Civil engineer praises role of Ingleside development in curbing urban sprawl

Ingleside is an example of developers partnering with local government to create a sustainable plan.   File photo

The development of Ingleside in North Charleston will help limit urban sprawl and produce a diverse community where people can live, work and play, according to one of the region's leading civil engineering firms.

Regional leaders have recognized for years that Ingleside provides a unique opportunity to combat suburban sprawl, said J. Rhett Reidenbach, chief executive of the Reveer Group, a Charleston civil engineering firm involved in the development.

Ingleside is a successful example of developers partnering with local government to create a community plan that is sustainable, supported by proper infrastructure and provides density in a location that will limit suburban sprawl, Reidenbach told the Palmetto Business Daily

The Ingleside vision is taking shape with the construction of a major distribution facility for FedEx, a call center for Comcast, and several multi-family projects, he added.

"These developments will be complemented with other retail and commercial centers to ensure that Ingleside is a sustainable, vibrant place to live and work," Reidenbach said.

The development of the Ingleside property is helped by more than $40 million worth of public infrastructure improvements, the project's lead developer,  Weber USA, reports on its website.

The 3.2-mile Ingleside Boulevard and Weber Boulevard road improvements were recently opened, and now connect U.S. Highway 78 directly to Ashley Phosphate, Weber said. These roads also connect to Palmetto Commerce Parkway.

Reidenbach explained the background to the development, pointing out that in 2007, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) brought together more than 250 regional, state and national leaders for a dialogue on the Charleston area’s rapid growth.

"At the time, Ingleside was a 1,600-acre, largely undeveloped site that was surrounded by existing infrastructure in the heart of the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester region," he said. "The ULI Reality Check contributors recognized that suburban sprawl was a major cause of roadway congestion and diminished quality of life, and that Ingleside provided an opportunity to control this sprawl and concentrate density on an infill site surrounded by existing infrastructure."

Despite access to major infrastructure such as U.S. Highway 78, Interstate 26, the Norfolk Southern Railroad, and Ashley Phosphate Road, Ingleside lacked utility services and new roads to connect the undeveloped site to the existing surrounding infrastructure, Reidenbach said.

The 2004 Charleston County half-cent sales tax provided funding for two major roadway projects -- Palmetto Commerce Parkway Phase 2 and Northside/Future Drive Extension totaling slightly less than $70 million that were completed in 2010 and 2015, respectively.

"About the same time, the Ingleside owners secured from the City of North Charleston its own site-specific unique zoning referred to as a Planned Development District that ensures that the site will include a diverse mix of uses including industrial, multi-family, office, retail and institutional including schools," Reidenbach said. "In addition to the zoning, North Charleston, Charleston County and Charleston County School District approved a Tax Increment Financing District that provides a mechanism for funding public infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer."

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