A proposal failed Wednesday that would have deleted Mount Pleasant’s long-time rules that prohibit big box stores larger than 70,000 square feet from locating on parcels of land smaller than 50 acres.
The measure before the town’s planning commission was just an effort to clean up conflicting ordinances on the town’s books. The planning commission and town council voted in July 2011 to delete the size limits, but an oversight left the prohibition in one part of the town’s code.
But on Wednesday, residents stated firmly that they wanted the prohibition to remain on the books, and commissioners voted 6-to-2 to keep the size limits in place.
“I believe you actually have an opportunity this evening,” said Richard Kinney, a Snee Farm resident addressing the commission. “You have the opportunity to get it right when it comes to future stores and buildings in Mount Pleasant.”
The commissioners agreed, citing the public outcry and the appearance that the town was caving to developers who in February presented and then pulled plans for more than 300,000 square feet of retail on a 40-acre parcel near Towne Centre.
“The fact is that there is this perception out there,” said Commissioner Howard Chapman. “I can’t vote to approve this in good conscience.”
Chapman, Bob Brimmer, Henry Middleton, Phil Siegrist, Cheryl Woods-Flowers and Nick Collins voted to keep the size limitations. Todd Richardson and Chairman Roy Neal voted for the deletion. Alice Ann Lehrman left the meeting before a vote was called.
Next, the town council’s planning committee will vote on the proposal. It can adopt the planning commission’s recommendation or reject it. After that, the measure heads to the council for a full vote.