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The impulse to save our most cherished moments is a powerful force. When you ask people to choose three possessions to save from a burning house, one of the most common answers is a photo album.

Maybe that’s because photographs tell the stories of our lives – a timeline of memories filled with faces we love and places we have been. Photos speak directly to our emotions; they capture our attention and give us the power to show people who we are and what we do.

When composed professionally, they shine a light on our personalities, relationships, and families. After all, every human emotion has a place in photography.

Whether you need to steal someone’s attention with a stunning headshot or want to save your most loving family moments, I can help.

My name is Adam Chandler, and as a professional photographer in Johns Island, SC I delight in the adventure of photography. I constantly immerse myself in whatever genre I’m shooting and seek new ways of bonding with my subjects to provide them with a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

I use my technical knowledge of photography, ability to connect with people, and artistic creativity to produce memorable photos for my clients. I believe that providing folks with a client-centric experience sets me apart from other photographers in Johns Island.

Some professionals may be wonderful composers but cannot understand what their customers want. Others are great at connecting but don’t have the training or experience to make their work truly special.

When you choose Adam Chandler Photography, rest assured that you are hiring a photographer with creativity, imagination, and a keen eye for detail. You won’t ever have to worry about sacrificing one quality for another.

I have a wide range of professional experience in the world of photography. I have had the pleasure of working with a variety of subjects, from local families to corporate business professionals in the Lowcountry. As a photographer in Johns Island with more than a decade of experience, my top priority is not only to capture beautiful images but also to provide you with a relaxing, enjoyable photography session.

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kristenking Family Photo

Testimonials

Now that you know a little about my background, let’s take a look at some of
my most popular photography services in Johns Island:

Our Company Mission Is To Exceed Expectations

My Mission Is To Exceed Expectations

Your family is probably the single most important part of your life. From children to grandparents, and even nieces and nephews, building a strong family bond secures your legacy for the future.

You will grow and change with your family throughout life and encounter many memorable milestones along the way.  One of the best ways to document these milestones and relive your memories is with a family photo session.

I love family photography and strive to pour my soul and creativity into each shoot. While each session is different, I approach each one with the same goal: to capture the unique personality, affection, and energy of each family so I can provide authentic, engaging pictures and a uniquely fun experience.

Whether you have a newborn baby that you want to celebrate or have grandparents in town for a visit, Johns Island is an amazing city for family photography. There are so many locations in the Lowcountry that make for great family photography backdrops:

  • Beaches – Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island, Kiawah Island, Hilton Head, Edisto Beach
  • Popular Places – Washington Square, Broad Street, Ravenel Bridge
  • Historical Sites – Johns Island Battery, Fort Sumter, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Rainbow Row

Whatever location you choose for family photography in Johns Island, the Holy City is a wonderful place in which to immerse yourself with friends and family.

As a family photographer in Johns Island, one of the reasons why I love working with families so much is the opportunity to get creative. I gladly accommodate the style preferences my clients are looking for – be it more traditional, posed images, or candid, playful pictures.

I use a relaxed style of direction to get your family engaged in our photography session, to help get authentic expressions that are full of life and happiness.

Here are just a few reasons why families choose Adam Chandler Photography for their family portraits:

Document Family Growth

With each year that passes, we grow – both literally in size and also in mind. Having annual family photographs helps document the advancements and growth you have in life. Family photography in Johns Island is a great way to remember the quirks or personality traits in your children, or to immortalize an important event like a high school graduation. Since we grow and change so fast, many families arrange for yearly family photo sessions to see their family’s growth year over year.

Remember Milestones

With each year that passes, new milestones are achieved. From a child’s first steps to a sibling getting married, there is no better way to remember such happy events than with photographs. Whether you are welcoming a new puppy into your life or just landed the job of your dreams, celebratory pictures of your family will give you heartwarming memories for the rest of your life.

Create Memories

The smiling, radiant face of your daughter after losing her first tooth. The loving glance between newlyweds. The happy father, beaming with pride after his son scored his first touchdown. As a professional photographer in Johns Island, SC, drawing out these feelings and emotions and capturing them on film is one of my greatest joys. Not because the pictures are great, but because you, as my client, will have so many years of enjoyment looking back at them.

Portraits And Headshots In Johns Island, SC

A great headshot shows you at your best – whether you want to impress a prospective employer or need professional photography for your website. In today’s world of digital dominance, having a professional headshot or portrait of your team is becoming a necessity. It’s no surprise, then, that headshots and portraits are among the most popular genres of photography.

Headshots can be tricky, mostly because many humans just aren’t very photogenic. I know that for some clients, it can be hard posing for a professional photo; knowing their headshot or portrait might make the rounds with future employers.

Fortunately, I have years of experience taking professional headshots. Unlike some amateur photographers, I know how to draw out your personality to capture you at your best. I know how to compose your portrait based on the industry you work in or the goal that you have with your photoshoot. Clients choose Adam Chandler Photography because I advise them every step of the way – from the clothes they should wear to the expression they should have.

A professional headshot or portrait is an investment into your personal brand, and here is why:

Portraits And Headshots In Johns Island, SC
Show Your Personality

Show Your Personality

A great headshot can help give people an idea of your personality before you sit down to meet them. For instance, a serious glance at the camera might convey determination. A big smile may say “I’m approachable.” My goal is to match your expression with your personality with every headshot or portrait I take.

Show Your Professionalism

Show Your Professionalism

Clients, collaborators, investors, and employers are much more likely to interview you or call your business if you look professional. You have taken the time to invest in your brand, and the important people you’re sharing your headshot with will appreciate your effort.

Stand Out on Social Media

Stand Out on Social Media

Many of my clients make appointments for headshots and portraits when they want to stand out from the crowd on social media. Whether you own a business and need to create new social media pages or you are looking to network with recruiters on LinkedIn, a headshot lends an air of professionalism that you won’t get with a selfie.


Show Off Your Current Look

Show Off Your Current Look

Having outdated headshots can send a message of inauthenticity. When you have up to date headshots, you’re showing clients and employers that you are confident, committed, and authentic.

Show Your Personality

Qualities Of A Great Photographer In Johns Island, SC

Being a great photographer means more than owning the best pieces of camera equipment. While a great camera gives clients the clearest, highest quality photos available, it won’t help me connect with my subjects. I strive to give clients a fun, enjoyable photo session. I use my knowledge and experience to help set up the perfect shot. After connecting with my client, I draw out their personality to produce a stunning final product.

Clients choose Adam Chandler Photography because I am different from my peers in the best ways possible. Here are just a few qualities that my clients appreciate:

Imagination

Imagination

I consider photography to be an artform – one that requires a creative mind and heaps of imagination. A great photographer needs to be able to take something ordinary and transform it into something beautiful. A back-alley puddle is about as mundane as it gets, but with the right technique and a little imagination, it can turn into something with much more substance.

Passion

Passion

This quality might seem like a no-brainer to most, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen photography that is missing something. More often than not, the photographer isn’t passionate about the subject or model that he or she is photographing.

Patience

Patience

Patience is an essential quality for all great photographers. Some days, picture lighting won’t cooperate. Other days, it’s hard to get that big happy smile from younger clients. That’s why patience and flexibility are so important. As a professional with years of experience, I understand that I must have the patience to deal with whatever comes my way and the flexibility to make the most out of any situation.


People Skills

People Skills

All photographers are created differently. Some photographers are more aloof and put in the bare minimum effort when it comes to speaking with clients. Others, like myself, relish the opportunity to talk with customers. That’s because interacting with subjects allows me the chance to see their vision and transform their idea into art. Talking with subjects lets me draw out their emotions and put younger subjects at ease. People skills are a must in this industry. Luckily for me, it’s one of my favorite parts of the job

Eye for Detail

As a professional photographer in Johns Island, SC I am meticulous when it comes to details. Every element of a photograph should be reviewed to ensure cohesiveness. You might think that a family photo session is cut and dry in terms of composition and detail, but all elements of a photograph must come together to convey the vision that my clients desire.
When you hire me as your photographer, I take all the following elements into consideration:

  • Composition
  • Lighting
  • Emotion
  • Storytelling

If you have a goal you want to construe with your photographs, helping you achieve that goal is often found in the details.


Eye for Detail
adam

I am proud to say that I am very passionate about my work. However, I’m also passionate about giving my clients the most enjoyable, care-free photography experience possible. My passion drives me to work harder, push farther, and strive to be better every day that I wake up.

Adam Chandler

Ready to Get Started?

One of my favorite things to do is to talk to clients about their vision. If you are in need of professional photography, let’s talk today about what you have in mind. Whether you’re looking for family photography in Johns Island or want new headshots for your employees, I am here to help every step of the way.  

Latest News in Johns Island

Letters: Johns Island development is leading to dangerous potholes, accidents

An article in the Dec. 5 Post and Courier noted that a developer wants to build a multifamily development on 47 acres on Maybank Highway.This is extremely disturbing to the residents of Johns Island.Due to the rapid, out-of-control development of the island, residents are experiencing a very negative effect on our quality of life and our safety.Our roads are in terrible condition due to the excessive traffic, including heavy dump trucks for which the roads clearly weren’t designedThis has led to numerous dan...

An article in the Dec. 5 Post and Courier noted that a developer wants to build a multifamily development on 47 acres on Maybank Highway.

This is extremely disturbing to the residents of Johns Island.

Due to the rapid, out-of-control development of the island, residents are experiencing a very negative effect on our quality of life and our safety.

Our roads are in terrible condition due to the excessive traffic, including heavy dump trucks for which the roads clearly weren’t designed

This has led to numerous dangerous potholes and vehicle accidents.

There were 69 car fatalities in Charleston County in 2020, a number of which were on Johns Island.

A recent study conducted by Insurify Insights found that Johns Island has the most accident-prone drivers in the United States.

Due to the heavy traffic, it is difficult for emergency vehicles to get to their destination in a safe, timely manner.

Flooding has increased as trees are clear-cut from property and are replaced with asphalt, multiple apartment complexes and homes.

The last thing we need is 47 more acres of tree-filled land to be turned into more multifamily development.

A recent letter to the editor pointed out that the residents of Johns Island have been pleading to the city of Charleston and Charleston County to stop approving more development until we can get the infrastructure in place to support the existing residents.

Our pleas fall on deaf ears.

JEANNE WILLIAMS

Johns Island

Two letters published in the Dec. 12 Post and Courier expressed concerns about two unrelated subjects.

A Wadmalaw Island resident wrote about the relentless development of what was once pristine rural land around the tri-county area. I sympathized because the same song is being sung seemingly everywhere in the Lowcountry.

The second letter talked about the teacher shortage and how it is negatively affecting our quality of life.

That letter listed a number of suggestions to help alleviate the shortage. Several items involved needing more support and awareness from local and state politicians.

I rarely see any explanation or rebuttal to these letters from any of our legislators or council members. I would love to see them explain to the public in writing how they think relentless development is making our lives better.

And please don’t keep saying it’s for a bigger tax base.

Our teachers need increased support. They are an investment in our future and we should start taking note of that.

I encourage council members and legislators to respond to these issues.

Their collective silence to issues voiced by the public makes it seem like they don’t hear our complaints and concerns.

EDDIE COLLINS

Mount Pleasant

It seems that every time Charleston experiences a flood event, many point to climate change.

Land subsidence, another important component to sea level change, is rarely mentioned. Subsidence is largely a natural process, but it has a significant human component.

As development in the Lowcountry has exploded and demand on groundwater has increased, aquifers are not recharging fast enough to prevent land above from sinking.

Another problem is the loss of wetlands that result in more runoff, intensifying soil erosion.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, sea level at Charleston Harbor has increased about 13 inches over the past century. But according to the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, the land around Charleston has sunk about 5 inches over the same period. As development increases, so does the sinking.

We could spend billions of dollars to fight climate change, but for Charleston, it won’t solve the problem.

JOSEPH LEONARD

Charleston

About two months ago, I sent letters of complaint to the headquarters of a large health care organization with a Lowcountry presence.

The letters were addressed to a corporate officer and at least one to the local CEO.

The letters contained documented violations of health care regulations and a potential breach of patient health care information security.

One of the things specifically asked for was an audit of my health care record looking for unauthorized access.

I waited for a reply, an acknowledgement or some action. Nothing.

In the past, such complaints were met with at least a form letter in response and in most cases, some positive action.

Apparently not here, not now in today’s business world.

It seems as if the corporation isn’t interested in what consumers have to say.

I’m a bit frustrated but I won’t be going away anytime soon. I gave the organization a chance to self-correct; perhaps when the complaints start coming from its regulators it might start listening.

I find it ironic that this particular organization talks about being responsive and responsible in its literature. Perhaps the leaders should reacquaint themselves with their own code of ethics.

TIMOTHY C. KIEL

Mount Pleasant

James Island congregation attempting to find ‘message in the mess’ after church fire

JAMES ISLAND — When Fort Johnson Baptist assembles for worship this Christmas, members will gather in the church’s gymnasium, not the sanctuary.That’s because a fire destroyed the church’s main worship space in September.But Fort Johnson’s parishioners understand that the spirit of Christmas isn’t limited to a specific space. The joy and love that accompanies the holiday season can be manifested wherever believers come together.After all, this wasn’t the first time Fort Johnson B...

JAMES ISLAND — When Fort Johnson Baptist assembles for worship this Christmas, members will gather in the church’s gymnasium, not the sanctuary.

That’s because a fire destroyed the church’s main worship space in September.

But Fort Johnson’s parishioners understand that the spirit of Christmas isn’t limited to a specific space. The joy and love that accompanies the holiday season can be manifested wherever believers come together.

After all, this wasn’t the first time Fort Johnson Baptist had seen devastation.

A spray-painted wooden sign was used to announce worship services days after Hurricane Hugo in 1989 toppled the church’s steeple. The sign, which had been stored above the church’s ceiling, reemerged after a portion of the overhead surface gave way during the September blaze.

“It’s a good reminder that even after disaster, good things can happen,” said Pastor Marty Middleton, 43.

During the Christmas holiday season — one of the most important times of year for the Christian community — Fort Johnson finds itself attempting to preserve a sense of hope as the congregation continues grappling with the destruction of its house of worship. At the same time, congregants are revisiting what it truly means to be a church, inspired by an outpouring of support from the community and congregations that have faced similar challenges.

A message from the mess

A preschool student was the first to smell the smoke on Sept. 9, telling his mother, “it smells like a cookout out here.” The boy’s mother, a teacher at the church’s preschool, called emergency officials around 8:30 a.m. to report a fire at the church, located at 1473 Camp Road.

Firefighters with the James Island Public Service District Fire Department and other area agencies were able to put out the blaze within an hour. Officials determined a lightning strike hit the steeple and caused the fire. The steeple fell during the blaze, taking about half of the roof with it.

The fire damage is primarily concentrated in the sanctuary. The church’s educational building, which houses the preschool, wasn’t harmed by the fire itself, though it did receive water damage from fire hoses.

Helen Needham grew up in Fort Johnson. Her family served as charter members of the congregation, established by James Island Baptist in 1960.

Fort Johnson’s sanctuary holds precious memories for their family. Needham, her sisters and her daughter all had their weddings in the church’s sanctuary. Needham’s children were baptized there. She held back tears as she recalled the day the building was engulfed in flames.

“When I saw that the church steeple was gone, I cried,” she said.

Standing in the pulpit of the sanctuary earlier this month, Middleton surveyed the rubble. Broken glass, charred wood and other debris was scattered across the floor and atop pews. The sanctuary’s ceiling caved in, leaving a gaping hole that reveals a blue sky. Mold has overtaken many of the walls. The floor was soaked with rainwater.

The destruction is a visual reminder of the messiness that exists in the world, Middleton said. The concept rings especially true this year as we all continue to navigate, with uncertainty, the pandemic.

“Sometimes, when you come to church, your life is a mess,” Middleton said. “But God is in the business of restoring that mess — taking that mess and making a message.”

The church has adjusted, relocating its preschool to a separate campus building and its worship services to the church’s gymnasium, normally used for local recreational basketball games. The pastor anticipates reconstruction will begin in a few weeks, once the church’s insurance company determines whether it will be feasible to renovate the existing sanctuary, or if the church should tear it down and build a new one.

Middleton said his task is to help his congregation stay focused on the church’s mission and to remain positive. His most recent sermon series, “Hopeful Expectation,” tells congregants to expect goodness at the end of this tragedy. This ties into the holiday season, when themes of hope and peace are prominent.

Fort Johnson’s members have been looking forward to positive, yet simple, changes that might come out of fire, such fresh carpet, new pews, and possibly a new sanctuary.

The worship services, though in a nontraditional setting, have been a source of inspiration. Attendance has been steady and a sense of hope permeates the room, Middleton said.

“God’s promises are true,” Middleton said. “So when he says he comes to bring peace and comfort, he’ll do that when we trust in him.”

The tragedy has also taught parishioners at Fort Johnson to focus more on relationships.

Since the fire, church members have come together some Wednesday nights to pray specifically for the restoration process. New relationships are being formed, too. The congregation has grown with the addition of five families who’ve joined the church in the last three months.

For the most part, Fort Johnson has sought to maintain a regular rhythm of Christmas programs and mission activities.

The church’s preschool relocated its annual Christmas pageant to the front lawn. Small children, dressed to depict angels and wise men, retold the biblical Christmas narrative and sang holiday songs. The church continued its involvement in Operation Christmas Child, an initiative where churches buy Christmas gifts for children across the world. The congregation has also bought gifts for a few local families caring for foster children.

“We haven’t let the fire stop us, “Needham said.

Continuing to serve

Fort Johnson has also seen an outpouring of support from the community.

One church donated sound equipment for the church to use during Sunday worship. Another congregation gave Fort Johnson toys and tables to use for the preschool to replace items that had been damaged by smoke. Local businesses donated food for congregants who, on the weekends, had been setting up chairs and equipment in preparation for Sunday worship.

Several other faith communities sent financial donations, including St. Andrew’s in Mount Pleasant, which donated $10,000 to Fort Johnson to express its support.

St. Andrew’s can relate to the difficulties being faced by the James Island group. The Mount Pleasant church lost its entire ministry center to a massive blaze in 2018, leaving the roughly 2,000-member congregation without a place to worship and its day school without a place to meet.

Bishop Steve Wood recalled that the days following the fire involved mostly addressing those immediate concerns. But Wood said he also tried to keep St. Andrew’s focused on its mission of service.

In doing so, he wrote a letter after the blaze that eventually became a regular form of communication, keeping members encouraged and updated on the reconstruction timeline.

“I just told them we’d be OK,” he said.

The church then engaged in ministry outside the building. St. Andrew’s “adopted” a Mount Pleasant fire station and served firefighters baked goods. Lawyers and architects in the congregation offered their skillsets to help the church with its renovation process. Members conducted prayer walks throughout the Mount Pleasant neighborhood where the church sits. Parishioners bought rosebushes for a few neighbors. Congregants began building relationships with teachers at Mount Pleasant Academy, where the church began holding Sunday services.

Wood’s advice for Fort Johnson is to, in spite of the tragedy, seek opportunities to serve others.

“The most challenging thing is that a fire, and these kinds of circumstances, can be so consuming that you miss what God is actually doing in the moment,” Wood said. “Maintain a mission focus. Keep the main thing the main thing. Be attentive to what God is doing around you. He’s mobilizing people around you.”

Reach Rickey Dennis at 937-4886. Follow him on Twitter @RCDJunior.

Millers All Day debuts food truck as construction for second location starts on James Island

It’s difficult to snag a seat at popular King Street breakfast restaurant Millers All Day, which opened in Charleston in 2018. Starting Jan. 15, locals throughout the Charleston area will be able to order fried chicken biscuits, shrimp and grits, home fries and other Millers favorites from the eatery’s new food truck.“We’ve had a lot of people come to the downtown location and ask us to help them in other markets (and) get Millers there,&r...

It’s difficult to snag a seat at popular King Street breakfast restaurant Millers All Day, which opened in Charleston in 2018. Starting Jan. 15, locals throughout the Charleston area will be able to order fried chicken biscuits, shrimp and grits, home fries and other Millers favorites from the eatery’s new food truck.

“We’ve had a lot of people come to the downtown location and ask us to help them in other markets (and) get Millers there,” said co-owner Nathan Thurston. “Putting a brick-and-mortar in different areas is very challenging but we thought that a food truck might be a great way to bring Millers to the people because they’ve asked for it quite a bit.”

The truck will be run by staff members who will eventually work at Millers All Day’s second location in the former Zia Taqueria space in the Terrace Plaza Shopping Center on James Island, Thurston said. After searching for four months, Thurston and Millers co-owner Greg Johnsman of Marsh Hen Mill on Edisto Island found a California-made truck in Minnesota equipped with the tools necessary for cooking breakfast on-the-go.

“Finding one that was right for us took some time,” Thurston said. “The outfit of the truck — the equipment, the layout — was actually a great fit for us.”

The food truck will make its debut 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Jan. 15-16 at Brewlab Charleston (2200 Heriot St.). The truck will serve Millers favorites like its biscuit cinnamon roll; pimento cheeseburger with bacon and pepper jam; bacon, egg and cheese sandwich; and shrimp and grits, a recent hit at Millers All Day.

“We decided to kind of offer our most popular items on the truck,” Thurston said.

The truck will also serve specialty items like lobster fries, a dish Thurston said is their variation on lobster poutine. Millers’ fan-favorite home fries — boiled then fried to create a crispy home fry that’s tender inside — are topped with bacon, Mornay sauce, lobster, scallions and a sunny egg.

“It’s a beautiful dish and people love it, so pretty excited to get that out there,” Thurston said.

The food truck will likely pop up at local breweries following its weekend at Brewlab. Thurston said breweries are a great place to “catapult the truck” by offering brunch at times when food is sometimes not available for folks sampling the area’s craft beer. The truck is also available for private events.

While plans for the truck were being finalized, construction for Millers All Day’s second location at 1956 Maybank Highway commenced in December. Thurston anticipates the renovation will take 10-12 weeks and hopes to open in April 2022.

For Millers All Day’s food truck location and times, follow the restaurant on Instagram or check Street Food Finder.

Bluffton High hires new football coach from championship program in Georgia

Bluffton found its new football coach from a state championship program in the state of Georgia.Collins Hill assistant coach Hayden Gregory was introduced as the school’s new coach on Friday. Gregory replaces John Houpt, who stepped down in November.Gregory has spent the last five seasons as offensive line coach for his father Lenny Gregory at Collins Hill. The Eagles went 15-0 this year and won the Georgia Class 7A championship over Milton.“The success that we had at Collins Hill did not happen by accident,&...

Bluffton found its new football coach from a state championship program in the state of Georgia.

Collins Hill assistant coach Hayden Gregory was introduced as the school’s new coach on Friday. Gregory replaces John Houpt, who stepped down in November.

Gregory has spent the last five seasons as offensive line coach for his father Lenny Gregory at Collins Hill. The Eagles went 15-0 this year and won the Georgia Class 7A championship over Milton.

“The success that we had at Collins Hill did not happen by accident,” Gregory said.. “I believe I can take the same blueprint to build Bluffton to its highest possible potential.”

Collins Hill featured Travis Hunter, one of the top players in the country, who signed with Jackson State.

Hayden Gregory was a standout at Grayson High School and played college football at Mercer before joining his father’s staff at Collins Hill. At Grayson, he played for Mickey Conn, who built the program into a powerhouse before leaving for Clemson where he will be the team’s co-defensive coordinator this year.

Gregory said his experience working and playing for top programs will help with his first head coaching job.

“My experiences have given me invaluable lessons in how to run a successful program,” Gregory. “I look forward to taking Bluffton football to the next level.”

The Bobcats went 2-8 this season and lost in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs to North Augusta. The Bobcats had a good run under Ken Cribb from 2010-16 where they reaced the state championship game in 2011. The Bobcats have a strong group coming back with offenive players Jaylin Linder and Camauri Simmons and defensive standouts Jeremiah Curry and JaQuinn Williams.

“We searched for someone who cares about the well-being of student-athletes and will grow them in all facets, a high-energy individual that we felt would immediately gain player buy-in, has a proven record of success on and off the field, tremendous history of helping to get his players to the next level and an individual who understands the impact the team can have in the school and our community,” Bluffton athletic director Todd Stewart said. “We found our clear next head football coach in coach Gregory.”

School — Former Coach — New Coach

AC Flora — Dustin Curtis— TBA

Airport — Kirk Burnett — TBA

Batesburg-Leesville — Gary Adams — Gene Cathcart

Bluffton — John Houpt— Hayden Gregory

Boiling Springs — Rick Tate — Matt Reel

Dorman — Dave Guttshall — Dustin Curtis

Hilton Head Prep — Dave Adams — TBA

Lewisville — Will Mitchell — Leon Boulware

Newberry — Phil Strickland — TBA

North Augusta — Jim Bob Bryant — TBA

North Myrtle Beach — Matt Reel — TBA

Oceanside Collegiate — Joe Call — TBA

Stall — Joe Bessinger — TBA

Travelers Rest — Ray Gould — TBA

New taxing district aims to boost Johns Island infrastructure funds

On Johns Island, longtime residents’ complicated relationship with change is nothing new.Devonne Hammond, manager of Fields Farm Market on River Road, said growth on the historically rural island feels inevitable. Hammond grew up on his family’s 40-acre farm and moved away for college but eventually found his way back to an island that looked different than the one of his youth.“I don’t know if I can reasonably think of any place where growth doesn’t mean change for some people,” Hammond said...

On Johns Island, longtime residents’ complicated relationship with change is nothing new.

Devonne Hammond, manager of Fields Farm Market on River Road, said growth on the historically rural island feels inevitable. Hammond grew up on his family’s 40-acre farm and moved away for college but eventually found his way back to an island that looked different than the one of his youth.

“I don’t know if I can reasonably think of any place where growth doesn’t mean change for some people,” Hammond said. “I just hope it doesn’t have as much of a negative impact on our residents as we might expect.”

The farm has been in his family since Reconstruction, when formerly enslaved laborers took over former plantations on Johns Island.

“Its not until you move away that you see everything people go through to attain what my family already has,” Hammond said.

From 2010 to 2020, census data shows the island’s population within Charleston city limits doubled from nearly 5,300 residents to almost 12,000.

A new taxing district established by the city of Charleston aims to use funding from the island’s commercial and residential growth to help ease its growing pains like lagging road and drainage infrastructure.

The district, approved by City Council Oct. 12, places a tax on new development on the part of the island that falls within Charleston city limits to help fund municipal projects. It doesn’t apply to any existing developments or developments that were in the permitting process at the time of the council vote.

“Folks view development on the island as coming before the infrastructure,” said John Zlogar, chairman of the Johns Island Task Force. The task force was established in 2013 to bring together residents and local officials to address Johns Island-specific issues.

At one point, City Council considered a six-month moratorium on new housing on Johns Island proposed by Mayor John Tecklenburg. He advocated for the proposal as a way for the city to catch up on long-needed infrastructure improvements. After a mixed response, the 2018 proposal failed.

Over its 30-year lifespan, the newly approved taxing district, known as a Municipal Improvement District or MID, is projected to generate $60 million of additional revenue specifically for Johns Island, consultants hired by the city estimate. Developers will pay $480 per year per new apartment unit or single-family home. New individual single-family homes that are not part of subdivision will only be subject to the $480 per year tax if they are on properties over 2-acres. New commercial business owners will pay an equivalent tax based on the size of the property. A 10,000-square-foot commercial space would pay about $2,600 per year, city planning department officials estimate. The tax will increase by 2 percent each year.

As a lifelong resident of the island and new business owner, Estuary Beans & Barley brewery owner Scott Harrison said he is concerned about the potential burden the MID may place on new businesses. His brewery on Meek’s Farm Road is located on the same lot as the new Charleston Distilling, which relocated from King Street in November.

“It takes a long time to open up a business here and it takes a long time to get the approvals,” he said. “I am sure things at the city are backed up, but especially with COVID-19, time is important.”

Harrison opened his brewery in 2020, so he won’t be subject to the new tax, but he wants the city to encourage new development as long as it respects the island’s agricultural roots.

“We have a farm-to-table kind of feel out here that Johns Island has always been known for,” he said. “On the one hand, I would hate to see the farms go away, but it would be nice if city planning helped growth happen the way it does in the rest of Charleston.”

Charleston County’s Urban Growth Boundary limits dense development on much of the island outside of Charleston city limits, which has helped preserve farmland in the area.

Zlogar, the Johns Island task force chair, said he could see the MID benefiting efforts to balance urban development and rural preservation. With new funding sources, the city could buy land for park space or conservation areas to create a buffer between the urban growth boundary and the rest of the island where more development will take place.

“It’s all about community, how do you use these funds to bring the community together,” he said.

Along with the Johns Island Task Force, other community groups have endorsed the MID, including the Johns Island Council and the Johns Island Community Association.

Councilman Karl Brady Jr., who represents Charleston’s portion of Johns Island, said he pursued the MID designation because many proposed improvements on the island struggle to receive sufficient funding.

“Improvements are coming, but I’m sure it’s not as fast as some people would like,” Brady said. “This will give us the ability to do some homegrown improvements like the Johns Island Park expansion and road and infrastructure projects.”

Johns Island is the first area of the city to get a MID, mainly because it has the most potential for new development, Charleston Planning Director Robert Summerfield said.

“Johns Island has quite a bit of future development, unlike West Ashley or the peninsula where most of the development will be redevelopment,” he said.

The district will likely not create significant revenue for at least three years, Summerfield said. However, once revenue is generated, the city may be able issue bonds with it to jumpstart its use.

Transportation improvements in particular are crucial, said Michael Johnson, president of the Headquarters Island Property Owners Association on Johns Island. Johnson grew up on Johns Island and returned after stints in Houston and New Orleans.

“Charleston has become one of the most unsustainable places I’ve visited in a long time,” he said. “The traffic is horrendous.”

Not all proposed road projects are popular. An ongoing plan to extend Interstate 526 from West Ashley through James and Johns Island is seen by some as a threat to Johns Island’s Gullah-Geechee heritage. That plan is largely funded by the S.C. Department of Transportation and Charleston County and will not likely be impacted by the MID.

Residents of Johns Island are likely years away from seeing improvements funded with MID dollars, but the development will continue.

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