To view the schedule for upcoming community outreach events, click here.
Hamlet Maybank to be built on Johns Island, one of the fastest-growing submarkets in the MSAVIENNA, Va., December 21, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--...
Hamlet Maybank to be built on Johns Island, one of the fastest-growing submarkets in the MSA
VIENNA, Va., December 21, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Middleburg Communities ("Middleburg") today announced it has closed and plans to commence construction on a 211-unit single family housing community on an approximately 46-acre land parcel in Johns Island, South Carolina, one of the fastest-growing submarkets in the Charleston Metropolitan Statistical Area. Middleburg plans to leverage its in-house construction capabilities to transform the land into a vibrant neighborhood community that will offer individuals and families the opportunity to partake in the benefits of single-family living without the hassle of property maintenance and upkeep. The community, to be known as Hamlet Maybank, is a joint venture between Middleburg and Parse Capital (a subsidiary of The Wolff Company).
Hamlet Maybank will be a low-density multifamily development that will feature a mix of detached cottages, duplexes and townhomes with floorplans designed to cater to today’s active lifestyles. Middleburg plans to commence construction in early-2023, with units coming online beginning mid-2024. All homes in the community will feature best-in-class amenities with environmentally friendly designs and private backyards that will allow residents the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors – a luxury that is unavailable in most traditional multifamily developments.
"Hamlet Maybank promises to deliver an exceptional single-family living experience in the heart of one of America’s most active submarkets," said Selim Tay-Agbozo, President of Middleburg Development. "The value proposition our Hamlet brand offers is unmatched – all of the comforts of home ownership with the ease and flexibility of renting and no down payment required – and that is why we are experiencing overwhelmingly strong demand in the other high-growth Southeastern markets where we are developing this prototype. We have no doubt we will experience similar interest at Hamlet Maybank, especially as more and more individuals choose to relocate to hotspots like Charleston and seek out traditional neighborhood environments to raise families."
In addition to several high-quality interior features that Hamlet Maybank will offer, including spacious kitchens with islands, granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances, Bluetooth keyless entry, Nest thermostats and large walk-in closets, the community will also offer its residents a number of resort-style amenities, such as a freestanding clubhouse and pool, walking paths, tree-lined streets and professional landscaping. Floorplans will range in size from 785 to 1,694 square feet, with monthly rents starting at $1,930.
The proposed site of Hamlet Maybank, located at 2029 Harlow Way in Charleston, sits just 20 minutes from Downtown, more than 68,000 jobs and a number of the area’s main attractions, including beaches, golf courses, restaurants and nightlife. What’s more, given its natural beauty, welcoming lifestyle and economic development, Johns Island has experienced a 50 percent increase in population growth over the past 12 years and is projected to continue being a preferred destination for people of all ages.
Financing for Hamlet Maybank was provided by First National Bank.
About Middleburg Communities Middleburg is a leading investment firm maximizing value through a fully integrated approach to the acquisition, development, construction and operations of high-quality attainable rental housing. Since 2004, Middleburg has acquired and developed more than 22,000 apartment units, executing over $3 billion in transactions. The Middleburg team shares a vision for greater value creation through community impact. The firm’s success is rooted in a genuine desire to serve its local communities in thoughtful and holistic ways. Middleburg embraces people, property, and partnerships to enhance the lives of others, contribute positively to its neighborhoods and maximize real returns for partners. For more information, please visit www.middleburgcommunities.com.
About Parse Capital Parse Capital, a subsidiary of The Wolff Company, is a provider of joint-venture and preferred equity alongside sponsors for the development, recapitalization, and acquisition of residential communities within the United States. Since 2013, Parse has made over 75 investments for a total of $1.2 billion in equity deployed. The Wolff Company is a fully-integrated real estate firm that traces its legacy back to 1949. Wolff focuses its investment activity within the residential sector and has acquired or developed over 50,000 residential units since inception. For more information, please visit Parse at www.parsecap.com and The Wolff Company at www.awolff.com.
View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20221221005318/en/
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Hunter Biden, who is under federal investigation for possible tax and foreign lobbying violations, listed his father’s Delaware address as his own residence, records show.Emails reviewed and verified by Fox News Digital show the younger Biden listed his father’s Wilmington, Delaware address as his own permanent resi...
Hunter Biden, who is under federal investigation for possible tax and foreign lobbying violations, listed his father’s Delaware address as his own residence, records show.
Emails reviewed and verified by Fox News Digital show the younger Biden listed his father’s Wilmington, Delaware address as his own permanent residence for his credit card and Apple account in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
An Apple receipt addressed to Hunter Biden. The email and address have been redacted by Fox News Digital for privacy. (Fox News Digital)
Separately, New York Post reporter Miranda Devine, author of the book “Laptop From Hell,” shared a Twitter post showing a background screening document in which Hunter Biden also listed his father’s Delaware address as his own.
The White House revealed this week that classified documents were discovered at the Washington, D.C. office for Biden’s think tank, the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, in early November.
President Biden waves alongside his son Hunter Biden after attending mass at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Johns Island, South Carolina, on Aug. 13, 2022. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)
On Wednesday, news broke that another trove of classified documents from Biden’s time as vice president had been discovered. It was revealed Thursday that the second batch of documents was found in the president’s garage in Wilmington, Delaware.
Later Thursday, Fox News’ White House Correspondent Peter Doocy chastised President Biden for mishandling the documents.
“Classified documents next to your Corvette? What were you thinking?” Doocy asked.
“I’m going to get the chance to speak on all of this, God willing it’ll be soon, but I said earlier this week – and by the way, my Corvette is in a locked garage. It’s not like it’s sitting out in the street,” Biden responded.
“So the documents were in a locked garage,” Doocy prompted.
“Yes, as well as my Corvette. But as I said earlier this week, people know I take classified documents and classified material seriously,” Biden said. “I also said we’re cooperating fully and completely with the Justice Department’s review.”
Joe Biden smiles from the front seat of his Corvette Stingray in a 2020 campaign video push to revitalize the American auto industry. (Joe Biden 2020)
As the scandal over the classified documents erupted, a 2016 episode of CNBN’s “Jay Leno’s Garage,” featuring then-Vice President Joe Biden, recirculated online.
In the episode, Biden tells Leno that his two sons Beau – who passed away in 2015 – and Hunter had the engine of their father’s 1967 Corvette rebuilt as a Christmas president.
Fox News Digital has reached out to the White House and Hunter Biden’s legal team for comment. They have not responded.
President Biden acknowledged Thursday morning that a document with classified markings from his time as vice president was found in his personal library, along with other classified documents found in his garage. Attorney General Merrick Garland said Biden’s lawyers informed the Justice Department Thursday morning of the discovery of a classified document at Biden’s home, after FBI agents first retrieved other documents from the garage in December.
It was disclosed only on Monday that sensitive documents were found at the office of his former institute, the Biden Penn Center in Washington on Nov. 2, just days before the midterm elections.
Fox News’ Cameron Cawthorne, Anders Hagstrom and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Nearly 200 historic trees on Johns Island were on the chopping block at a Charleston Board of Zoning Appeals meeting Dec. 7, and the debate surrounding their removal is stirring up questions about preserving the island’s natural habitat while planning for booming population growth at the city’s outer edges.Developers requested permission to cut down 193 “grand” trees across two developments in cases heard before the board, which reviews projects that need special exceptions to city ordinances.The grand c...
Nearly 200 historic trees on Johns Island were on the chopping block at a Charleston Board of Zoning Appeals meeting Dec. 7, and the debate surrounding their removal is stirring up questions about preserving the island’s natural habitat while planning for booming population growth at the city’s outer edges.
Developers requested permission to cut down 193 “grand” trees across two developments in cases heard before the board, which reviews projects that need special exceptions to city ordinances.
The grand classification means the trees are more than 24 inches in diameter, likely indicating that they are well over 100 years old. As a result, they are protected by city ordinance. Not only are the trees considered an aesthetic trademark of the once entirely rural island but they are also a key component of the area’s ecosystem and a natural flood prevention tool.
“The trees help us for resilience, absorbing water, supplying shade and wildlife habitat,” John Zlogar, chair of the community group Johns Island Task Force, told The Post and Courier. He is one of nearly 30 residents who submitted comments to the zoning board in favor of saving as many trees as possible amid development.
The board ultimately approved both tree removal plans with some caveats.
Developers of the first project, a 71-home planned community near Fenwick Hall Plantation, requested permission to cut down 21 trees. The zoning appeals board reduced that to 15. They also stipulated that the developers of the property must hire an arborist to create a protection plan for the remaining trees and plant 151 new native trees with at least a 2½-inch diameter.
The developers argued that after having an arborist evaluate the trees on the property, the ones slated for removal were already in poor health.
“We designed the proposed concept plan which ultimately preserves 36 grand trees and impacts grand trees only with a health grade ‘D’ or lower,” wrote Jenna Nelson in a letter to the zoning board. Nelson leads the development’s engineering team, Bowman Consulting Group.
If those trees fell naturally, however, they would have returned organic matter to the ecosystem, promoting other forms of plant life that provide food for animals and insects, said Philip Dustan, an ecology professor at the College of Charleston.
“When (the tree) falls down. it slowly rots and releases its nutrients,” he said.
Tree removals at the second project on Johns Island, called Wooddale, were also approved by the board. Instead of removing 172 trees as originally requested, the developers revised the plan to remove 124. They must also develop a protection plan for the remaining trees and plant about 500 native 2½-inch or wider trees. They also have plans to establish a conservation easement along the southern portion of the property, meaning it will be protected from development moving forward.
“Multiple layout alternatives have been explored by following the natural contours of the site by placing most of the density in the highest area to minimize the cut and fill needed as well as minimize the tree and environmental impacts,” wrote Jason Hutchinson, an engineer for the development with firm Thomas & Hutton.
The Wooddale project has been in the works since 2013 because of a lawsuit that hinged on disagreements between the city and the developer about how to zone the development. As proposed, it includes single-family homes, offices, an assisted-living facility and other amenities, according to site plans. Because it is south of the island’s urban growth boundary, it is subject to stricter limitations than the northern tip of the island. The boundary was established decades ago as a way to preserve the island’s rural origins.
The Woodale tract sits not too far away from Charleston Executive Airport where conservationists secured a win earlier this year. The Charleston County Aviation Authority signed off on a deal to place just under 100 acres in a legally binding conservation easement. An agreement with Lowcountry Land Trust will keep 94 acres from ever being developed there.
As growth continues within the boundary’s limits, some residents are trying to advocate for developments with as little ecological impact as possible on the southern side of the boundary line.
Dustan, who lives near Wooddale, is not pleased with the upcoming development. The most ecologically sensitive solution, he said, would be to build elevated homes on pilings and keep all the existing trees intact.
By removing the native trees, the surrounding area is robbed of parts of a centuries-old root network, which can affect the health of surrounding trees.
“A lot of the trees that you see are actually related to each other,” he said.
Although the development follows the city’s storm water standards, Dustan is concerned that runoff created by the new development will overflow nearby Burden Creek during major ran events.
After hurricane Ian came through in September, water was about a foot below breaching the banks of the creek, he said.
“The curious thing is ... if we keep building like this, we might start flooding the new communities, too,” he said.
Johns Island is seeing a massive influx of growth in ways that is not possible in more developed areas of the city. As a result, the island is seeing a patchwork of new developments separated by stretches of farmland and forests. Longtime residents want to see the city use modern planning tools to lessen the impact of new development on the environment and flooding.
“The area inside the urban growth boundary is only 20 percent of the island, let’s contain the growth in that 20 percent to make sure it’s smart,” Zlogar said.
A citywide water plan, which is currently in the works, will look at the city as a whole to see what types of flood mitigation are needed most and where they would have the most impact. Instead of tackling flood concerns on a project-by-project basis, the city is looking at ways to stop development that increases flooding and identify which flood projects need to be prioritized first.
Instead of trying to drain water as quickly as possible, the city’s main strategy is shifting toward effectively storing floodwater, such as in detention basins, and letting it slowly disperse. One advantage of this approach is that it helps prevent a sinking effect called subsidence. Shifting ground levels due to the movement of groundwater threaten buildings’ foundations and worsen flood risk. Forrest are a natural asset in this type of flood prevention, Dustan said.
“The best way to solve a problem is preventing it from happening in the first place,” he said.
The water plan will be worked into a new citywide zoning ordinance that Charleston officials are also currently drafting.
In the new version, officials want the zoning maps — the guide for what can get built where — to be based on elevation. High ground near major roadways will be fair game for high-density development, in most cases. Low-lying areas and wetlands will be restricted to little or no use at all. The ground rules for development will vary in each area of town. It’s an opportunity to set the framework for how Johns Island can grow in a sustainable way.
As these changes come down the pipeline, Johns Island residents will also have a new advocate in City Hall.
From 2010 to 2020, census data shows the island’s population within Charleston city limits doubled from nearly 5,300 residents to almost 12,000. As a result, in recently approved City Council redistricting maps, Johns Island will get its own council member for the first time in 2024.
How the city approaches tree preservation will need to be tailored to Johns Island, too, Zlogar said. The existing tree ordinance was designed with more developed areas of the city, such as the peninsula, in mind. There, developers are typically requesting to remove one or two trees in an already built-out neighborhood. But on Johns Island, developers are purchasing lots with upwards of 100 acres of land.
“We have a tree ordinance but to my knowledge there is no forest ordinance and that is the problem,” Zlogar said.
Every tree removed affects the overall ecosystem of a forest. And replanting smaller trees, even of the same variety, doesn’t have the same ecological benefit.
“It’s the equivalent of tearing down an apartment building and putting up a woodshed,” he said.
The other concern from Dustan and other community members is that the tree ordinance does not take a holistic view of the island. Saving contiguous swaths of forest is more effective strategy than saving groups of trees on a lot-by-lot basis. Having interrupted clusters of forest reduces storm water absorption and splits up wildlife habitats as well.
“We’re not seeing the forest for the trees,” Dustan said.
Reach Emma Whalen at 843-708-5837. Follow her on Twitter @_emma_whalen.
After a decade of booming population growth, Johns Island may get its own representative on Charleston City Council.But making that change could cost a sitting council member their seat.The island is now in District 5, which also spans much of outer West Ashley. It is represented by Councilman Karl Brady, who lives in West Ashley.Two newly proposed City Council district maps...
After a decade of booming population growth, Johns Island may get its own representative on Charleston City Council.
But making that change could cost a sitting council member their seat.
The island is now in District 5, which also spans much of outer West Ashley. It is represented by Councilman Karl Brady, who lives in West Ashley.
Two newly proposed City Council district maps make Johns Island its own district without any extension into West Ashley. That means the City Council member to represent it would have to live on Johns Island.
“There is no one on council right now that drives our roads every day, sends their kids to school here, works here or lives here,” said John Zlogar, chairman of the Johns Island Task Force.
The group was established in 2013 to bring together residents and local officials to address Johns Island-specific issues.
While Zlogar said he has no issue with Brady, he said he would like to have a council member who can put their sole focus on the island.
“We will feel like we have someone that has our voice,” he said.
The island, which is partially within the city of Charleston and partially within unincorporated Charleston County, has deep roots in agriculture and the city’s Black history. Several Black family farms have run their businesses on the island since Reconstruction, when formerly enslaved laborers took over former plantations.
An “urban growth boundary,” established across the island limits where agricultural land must be protected and where development is allowed. Most of the city’s side of the island is located within the urban growth boundary and as a result has seen a massive influx of residents looking for a lower cost of living than the city’s core. Between 2010 and 2020, District 5, the district with Johns Island and West Ashley, grew a staggering 154 percent.
Charleston Chief Innovation Officer Tracy McKee has led the city through the redistricting process three times in her career. Factoring in population growth between 2010 and 2020, McKee and city staff have been in the process of redrawing the council district boundaries for months.
“Four council members live on the peninsula, but we’ve had more growth in Berkeley County on Daniel Island and on Johns Island,” McKee said.
Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau releases new population and demographic data that governments use to redraw voting districts. In 2020, it was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
City Council voted last summer to delay redistricting until after the fall 2021 election.
Officials try to balance the population size of each district as well as their geographic spread. In Charleston, for example, it would be impractical to include Daniel Island and outer West Ashley in the same district.
Initially, city staff put out one proposal in July. That plan kept all sitting council members within their current districts. None of them were at risk of losing their seat or having to run against each other to keep their seat. But the proposal split Johns island into three districts that included other areas of the city as well.
The map was met with some criticism for the wide span of geography each district covered. Districts were stretched from the peninsula far into West Ashley and District 11, covered parts of West Ashley, James Island and Johns Island.
The League of Women Voters published a commentary in The Post and Courier calling for more compact districts.
“Drawing districts to protect incumbents means the maps defy logic in many places. James Island remains divided into three different districts, one with very dubious contiguity as it crosses briefly over West Ashley and onto the peninsula. Johns Island, now all in District 5, will be divided into three different districts, diluting the voices of those residents,” the league wrote.
The league now supports the new proposals, mainly because the districts don’t stretch as far across the city.
“They keep communities together. These really prioritize citizen interests,” said Leslie Skardon, the director of advocacy for the League of Women Voters.
On Aug. 28, city staff unveiled two alternative maps that took some of that feedback into consideration. The two new maps, referred to as 1A and 1B, are almost identical except for their effects on two current peninsula districts.
Both maps make Johns Island its own district.
To create the Johns Island district, city staff proposed two options. They can move District 3 or District 6 off of the West Side of the peninsula to only cover West Ashley. If District 3 moves off, District 6 will absorb the portion of the West Side that is currently in District 3.
Because District 3 Councilman Jason Sakran lives on the peninsula, he would be drawn out of his district. He would have to run for District 6 against fellow Councilman William Dudley Gregorie. But that seat is not up for election until 2025. In the meantime, depending on when council decides to make the maps effective, a special election would determine who represents the new West Ashley-only version of District 3.
The other scenario would be that District 6 would move off of its portion of the West Side of the peninsula. In that case, Gregorie, who lives also in the West Side, would be drawn into Councilman Sakran’s District 3. Because District 3 is up for election in 2023, the two would face off sooner.
Sakran said he would be OK with running against Gregorie in 2023, but he is most favorable of the original map that keeps all council members in their respective districts.
“You are overhauling peoples’ elected representatives to the tune of 40 percent of the city’s population,” Sakran said of the new proposals.
According to the city, if the original proposal is accepted, about 30 percent of the city’s population will end up in new council districts. If either of the alternatives are chosen, that number will move up to 39 percent.
Another factor in the process is the establishment of minority-majority districts. Districts 4 and 7 on the all three map proposals are majority-minority districts. They cover the upper peninsula and part of West Ashley, respectively. When the maps were last redrawn in 2010, the city went from having five majority-minority districts to three. Now the city is guaranteed to have two. As demographics shift, it’s difficult to group minority voters together and ensure their voice is in the majority in any part of the city, McKee said.
City Council will review the map proposals at its Sept. 13 meeting. No action will be taken. A public hearing will be held in the fall. Residents can view the maps and leave comments online the city’s redistricting “Open Town Hall” webpage at www.charleston-sc.gov/Redistricting2020. Email comments are accepted at email@example.com.
Reach Emma Whalen at 843-708-5837. Follow her on Twitter @_emma_whalen.