Preparing for the inevitable development heading toward Johns Island, city planers presented a draft of the Johns Island Community Plan to the city’s Planning Commission on Wednesday. The plan stems from a week of workshops and community meetings in March and was first presented Tuesday to Johns Island residents.

The plan focuses on the portion of the island cordoned off for urban development as agreed to by the city and the county. It’s only 17 percent of the island, but it’s where the bulk of the development will be going, said city planner Christopher Morgan. The urban district isn’t small though, it could potentially hold two of the downtown peninsula.

Development should focus on three gathering places: one at Rivers Road and Maybank Highway; one at Maybank and Bowhicket Road; and one between the two on Maybank. The focus in these areas will be walkability, with all areas in the high density nodes within a five minute walk to the center.

Development would then thin out the further you get from the gathering place, with land left largely rural in the outlining areas.

The plan would also include streamlining zoning districts, reducing 19 currently on the island to about five. The move may be a test case for future consolidated zoning in other areas of the city. The city also hopes to provide workforce housing incentives for developers.

Improvements could include improvements to Maybank Highway while adding ancillary roads to reduce the load on the few existing roads on Johns Island. Morgan stressed that road concerns will be second for Johns Island.

“Trees and people first,” Morgan said. “Roads second.” —Greg Hambrick

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