Charleston City Council endorsed a strategy to annex 5,000 acres of West Ashley property Tuesday before North Charleston gets a chance at claiming part of it.

The 5,000 acres along S.C. Highway 61 include a 2,200-acre property owned by Whitfield Construction Co., which the City of Charleston believes North Charleston is eyeing. Much of the planned annexed property sits on the border between Charleston and Dorchester counties.

Pursuant to state law, the City of Charleston received a petition for annexation from at least 75 percent of the area’s property owners owning at least 75 percent of the total assessed value of properties on the land. Because of this, council members do not need permission from Whitfield to move on with the process.

North Charleston officials have not confirmed plans to annex the 2,200 property, according to The Post & Courier.

Charleston city attorney Frances Cantwell told P&C that allowing North Charleston to annex the property would violate an urban growth boundary set by Charleston County and the city.

Some in Charleston were worried that North Charleston would engage in rapid development that would worsen flooding and traffic.

“As the mayor has made clear, the city of Charleston is committed to protecting the integrity of the urban growth boundary and to improve conditions in the Church Creek drainage basin,” Cantwell told the newspaper. “These annexations further those interests and those goals.”

The Whitfield family donated a one-acre parcel to North Charleston in November. The city is expected to vote to annex the acre on Thursday.

A public hearing before any annexation would have to be advertised by Charleston City Hall 30 days in advance.

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