Last week, stakeholders in the ongoing Sergeant Jasper redevelopment feud began a mediation process, as ordered by Circuit Court Judge J.C. Nicholson, Jr.
Today, that mediation reached an impasse, and parties now await a ruling by Judge Nicholson.
"We appreciate everyone’s contributions to the mediation process," said John Darby, CEO of The Beach Company, which owns the Sergeant Jasper property. "Despite the differences of opinion, we tried very hard to come to a positive resolution. The Beach Company has now exhausted every avenue for resolution with the stakeholders, and we anxiously await the Judge Nicholson’s decision."
Darby's company brought suit against the Charleston Board of Architectural Review (BAR) last year, after the BAR rejected several of the company's concepts for the Sergeant Jasper redevelopment project. The Beach Company's suit claimed the BAR's review process was "arbitrary and capricious."
In an interview with Palmetto Business Daily published yesterday, the project architect, Joe Antunovich, labeled the BAR's process as "confusing", "arbitrary" and unfair."
Darby left no doubt as to why he thought mediation failed to produce a resolution, saying the very participants involved in the process meant the "deck was stacked against resolution."
"One ran for election campaigning against the Sergeant Jasper," said Darby, referring to Mayor John Tecklenburg. "Some opposed every Jasper redevelopment plan proposed over the past three years, despite the fact that there has been a building there for 65 years.
"One participant supported the Planning Commission’s attempt to strip away our property rights by spot zoning our site," added Darby. "Another group delayed our approvals process with petty appeals, which ultimately broke off the mayor’s ongoing stakeholder talks."
Judge Nicholson's ruling could come as early as this week and, in addition to determining the fate of the Sergeant Jasper property, could determine the future power of the Charleston BAR.
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