The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance
July 18, 2018
City Council, July 17
Confusing change to agenda format
Considering “financial hardship” as a zoning change criteriaMarc Knapp
It was a long and confusing meeting. It was an hour late in starting and extended well past 10 PM. It was even harder for Council members for they had to endure an executive session at the conclusion of the session. As to the confusion, the Mayor in his wisdom changed the format of the meeting agenda, placing new (or miscellaneous) business at the very end. Council was not happy with this and made its own changes which pushed Public Participation into the very late evening. Eighteen members of the public signed up to speak. But only three were left when it came time to speak.
June 20, 2018
City Council, June 19
City apologizes for role in support of slavery
An intimidating meetingMarc Knapp
Should the City apologize for its past actions is support of slavery? Its support of course ended with the civil war some 153 years ago. But the issue packed the City chamber with citizens, predominantly black. All that chose to speak in Citizens Participation were in favor of the resolution to apologize. But Council was divided. Council approved the resolution though 5 of the 12 members present were opposed. Press Download file to see text.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 02:56 PM
June 15, 2018
County Council, June 14
Property deals in the works – but no details
Greenbelt Plan amendments approvedWarwick Jones
The County’s record on property transactions is not stellar, and considering the Naval Hospital experience, far from!! So it is not hard for us to side with the three Council members who opposed the property deals proposed at yesterday’s Finance Committee meeting.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:27 PM
June 01, 2018
County Council, May 31
Short Term Rental and Historic Preservation regulations approved by Committee
Vote on amended Greenbelt Plan deferredWarwick Jones
The agenda for yesterday’s meeting had some important items - Short Term Rental regulations, Historic Preservation regulations, and major amendments to the Greenbelt Plan. The first two items were approved by the Planning and Public Works Committee but still need to be approved by full Council. The Greenbelt Plan amendments were before the Finance Committee and a decision was deferred.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:41 PM
May 30, 2018
County Council, May 29
The Rivers Avenue property burden grows
Drawing on fund balances in future General Fund budgetsWarwick Jones
The 2019 budget and the County’s River Avenue property (RAP) were on the agenda for yesterday’s special Finance Committee meeting. Discussion on the RAP was the most interesting.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 02:41 PM
May 25, 2018
City Council, May 24
Speaker ejected during Citizens Participation
Is West Ashley really unfairly treated when it comes to funding?Warwick Jones
Sometimes you wonder. Last night’s meetings took up nearly 5 hours. There were no items of great importance that merited long discussion. But long discussion there was, discussion dominated by only a few Council members. Their speeches, sometimes defying logic but relying on repetition to give weight to their arguments, were long. Oh, for a time limit on Council members’ speeches, similar to that imposed during Citizens Participation!
Posted by Warwick Jones at 06:00 PM
May 09, 2018
City Council, May 8
May 04, 2018
County Council, May 3
Trying to breathe life into the Pitchfork projects
Real hurdles remainWarwick Jones
We have often wondered over the past few years why Johns Islanders never rioted over their traffic problems. The completion of I-526 was expected by many to be the solution. But this plan was nixed near 10 years ago and the “pitchfork” solution agreed upon. And what has happened since? Possibly a lot in terms of planning and permitting but no progress. And in terms of construction, effectively nothing. Meanwhile, traffic congestion worsens and the patience of commuters increasingly tested.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 03:46 PM
April 25, 2018
City Council, April 24
Changes likely in building and zoning ordinances
Proposed annexation on Bees Ferry Road rejectedWarwick Jones
Zoning issues took up most of the discussion at yesterday’s meeting. And it is evident that as a result of flooding and other problems, some significant changes are in the works for building and zoning ordinances.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:33 PM
April 20, 2018
County Council, April19
Container traffic at Port to get boost
Citadel seeks Accommodation Tax fundingWarwick Jones
The Economic Development department thought that Council would be pleased by the plans of Frontier Logistics to assist port development. But it overlooked the hostility of the nearby residents in North Charleston. Bowing to their concerns, some Council members opposed the plans though the majority of the Finance Committee voted for approval.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 03:39 PM
April 12, 2018
City Council, April 10
Short Term Rental Ordinance passes
But Special Exceptions may lessen its biteMarc Knapp
The City’s new Short Term Rental (RTR) ordinance passed second and third readings on Tuesday. It was not an easy passage and it would be wrong to assume that Council is done with the ordinance. A committee of staff and Council members was tasked to consider a number of issues or special exceptions. The recommendations will need to be considered by the Planning Commission but Council expects the Special Exception addendum will be before Council within 90 days. These amendments could be significant in our view, and considerably loosen and complicate STR requirements.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:27 PM
April 07, 2018
County Council, April 5
Approves land purchase by Town of James Island
Action bucks Greenbelt PlanWarwick Jones*
One way or another, greenbelts took up much of the discussion at the Finance Committee meeting on Thursday. Council approved funding for 5 projects, drawing on funds remaining in the Greenbelt allocation from the first half-cent sales tax.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 03:55 PM
March 28, 2018
County Council, March 27
Accommodation tax windfall
No support for underground wiring study on Riverland TerraceWarwick Jones
The County recently had a pleasant surprise. It received an additional $349,799 from the State for its 2017 accommodation tax entitlement. It seems the State is “mum” is about explaining the windfall but staff opined that it was a collection from AirB&B. Presumably the rental agency once had a different idea about its liability for the tax.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:35 PM
March 27, 2018
City Council, March 26
Strong scrutiny of Short Term Rental ordinance
Vote deferred till next Council meetingWarwick Jones
Council deferred a vote at the second reading of the proposed Short Term Rental (STR) ordinance. It was not because members were opposed but rather the need to refine, clarify and amend some of the parts. An updated draft is scheduled to be given to Council members early next week. We may be optimistic but in our view, there is a good chance that at the second reading in two weeks, the ordinance will be passed.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:48 PM
March 15, 2018
County Council, March 13
Fiscal burden of Naval Hospital purchase will be heavy in FY2020
Sale of 995 Morrison Drive could make a large differenceWarwick Jones
The forced acquisition of the old Naval Hospital (3600 Rivers Avenue) was a sad, expensive and unplanned event for the County. The specter loomed large in discussions in Committee meetings on Tuesday evening and will be shaping Council’s actions.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 03:49 PM
March 14, 2018
City Council, March 13
Council presses ahead with parking plans
Reluctance to request head tax on cruise ship passengersMarc Knapp
Raising the cost of metered parking on the Peninsula was not on the agenda. But a host of citizens turned out in Citizens Participation to protest the planned increase. The protests made no difference. The increases were approved last year and Council is moving ahead with the implementation.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 03:55 PM
February 27, 2018
City Council, February 26
Short term rental ordinance gets first reading
Council opts for more restrictive Task Force recommendationsMarc Knapp
The long awaited short term rental (STR) ordinance made it through the first reading last night. Its passage was not easy and some changes, perhaps modest, are likely before the second and final readings. Council members had many issues but most related to enforcement. Ultimately, only Council member Lewis and Mitchell opposed the ordinance.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 03:37 PM
February 23, 2018
County Council, February 22
James Island to create “civic” space at Folly/Camp Road intersection
County will lease land for $1 a yearWarwick Jones
Zoning matters took up about half of the discussion at yesterday’s meetings. Most of the balance related to the proposal by James Island to create a civic space on a parcel of land at the junction of Camp and Folly roads.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:31 PM
February 14, 2018
City Council, February 13
West Ashley unfairly treated say two Council members
Plan West Ashley gets nod, but unlikely for Johns Island moratoriumMarc Knapp
Two items on yesterday’s agenda dominated last night’s meeting – the Plan West Ashley plan and the proposed 6-month moratorium on the issuance of development permits on Johns Island. As expected, the Plan West Ashley was approved. Less expected was the deferral of a vote on the moratorium for two weeks. The discussion on Council prior to the deferral suggests that there is a strong chance that the moratorium will not be approved.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:21 PM
February 09, 2018
County Council, February 8
New head of Environmental Management
No enthusiasm for proposed changes relating to proxies and election of ChairWarwick Jones
There was not much to highlight at yesterday’s meetings. But notable was the resignation of the Director of Environmental Management. We do not know the reason for his resignation. Council was told that his resignation was effective only a few days ago. And from the tone of comments of the Environmental Management Chair, the resignation was a surprise. Chair Moody thanked staff member Tonya Lott for stepping so quickly into the management position left vacant by the resignation. Ms. Lott has been with the County for 3 years and has a background of experience in the industry.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 02:10 PM