Bill Blevins moved one step closer last week to re-opening his Tastee Freez franchise when the town's Commercial Design Review Board signed off on renovation plans for the restaurant.

A longtime hangout for students at nearby Summerville High School, Tastee Freez fell victim to arson in May 2007. The fire did significant damage the roof, the building interior and all the electrical wiring, Blevins said.

Although no arrests have been made in the case -Summerville Det. Sgt. Cassandra Williams said there are suspects but not enough evidence to convict them - Blevins said he suspects a disgruntled former employee was the culprit.

The CDRB voted Jan. 17 in favor of plans that call for remodeling the interior, replacing the roof and the construction of two restrooms to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act regulations.

Blevins said he plans to re-open by April. For the Tastee Freez faithful that might not be soon enough.

"I can't go anywhere without people asking me when it's going to open," Blevins said.

The outpouring of support first became evident, soon after the fire ravaged the building, when a group of SHS students offered to take up a collection.

Blevins now sees an upside to his bad luck. He has an opportunity for a fresh start with a business he's owned since 1983.

The new and improved Tastee Freez will have additional seating and a better-organized kitchen, he said.

As for the food, Blevins said he hopes it will be "faster and better."

According to the official Tastee Freez Web site, Blevins' franchise at 1110 Boone Hill Road is the only one in South Carolina.

In other business, the CDRB:

_ Requested that contractor Richard Lesley make numerous changes to the plans for a proposed four-story Comfort Inn on Holiday Drive including moving the building toward the road, adding canopy trees and adding detail to the building itself to reflect a Lowcountry design.

"I want to give you something you'll be proud of," said Lesley, who will likely present the plans again in February.

_ Granted conceptual approval to a proposed office/warehouse on Peyton's Way.

The board asked that Steve DuPriest, who heads the company - Tideland Industrial, LLC - building the structure, to return with a landscaping plan, proposed lighting fixtures and a color board to show the colors of the materials he plans to use.

_ Approved signage for Planter's Park on Ladson Road.

The sign will include panels for the building's tenants, which include the Pilot's Lounge and Bistro.

Contact David Berman at 873-9424 ext. 214 or dberman@journalscene.com.