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The Mr. Topsoil Difference

When it comes to landscaping your home or business, it only takes a seed of an idea to begin something special. At Mr. Topsoil, we specialize in helping that dream grow into reality with unmatched landscaping supplies like mulch, topsoil, and sod.

As trusted landscaping suppliers in Johns Island, we know how important it is to have quality materials to reflect the beauty and style that you're looking to achieve. Unlike big-box stores, Mr. Topsoil offers attention to detail and stellar customer service that you just won't find anywhere else. There's a simple reason we've been in business for 34 years, and it's because we offer quality products and the best customer service in Johns Island. At the end of the day, we do right by our customers by offering them reliable deliveries and honest pricing. That's just the Mr. Topsoil way.

As locals who are born and raised in Johns Island, SC, we have a deep appreciation and comprehensive understanding of Lowcountry landscaping. Whether you're a business owner or a homeowner, Mr. Topsoil is your natural choice for landscaping materials.

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Here are just a few reasons why customers consider us the best instead of the rest:

Impeccable Service

Impeccable Service - If you already know what landscaping materials you need to begin your project, let us know. We make life easy by delivering your topsoil, mulch, or sod right to your front door. If you're not quite sure, our dedicated team of professionals is here to help guide you.

Reliable Delivery

Reliable Delivery - Part Mr. Topsoil's commitment is to provide dependable delivery of your landscaping materials. Time and safety are big concerns when dealing with landscaping, especially when dealing with large quantities of materials. That's why Mr. Topsoil uses a fleet of delivery trucks and drivers to cater to your needs. Curious whether we deliver to your home or business? Contact our office today to find out!

Highly-Trained Staff

Highly-Trained Staff - At Mr. Topsoil, our landscaping experts have been around the block once or twice. There is no substitute for real-deal knowledge of landscaping, and our team has got it in spades. We're here to make your landscaping project easy and feasible, and we're here to assist with advice and best practices whenever we are able.

If you're ready to transform your yard or storefront into an outdoor oasis, look no further than Mr. Topsoil in Johns Island, SC.

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 Topsoil Supplier Johns Island, SC

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The Premier Topsoil Supplier in Johns Island, SC

Topsoil is much more than just dirt - it enhances just about every other aspect of your landscaping project. If you're looking for long-lasting, beautiful landscaping, it all starts with high-quality topsoil that is sourced for Johns Island's climate.

Topsoil can be used in many ways to improve the overall quality and health of your lawn or garden. Generally, topsoil consists of the top layer of dirt that is found in the first 5 to 6 inches inside the ground. Topsoil, especially the organic variety, is mineral-dense, nutrient-dense, and chock-full of organic matter. That makes it a top choice by amateur and professional landscapers alike.

The best quality topsoil for gardening and growing plants isn't found in bags - it's found right here at Mr. Topsoil. We optimize our topsoils to give customers a well-balanced mix of pH levels, nitrogen levels, and the perfect mineral content. Unlike some competitors, our topsoils are formulated with the correct chemical composition needed for South Carolina's climate and native plant life. That means longer-lasting beauty, less maintenance, less back-breaking labor, and more cost savings for you and your family.

Perhaps the most essential tool at your disposal is topsoil. Topsoil can be used in a variety of ways to improve the overall health and quality of your garden and lawn. Whether you're a rookie gardener or a landscaping connoisseur, there's never a bad time to learn about topsoil uses and how topsoil can play a role in your outdoor space.

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Common Uses for Topsoil in Johns Island

When it comes to essential tools in your garden, you might think a spade or sprinkler system would top the list. You wouldn't necessarily be wrong, but few folks think of topsoil as a crucial tool for gardening and landscaping. Topsoil is used in many different ways, but its main goal is to improve your lawn or garden's health and ability to grow.

So, what are some common reasons why you might need topsoil?
1.

Keep Plants & Gardens Healthy

Flowers and plants must draw nutrients from the soil they live in to survive. These nutrients must often be replenished, and one of the best ways to do so is by adding a fresh layer of topsoil. Of course, not all topsoils are the same. You'll want to choose topsoil meant for your needs and your location. For instance, topsoil meant to help fresh veggies grow near the coast may differ from topsoil needed to reduce inland soil erosion. To find the best topsoil for your residential or commercial project, be sure to contact Mr. Topsoil - our team is ready and waiting to help answer your questions!

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2.

Improve Drainage

If rainfall causes puddles to form in your garden or grass, you might need to apply a new layer of topsoil. When soil is densely packed, drainage issues abound because water isn't able to seep into the soil. You can remedy this issue by adding a sandy layer of topsoil to areas where water is pooling. By tilling the new and old topsoil together, you will break up compacted dirt, improve circulation, and ultimately help drainage issues around your plant's roots.

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3.

Refresh Your Garden's Curb Appeal

Weeding, mowing, and planting new flowers are great for refreshing the look of your garden, but adding fresh topsoil helps complete the look. This is especially true after a long winter. Cold weather can strip the nutrients from your topsoil, leaving it dull and ineffective. Adding a new layer of topsoil instantly enhances how your garden looks!

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Quality Mulch. Gorgeous Landscaping. Unbeatable Service

At Mr. Topsoil, we proudly provide premium mulch, available for homeowners and commercial businesses. With several colors and varieties to choose from, you won't have to worry about searching high and low for your one-stop mulch shop. Our mulch helps reduce weed development, retains ground moisture, moderates your soil temperatures, and even helps stop soil erosion.

Looking to keep your garden or lawn in tip-top shape all year long? Mr. Topsoil's bulk mulch products are perfect for what you need, whether you own a home or work as a property manager and need to maintain your tenant's lawns. By buying in bulk, you get the benefit of mulch delivery straight to your front door at the lowest costs around. As your top mulch supplier in Johns Island, SC, you can rest easy knowing our team loves to help our customers find the best ways to improve their landscaping. While it's true that you can buy bagged mulch at your local hardware store, these products are typically packaged weeks, months, and even years ahead of time. In many cases, these bags are stored outdoors where the mulch absorbs rainwater, chemicals, and nasty contaminates. As if that weren't bad enough, this kind of mulch is very expensive, making the price of a large residential or commercial landscaping project unrealistic.

At Mr. Topsoil, our mulch is produced from local trees and is made fresh and available immediately to our customers. With affordable rates and flexible delivery options, choosing Mr. Topsoil for your mulch delivery in Johns Island makes all the sense in the world.

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Benefits of Adding Mulch to Your Home or Business in Johns Island

Gardens and other landscaped areas come in many sizes, shapes, and styles. Flower gardens add that extra special something to your home or commercial property. Veggie gardens are great for cutting back on grocery bills and add their own aesthetic appeal. If it's green and it grows, chances are it can benefit from mulch.

There are many reasons to use mulch, including:

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Improve Soil Quality

Improve-Soil-Quality

As mulch breaks down and decomposes, it leaves micro-nutrients in your soil, which helps it stay fertile and great for growing. In addition, studies show that tree roots located below a layer of mulch have high counts of mycorrhiza, which help your trees live and thrive.

Conservation & Prevention

Conservation

If you have a garden, you know how important it is to keep your plants watered. When you add mulch to your garden, it actually helps conserve water, meaning you may not have to break out your watering or sprinklers as often. In addition, mulch helps prevent pesky weeds from springing up in your flower beds, gardens, and outdoor living areas.

Improve Landscaping

Conservation

Sure, mulch adds a unique ambiance and feel to your garden or landscaping, but mulch also fosters the presence of earthworms. These slithery creatures add nutrients to your soil and help its structure so that your plants and vegetables grow healthy and strong.

We Are #1 Topsoil Supplier In The Tri-County Area.

Weather you are near or far will deliver all your needs with affordable prices

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Superior Sod Supplier in Johns Island, SC

Buying the right sod for your home or business in Johns Island speaks volumes. Proper sod placement can turn a dingy, dilapidated outdoor space into a pristine place where you love to spend time with friends and family. At Mr. Topsoil, we source the highest quality sod products from local farms, providing our clients with fresh, durable, clean grass. Whether you're upgrading your lawn or giving your commercial property a facelift, we have premium sod and timely delivery options to cater to your needs.

Having been in business for more than 34 years, we know that most customers have an idea of the kind of sod they want but don't know what it's called. Other times, they know the name but don't know how to install the sod. As a full-service sod provider, we can help with those issues and much more. It would be our pleasure to travel to your home or business and help you decide which kind of sod is best for your lawn our gardening project. If you need help applying the sod, our team of professionals are ready and waiting on your call.

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Here are just a few ways we assist customers with their residential and commercial sod needs:
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Sod Delivery in Johns Island

Mr. Topsoil's team has been delivering sod for years. Over that time, we have built an incredible amount of experience working with nurseries and landscapers. We source our sod from local farmers, so its quality is never in question. From home gardens and lawns to local golf courses and sports fields, there is no job too small or large that we can't handle.

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Sod Supplier in Johns Island

As Johns Island's top sod supplier, it's no surprise that we work with local farms to get the highest-quality sod available. Quality sod means great grass and happy customers, and that's what we're all about. Our team of helpful pros will make sure your sod is delivered promptly and without error. When it's all said and done, the only thing that matters to Mr. Topsoil is your satisfaction, which is why we're not afraid to deliver near or far to meet your needs.

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Yard Sod in Johns Island

Our selection of residential and yard sod is the best in our region. Our customers demand all sorts of yard sod, and we're happy to accommodate them. From different hues and textures to high durability sods meant for heavily trafficked areas - we've got it all. Need a little assistance on how to properly prep your yard? Our friendly team are happy to give you tips, tricks, and best practices to ensure your project is completed correctly.

Ready to Get Started?

Whether you're looking for a topsoil supplier in Johns Island, SC, who can deliver to your home or a sod supplier for your small business, Mr. Topsoil is here to serve you. Whether you're a landscape gardener or a weekend warrior, we've got everything you need in one place, at a price you can afford. Contact our office today for your free quote!

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Latest News in Johns Island, SC

Free medical clinic seeking new patients in Charleston’s hospitality industry

Providing benefits like time off and health insurance for hourly workers is a relatively new concept at Charleston restaurants and hotels. Many still do not offer these services for non-salaried employees.Through its Hospitality Inclusion Project Initiative, the Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic on Johns Island is helping fill a statewide coverage gap by providing free health care, referrals, emergency care and some prescription services to qualifying uninsured hospi...

Providing benefits like time off and health insurance for hourly workers is a relatively new concept at Charleston restaurants and hotels. Many still do not offer these services for non-salaried employees.

Through its Hospitality Inclusion Project Initiative, the Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic on Johns Island is helping fill a statewide coverage gap by providing free health care, referrals, emergency care and some prescription services to qualifying uninsured hospitality workers in downtown Charleston, though you don’t have to be a hospitality worker to be eligible to receive regular clinic care.

Those who live or work on Johns Island, James Island, Wadmalaw Island, Folly Beach, Meggett, Ravenel, Hollywood and Walterboro can also receive care at the clinic.

“We want to make a medical home for them,” said BIFMC Medical Director Dr. David Peterseim.

What exactly does that mean? According to Peterseim, clinic nurses and doctors want to establish care with their patients and see them regularly. In addition to primary care, patients have access to doctors in 19 subspecialties, such as cardiology and gynecology. The clinic’s strategic partnership with Roper St. Francis Healthcare means patients can get free lab tests, cancer screenings and X-rays, along with emergency care at Roper, as long as they are enrolled before the emergency.

“You’ve got a quarterback and a quarterback with all kinds of support from pharmacy to radiology to invasive procedures that are all waiting to see what you need next,” Peterseim said. “You don’t have to chase the emergency room bill that’s going to come if you weren’t enrolled.”

A certified nonprofit, BIFMC’s workforce includes nine paid employees and 130 volunteers, including nurses, nurse practitioners and doctors.

“‘What’s the catch?’ is what some people think,” Peterseim said. “There is no bill generated from any care that’s delivered from the 37 doctors that work here every month.”

The center was opened in 2008 by two retired doctors, Arthur Booth and Charlie Davis, who wanted to establish a clinic that could treat working adults. Initially serving the Johns Island community and surrounding islands, BIFMC in 2018 opened a new clinic across the parking lot from the old one. With this state-of-the-art facility that has the look and feel of a normal outpatient doctor’s office, BIFMC has since expanded its areas of coverage, leading about 1,000 patients to its doors each year.

A member of the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics, BIFMC follows the 299 percent poverty guidelines when deciding who qualifies for care. Uninsured individuals aged 18 to 65 in BIFMC’s service area must earn less than $40,634 annually to qualify, while couples who make $54,746 can visit the clinic. (Each additional person in a household adds $14,112 to the upward limit.) Patients must qualify every year.

BIFMC’s patient population was at an all-time high prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Clinic Director Brenda Falls, who said they’re biggest obstacle is raising awareness that they are there. With seven exam rooms, BIFMC has room to nearly double its capacity.

“We were just making a lot of traction, seeing some of our highest numbers that we’d ever seen, and then COVID hit,” Falls said. “If you’re not constantly creating awareness then people really don’t know that we’re here.”

“One of the biggest obstacles to getting patients is adults not realizing they’re eligible,” said Carrie Moores, BIFMC director of Development and Communications. “In my mind, those who work in the hospitality industry are kind of the perfect example of a person who would qualify in a clinic like ours.”

BIFMC can be a resource for the more than 100,000 South Carolinians who fall in the insurance coverage gap.

A decade has passed since the U.S. Supreme Court first upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, but the court did so with a caveat. One of ACA’s central tenets — an expansion of the low-income Medicaid program to cover all adults who fall below the federal poverty line — became optional, with the court deciding states could not be compelled to participate in Medicaid expansion. Many states immediately decided the deal was too good to turn down, while several others, including South Carolina, opted out. The Palmetto State remains one of 11 states that have yet to expand the Medicaid program.

“Typically these lower income adults who rely on our services do not receive healthcare benefits via their place of employment, or they work multiple part time jobs without the benefits of any one full time employment. This is particularly true among those in hospitality,” Moores said. “I would say around 75 percent of our patients currently work at least one job, with many working as many as two to three jobs and still cannot afford to access health care.”

Many of the clinic’s volunteers are retired doctors who still have the urge to help those in need. Peterseim, who previously worked as a heart and lung surgeon at Roper for 15 years, was inspired to do more volunteer work after temporarily living with his family in Costa Rica, where he was performing surgeries at a free clinic.

“There are a lot of people that need care, so I got more involved in this project,” Peterseim said.

Some volunteers are active providers, including a dermatologist who closes their private practice every other week to work at BIFMC, while others are using their clinic work as a technical training ground as they pursue careers in medicine.

Diana Osorio has spent 165 hours caring for patients at BIFMC, work that will soon help her become a full-time nurse practitioner.

“You see everything from just regular visits to, ‘You need to go to the emergency room today,’” Osorio said. “What we do here is so meaningful to the patients that we see.”

Prospective patients can learn more about the clinic and fill out an application at bifmc.org.

Top things to do on Johns Island, SC

Johns Island is the largest island in South Carolina and is located right here in Charleston County.When visiting (or maybe even shopping for real estate) on the quaint island along the South Carolina coast, of course, visiting the beach is one of the most attractive things to do. Many say that Johns Island has some of the best beaches in the state, with seven different access points to the shore.But once you’ve had your fun in the sun and sand and you’re looking to truly experience what the island has to offer, the...

Johns Island is the largest island in South Carolina and is located right here in Charleston County.

When visiting (or maybe even shopping for real estate) on the quaint island along the South Carolina coast, of course, visiting the beach is one of the most attractive things to do. Many say that Johns Island has some of the best beaches in the state, with seven different access points to the shore.

But once you’ve had your fun in the sun and sand and you’re looking to truly experience what the island has to offer, there are many fun activities that you can do with family, a partner, friends, or even on your own. Although Johns Island is a solid 20 minutes away from downtown Charleston, with James Island in between the two, you can easily fill your vacation with exciting activities without leaving the island itself.

Here are five:

1. Angel Oak Tree

The iconic Angel Oak Tree is located on Johns Island and is known as a “Lowcountry Treasure.” This huge tree is 400-500 years old and is a must-see when visiting Johns Island or Charleston County. It stands 66.5 feet tall, measures 28 feet in circumference, and produces shade that covers 17,200 square feet.

With plenty of beautiful photo opportunities, a historic museum, and local artists selling prints near the base of the tree; you can enjoy a fun afternoon visiting this iconic landmark.

2. Explore the seas

Want to experience the sea in a whole new way? Take a boat trip from Johns Island to sail through the Charleston waterways! From boat charters to sailboat rentals, kayaking, paddle boarding, and more; you can easily explore the seas and waterways in an immersive way.

If you charter a boat or enjoy a sunset cruise, don’t forget your camera! The Lowcountry sunsets are one of the best parts of coastal living.

3. Have a brew

What goes along perfectly with a day at the beach? A beer from a local brewery. If you’re on island time and want to sip a brew during your visit to Johns Island, check out Low Tide Brewing, Edisto River Brewing Company, or Estuary Beans and Barley.

If you want to venture out to Downtown Charleston, you’ll find more brewery options and can enjoy hopping from destination to destination while getting a taste of the Lowcountry’s beer culture.

4. Go horseback riding

Have you ever gone on a beach vacation where horseback riding was involved? At Johns Island, you can! Eden Wind Farm teaches visitors how to feed and care for their horses and then, the best part, how to ride them! Enjoy the beauty of this farm while learning more about horses. This is the perfect, active, family-friendly activity to pass the time.

5. Take a fishing trip

Next time you’re in Johns Island, take some time to enjoy fishing with your loved ones. Kick back, relax, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the serene Lowcountry while catching a few fish. You may even see a dolphin or two along one of the many waterways in the area!

If you don’t catch anything and want to have a taste of the Lowcountry’s famous seafood spots in the area, check out Gilligan’s Seafood Restaurant, The Royal Tern, or Blu Oyster Sushi & Seafood.

Commentary: On Johns Island, a sixth road alternative will save our sense of place

Johns Island is much more than a traffic jam: It is a collection of people with deep connections to place and community. Many have been here for generations and have roots in the island’s agricultural history. More are new neighbors who moved to this beautiful Sea Island seeking a purposeful way of life.The island’s roads are in dire need of improvement, which is one reason Charleston County residents voted for the 2016 half-cent sales tax to fund necessary upgrades, such as improvements along the Main Road Corridor. Work ...

Johns Island is much more than a traffic jam: It is a collection of people with deep connections to place and community. Many have been here for generations and have roots in the island’s agricultural history. More are new neighbors who moved to this beautiful Sea Island seeking a purposeful way of life.

The island’s roads are in dire need of improvement, which is one reason Charleston County residents voted for the 2016 half-cent sales tax to fund necessary upgrades, such as improvements along the Main Road Corridor. Work on Segment A, or the flyover at U.S. Highway 17 and Main Road, is moving forward, and now the county is considering Segment C: improvements to Bohicket Road, from Maybank Highway to Betsy Kerrison Parkway.

All five alternative proposed designs create four- and five-lane highways through the southern portion of Johns Island, drastically changing its character.

Hence the formation of Rational Roads, a nonprofit advocacy group whose goal is to develop a more effective, less destructive solution to the five unacceptable options provided in 2020 for the Main Road Segment C project.

Change is hard. New ideas are often deemed “radical” or even “irrational.” But change is necessary. Too many highways in Charleston have cut through and destroyed communities due to a lack of creative visioning. Better, more local solutions for road improvements exist, and to get there, the community must be engaged. Because who understands the safety concerns and chokepoints better than the local community? Transportation planners, engineers and elected officials should rely on community members’ insight from the beginning.

Our grassroots methodology is steeped in community feedback and data. Rational Roads has hosted more than a dozen meetings in the past year via Zoom and at churches, breweries, community gatherings and farmers markets. We’ve engaged developers, conservationists, pastors, students, farmers and more. We have found that Johns Islanders are deeply connected to the soul and preservation of this island. And we know that 21st century problems can’t be solved with 20th century solutions, especially when it comes to road building.

At Rational Roads, we are asking County Council to update the “purpose and need” for the Main Road Segment C project; that’s what will guide the direction of the Segment C project. We feel strongly that the purpose and need should include safety. Johns Island needs a customized approach for our community that goes beyond a five-lane road from point A to point B, stripping our community of its character and missing a critical opportunity to address safety concerns and create a connected sense of place.

We raised funds to work with traffic engineers to develop a sixth alternative, one that addresses our island’s traffic needs by adding left-turn lanes, roundabouts and intersection improvements at key locations where accidents are happening and congestion is occurring. Our local traffic data revealed that the worst safety and congestion issues exist between Mary Ann Point and Edenvale roads.

Through our conversations with residents across the island, we heard loud and clear that the road should be aligned with the island’s rural character, so Alternative 6 includes safe and connected streets with infrastructure for all road users, including people on foot and on a bike.

These types of improvements, combined with upgrades to Johns Island’s community center, would improve our sense of place, reflect our community values and enhance our quality of life.

Choosing inclusivity over divisiveness, we have engaged County Council members, elected leaders at the city of Charleston, state lawmakers and county staff, and we are finding renewed hope that collaboration can lead to bold improvements. Our plan can be adapted to avoid wetlands, home relocations and trees. Working with County Council and staff, we will keep improving Alternative 6 to ensure that it is the least-destructive and most cost-effective approach.

As we update our design based on recent feedback, we ask County Council to include safety and context-based designs in the project’s stated purpose and need. We can either have a road that looks like Highway 17 cutting through our island’s rural heart or a series of street and traffic upgrades that work together to enhance safety and incorporate localized designs based on a cohesive community vision.

We have the tools to build better roads. Rational Roads is showing that working together every step of the way will help us do just that.

Kate Nevin is a co-founder of Rational Roads for Johns Island and a Johns Island resident.

Johns Island finally has a sports bar that’s now open on Maybank Highway

JOHNS ISLAND — Gone are the days when island residents looking to watch the big games had to pop over to James Island to find a sports bar.Serving local craft beer and scratch-made pub fare, The Natural is now open at 3297 Maybank Hwy.The Natural is the second Charleston-area venture for Daniel Porter, who also owns Lowdown Oven and Bar on James Island.The new bar and restaurant is equipped with 34 televisions and an arcade area for the kids. ...

JOHNS ISLAND — Gone are the days when island residents looking to watch the big games had to pop over to James Island to find a sports bar.

Serving local craft beer and scratch-made pub fare, The Natural is now open at 3297 Maybank Hwy.

The Natural is the second Charleston-area venture for Daniel Porter, who also owns Lowdown Oven and Bar on James Island.

The new bar and restaurant is equipped with 34 televisions and an arcade area for the kids. For food and drinks, patrons can expect an assortment of domestic drafts and local craft beer alongside an evolving menu of appetizers and mains, like a burger with fries or chicken parmesan sandwich, served inside two buttered and toasted slices of crispy sourdough bread.

“This was the hardest menu I ever had to write,” Porter said. “I wanted to do a sports bar but I also knew we’re in Charleston and the standard is pretty high.”

A Johns Island resident since 2006, Porter has for years known the island needed a sports bar, but he has still been astonished by the turnout since opening Aug. 30. As football season kicks into full gear, The Natural could get even busier soon.

The Natural is open from 11 a.m. to midnight daily. For more information, visit thenaturalchs.com.

Smoked chicken wings, pulled pork nachos, Gamechangers and daily chef-driven barbecue specials have landed in Mount Pleasant.

Home Team BBQ is now open at 3563 Highway 17 in the former home of the Rusty Rudder.

The new restaurant joins Home Team BBQ’s other locations in downtown Charleston, West Ashley, Sullivan’s Island, Columbia, Greenville and Aspen, Colo.

Boasting the largest confined outdoor area and smokehouse of all seven spots, Home Team BBQ’s Mount Pleasant menu will look familiar, with barbecue plates, sandwiches and appetizers, among the options.

“It’s our greatest hits album,” said Home Team BBQ co-owner Aaron Siegel. “We’re just trying to be consistent with what we do best and I think everyone’s looking at us to do that.”

Siegel and Home Team’s three other operating partners (Taylor Garrigan, Sean Daniher and Tony McKie) teamed up with Jenny Keenan Designs and McGinnis Leathers to design the single-story structure, which has the same look and feel as the Home Team locations in West Ashley, Sullivan’s Island and downtown Charleston.

A long bar anchors the lively space with tables, booths, high tops and plenty of televisions scattered throughout. The entrance is located on the right side of the building near the outdoor area that has been popular since Home Team’s opening Sept. 22.

“It’s been great. It’s been really busy, obviously,” Siegel said. “Just lots and lots of families and kids and just folks from the area who have been waiting for us to open.”

Home Team BBQ Mount Pleasant is open from 11 a.m.-midnight Wednesday through Sunday. Siegel plans to open seven days a week and add takeout in the coming months.

For more information, visit hometeambbq.com.

Johns Island affordable housing complex $2M short as state tightens belt on tax credits

A 72-unit senior affordable housing development on Johns Island is running into funding hurdles due to recent changes in state tax-credit policies.Developers are about $2 million short of the $22 million project budget because state legislators recently took action to limit spending on such projects.In May, Gov. Henry McMaster signed House Bill 5075 into law, reforming the state-low income housing tax- credit system. It put a cap on the program, stating that South Carolina can’t allocate more than $20 million worth of tax...

A 72-unit senior affordable housing development on Johns Island is running into funding hurdles due to recent changes in state tax-credit policies.

Developers are about $2 million short of the $22 million project budget because state legislators recently took action to limit spending on such projects.

In May, Gov. Henry McMaster signed House Bill 5075 into law, reforming the state-low income housing tax- credit system. It put a cap on the program, stating that South Carolina can’t allocate more than $20 million worth of tax credits to affordable housing developments each year.

Among other changes, it stated that the amount of tax credits that an individual project receives is based on whatever the anticipated cost of the project is when it is first proposed, not when it breaks ground. If, after going through months to years of approval processes, the estimated total cost of the project goes up, the amount of tax credits allocated to the project when construction begins will not increase.

That’s what caused the funding gap for the Johns Island complex, developer of the project Raymond Nix said.

“It can be 18 months between when you apply for tax credits and the time you are breaking ground,” he said.

The new method of calculating state tax credits is a departure from the previous process. Under the same program at the federal level and under the prior version of the state program, once a project broke ground, it would receive tax credits based on its most up-to-date cost estimate.

Inflation, increased construction costs and other factors meant that the developers had to recalculate the total cost of the Johns Island project before breaking ground. But the tax credits received from the state won’t reflect those cost increases.

“The (state law) adjustment resulted in a $1.7 million hole in the project immediately,” Nix said.

Nix, president of Nix Development Co., gave a presentation to the Charleston City Council’s Community Development Committee on Nov. 17, asking if the city is able to step in and fill the project’s funding gap.

The 72-unit development, called Esau Jenkins Village, is located at Maybank Highway and Bohicket Road. It will be run by Sea Island Comprehensive Health Care Corp. The nonprofit, which has an office in front of the 7-acre development site, operates programs for senior citizens and disabled people in parts of Charleston and Colleton counties.

The construction site abuts a nearly 19-acre undeveloped tract owned by Angel Oak Park LLC. The city of Charleston owns 6.5 acres around the Angel Oak Tree and nearly 8 acres are owned by St. Johns Church.

An existing 88-unit, single-story, subsidized housing complex affiliated with Sea Island Comprehensive is across the highway.

Nix and other leaders of the project are seeking funding from local governments and nonprofits to fill the $2 million shortfall.

The city of Charleston hasn’t taken any action yet. Officials indicated an interest in helping it get across the finish line if other funding avenues don’t pan out. But the Esau Jenkins Development isn’t the only one of its kind seeking more funding.

“Quite honestly, this has probably been the fifth request that we’ve had to help with gap financing as a result of state housing change in legislation,” said Geona Shaw Johnson, Charleston housing director.

Nix said he’s aware that he’s not the only developer seeking out assistance after facing unanticipated costs. Even projects that have already broken ground are having to adjust their funding sources, he said.

“I would argue that any affordable housing developer that you call right now is grappling with this same issue except for ones that were just recently awarded funding,” he said.

The tax-credit program, called Workforce and Senior Affordable Housing Act, was originally approved during the state’s 2019-20 legislative session. It was designed as a way to provide a first-of-its-kind, state-level affordable housing tax credit that would match federal housing tax credits to help get affordable housing proposals to viability.

Lawmakers saw it as a bargain. According to a fiscal impact statement associated with the bill, state analysts anticipated the credit would cost the state roughly $16 million in annual revenue by the 10th year of the program, all while filling a significant hole in the state’s housing stock.

Affordable housing advocates credit the program with spurring the development of nearly 9,600 units across the state in just two years. But it was also unsustainable, fiscal hawks argued, with the number of applicants far exceeding the anticipated number of credits lawmakers thought they were agreeing to.

The original cost estimates, based off of historical demands for state affordable housing credits, were well off the mark.

According to a 2021 memo from Frank Rainwater, executive director of the S.C. Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office, the state treasury was on pace to issue more than $50 million in tax credits in 2021 alone, with an anticipated impact of $5.16 billion to the state’s general fund over the next 20 years.

Tax-credit applications were put on hold at the beginning of 2022 while lawmakers hashed out the details of the reform bill that ultimately capped the program’s annual spending.

Reach Emma Whalen at 843-708-5837. Follow her on Twitter @_emma_whalen.

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