How has James Island benefitted from Kathleen’s leadership? Here are a few examples:
Quality of life
Kathleen, with help from James Island PSD and Islanders for Responsible Expansion representatives, helped to save 40 grand trees slated for removal from the key island intersection of Folly and Camp Roads.
- Kathleen worked with school, county and state officials to obtain a Safe Routes to School grant for Stiles Point Elementary School.
- Kathleen has worked with neighborhoods to slow traffic and make them safer for residents.
- Kathleen worked with citizens to stop the potential building of a Super Walmart on Folly Road. It was to be constructed on land that was specifically protected from development after the building of the original Walmart. Kathleen repeatedly made this point to Walmart officials.
- Kathleen has appeared before the Planning commission on multiple occasions to ask for reduced density zonings or to deny zonings that she felt were not in James Islanders best interests.
- A believer in community assets, Kathleen has consistently monitored and kept local residents informed of the plans for DeMetre(Sunrise) Park, calling for neighborhood meetings when needed. This park is a beautiful asset to James Island.
- Kathleen immediately responded when a developer tried to place four docks on one property by objecting and mandating a public hearing on the issue. The docks were reduced from four to one and that remaining dock was reduced in size and scope, appropriate to the surrounding neighborhood.
- Kathleen was the only councilmember to oppose development plans for the Angel Oak. She was its first advocate, openly critical of all facets of the plan and working to save the property from development. The property was saved in its entirety.
- The greater Charleston area is under severe development pressure. Kathleen gathered the votes to pass a six month moratorium to assess City commercial zonings and rethink the residential component, namely apartment complexes.
- The business community is the backbone of Charleston. Kathleen modified the Business License ordinance to give businesses an additional renewal notice prior to expiration of the license and before an increasing monetary fine would be imposed.
- Kathleen, along with concerned residents, fought the City concept of Gathering Place zoning. She never wavered in her belief that it was very bad for James Island. Ultimately, the zoning has been scrapped from City codes.
Through good relationships and clear communication, Kathleen worked with City officials to purchase many acres of land situated between the James Island Recreation Center and James Island Charter High School to enhance recreational opportunities. No homes will be built on the purchased land.
- A longtime supporter of recreation, Kathleen has been a relentless advocate for the four city swimming pools, maintaining them and increasing hours of service.
- Through very direct comments made at City Council, Kathleen was a driving force in the doubling of square footage at the Arthur Christopher city gym currently under construction.
Schools and institutions
Kathleen has consistently shown strong support for James Island schools and institutions:
- Appearing before Charleston County School Board to speak in support of charter renewal for James Island Charter High School.
- Bringing the Charleston Symphony Orchestra to JICHS for a public performance, the first on the island in many years and first ever at the school.
- Expediting the installation of the scoreboard at Fort Johnson Middle School.
- Assisting the JICHS Band Booster Club members in their efforts to hold fundraisers.
- Kathleen assisted the Church of the Nativity in acquiring a zoning variance for its Folly Rd. signage.
Issues directly impacting District 12
Kathleen looks out for her district constantly:
- She advocated and succeeded in bringing streets in the Stonefield subdivision into the City, saving homeowners considerable costs in maintaining and eventually repaving these streets.
- Residents of Seaside Plantation faced undeveloped land zoned for apartments. Kathleen worked with Planning staff and the property owners to downzone that land to single family, thus maintaining an owner-occupied, single family feel to multiple subdivisions within Seaside.
- A former large land holding along Folly Road was zoned for Light Industry, meaning a big box store, small shopping mall or industry could have occupied the land. It was downzoned to residential, much more in keeping with surrounding neighborhoods.
- Kathleen worked with the land owners and developer to dramatically reduce the number of homes in a new subdivision off of Harborview Road. The zoning would have allowed for approximately 138 homes, it was reduced to 92 with increased buffers, larger lots and no clear cutting of lots.
- As plans for an upgraded Harborview Road were being developed, Kathleen insisted on a downsizing of intersections along this corridor, helping to keep a more residential feel. There was no need to have intersections accommodate tractor trailer sized vehicles when a school bus was the largest vehicle to access side streets on a regular basis.
- A developer approached the City, attempting to build a long term nursing facility along Harborview Road, where the road meets the JI connector. Kathleen spoke publicly and the Planning Commission voted to disallow the request.
- In another downzoning, she worked with a property owner to eliminate commercial construction directly next to a residential community, downzoning the property.
- Kathleen was a founder of the James Island Intergovernmental Council, created to encourage conversation and joint addressing of issues that affect the entire island. She was the Chair of this commission for two years.
- Relationships with other governments have been improved under Kathleen’s leadership, especially the Town of James Island.
- Kathleen assisted the Church of the Nativity in acquiring a zoning variance for its Folly Rd. signage and is a supporter of the St. James Foundation.