Town of James Island ponders new rules for murals

A photo of Mural on the side of the Charleston Tattoo Company on Folly Road.
Mural on the side of the Charleston Tattoo Company on Folly Road.

by Sandra Stringer

For those of you who have an opinion about murals on the sides of buildings: the Town of James Island Council is having a meeting on Thursday, January 19 at 7:00 pm to decide whether or not murals should be allowed on James Island.

The meeting will take place at the Town of James Island building at 1238-B Camp Road.

Mt. Pleasant’s murals conflict with zoning rules

If you haven’t been reading the stories about this, let us catch you up. Mt. Pleasant recently had a lot of fuss about murals on the sides of buildings. The public weighed in a basically said, “hey, we like art!”.

But the town’s current zoning regulations treat murals as signs. When a local branch of Moe’s put murals on the side of their building, painted by muralist Sergio Odeith, the Board of Zoning Appeals said they couldn’t have it. The Chairman of the Board said, “anybody who wanted to could go on the side of a building and paint anything they want.”

It happened again with the restaurant Smoke, with their mural painted by artist Sean Williams.

Both restaurants have come into conflict with Mt. Pleasant’s rules on what constitutes signage. Most recently, the Mount Pleasant council met and decided to postpone the vote so that they could continue to work on the ordinance.

And now on James Island…
A photo of Mural by street artist Sheepman, on the back walls of the shopping center where Rogue Motion Used Boats currently resides.
Mural by street artist Sheepman, on the back walls of the shopping center where Rogue Motion Used Boats currently resides.

And now the problem is surfacing on James Island. Back in December a massive inflated Santa Claus appeared at a Christmas tree lot on Folly Road.

The Town of James Island is looking into limiting any possibility of such a thing happening again.

As a result murals are being equated with electronic signs and inflated advertising tools as “distractions” to drivers on the road.

At the January 19 meeting, the agenda lists the first order of business as Ordinance #2017-1 which is being proposed in order to change zoning and land development regulations for signage using murals, inflatables and monument signs.

This is a public meeting that James Island residents can attend. If you would like to weigh in attend the meeting, email the Planning Director Kristen Crane at kcrane@jamesislandsc.us, or call (843) 795-4141.

Note: The murals by Sheepman on the back of the strip mall where Rogue Motion Used Boats is currently located will be demolished when the structure comes down for the building of the new Publix. Many of the original paintings have been defaced over the years, but it’s still worth a trip to drive behind the building and have a look at what’s left, before it’s all gone.

Sandra Stringer is our Editor. 

print