MPC discusses fate of Johnny Harris building - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

MPC discusses fate of Johnny Harris building


An intense meeting with the Metro Planning Commission finished leaving some residents upset a developer is one step closer to bringing new business to the city.

The reason for this meeting was to approve or deny a site plan for the Shoppes at Wicklow Farms, which is where they will potentially tear down the Johnny Harris Restaurant. But the meeting was only about the approval or denial of the plan and that’s what caused the fireworks. 

The developer’s attorney Robert McCorkle presented the plan to the board, explaining very specific details about the 110 square foot property.

After that residents against the plan took to the podium to express their feelings, but the board told them this meeting wasn’t about the restaurant. Causing a slight uproar from those wanting to express their feelings, including Steve Vickery who started the Facebook page “Save the Johnny Harris Restaurant.”

"Very bizarre to have a meeting about the Johnny Harris track and not be able to talk about Johnny Harris,” said Vickery. "The developers were basically given free range to any and everything they wanted."

The developer’s attorney Robert McCorkle spent more than 20 minutes at the podium presenting the site plan to the board which was the sole purpose of this meeting.

He showed the plan for the 110 square foot shopping center worth more than $20 million. But he wasn’t able to dispel rumors about the development and even touch on Johnny Harris.

Other residents expressed concerns for traffic, safety and health.

The development plan did pass, but it now has to go to council and then will come back to this board once they have more detailed plans.

WTOC also spoke with a representative for the restaurant who says this was a difficult decision for them and they will give their customers notice about closing and other things when the time comes.

The owners of the restaurant are being represented by Karen Robertson, she says they're proud to have been in the community for so long.

"The owners have said once everything is said and done it’s a really great benefit to the community,” said Robertson.

Vickery says he wished they could've at least had a discussion about the restaurant and thanks those who have supported.

“We will live to fight another day,” said Vickery.

Also at the Metro Planning Commission meeting, the board approved an amendment allowing home owners in the mid-city area to rent their property out, short-term, for vacations.

This measure also has to go before council before officially approved.

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