The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance
February 24, 2017
County Council, February 23
Serving the underserved communities
County may study some suggestions by Mr. Kwadjo CampbellWarwick Jones
It was a light agenda for all of the committee meetings yesterday. Appointments took up much of the time of the Finance Committee but it was a presentation to the Economic Development Committee that took up most of the time.
February 15, 2017
City Council, February 14
New zoning ordinance for historic districts passed
Another resolution in support of I-526 completionMarc Knapp
Council approved the ordinance reshaping the zoning of the Historic District at the first reading last night. The reshaping has been in the works for some time and its form was presented to the public last week. There was strong applause from the public and preservation groups though many thought the ordinance needed more though modest work. From the reaction last night, City Council shared the opinion of the public and preservation groups.
February 03, 2017
County Council, February 2
Council agrees to supplement funding for I -526
But where will the funds come from?Warwick Jones
It may be premature to say, but the completion of I-526 now seems possible, though hardly certain. Completion has been in limbo as the County, the State Infrastructure Bank (SIB) and the Department of Transportation faced off over funding the completion. It seems that the SIB will be agreeable to providing the funding it originally promised ($425 million) if the County ponied up the balance of $345 million. Last night, the County agreed to provide the extra funding, but to the chagrin of some Council members, gave no indication as the source of the funds. The ordinance before Council committed the County to providing $150 million directly and $195 million from federal sources through CHATS.
January 21, 2017
County Council, January 19
Preparing for spending half-cent sales tax funds
Policy for allocating Community Investment Funding approved
Policy for allocating Community Investment Funding approvedWarwick Jones
Discussions relating to spending the funds raised by the recently approved half-cent sales tax took up the major part of last night’s Finance Committee meeting. No motions were made and no votes counted. But there were some issues.
January 11, 2017
City Council, January 10
Issue over award of Consultant contract
Zoning change proposed to boost affordable housingMarc Knapp
Council member Waring had a point. He made it and Mayor Tecklenberg lost his cool, well almost. The Council member questioned the role that “Josh” Martin, the Mayor's assistant, played in choosing the consultant to the West Ashley Revitalization Commission (WARC). And the Mayor reacted with hostility that anyone should question the integrity or ability of Mr. Martin.
December 21, 2016
City Council, December 20
Asks State to allow inclusionary zoning for affordable housing
Council not happy about proposed consultant hireWarwick Jones
We thought the most interesting item on the agenda for last night’s meeting was the resolution relating to affordable housing. It seemed that Council did not share our view for there was no discussion. We thought there should have been.
December 16, 2016
County Council, December 15
To expand Minority Small Business program
Agrees to make executive sessions last agenda itemWarwick Jones
There was heat and confusion over the plan to expand the County’s minorities’ small business program. Staff made a presentation about a month ago but was instructed to come back with a budget and more details. This they did but there was a lot of discussion before agreement was reached.
December 07, 2016
City Council, December 6
Divisions over Accommodation tax allocations
Council wants more engagementMarc Knapp
Accommodation tax issues dominated last night’s Council meetings. Although the 2017 budgets for both the Accommodation Tax and Hospitality Fee were passed with only one vote against, there was much dissatisfaction- with the nature of the State ordinance, and with the recipients.
December 02, 2016
County Council, December 1
West Ashley TIF district approved
Resolution needed on Community Investment funding
It wasn’t a surprise. Mayor Tecklenberg did what was requested and the Finance Committee approved the West Ashley Tax Increment Financing district in the City of Charleston.
November 16, 2016
County Council, November 15
Approval for West Ashley TIF district likely
City looking to make provision of Affordable Housing mandatory
We suspect there was a lot of discussion between City and County Council members prior to last night’s County meeting. At its last meeting, the County Finance Committee voted down the West Ashley TIF district proposed by the City of Charleston and clearly, Mayor Tecklenberg and City Council members were disappointed. The revitalization of West Ashley is a major objective of the Mayor and the TIF was possibly the most important tool in achieving it.
November 12, 2016
County Council, November 10
Finance Committee rejects West Ashley TIF
But extends funding for North Charleston Convention Center projectWarwick Jones
The redevelopment of West Ashley has been an important goal of Mayor Tecklenberg and some members of City Council. But so far it has not been an easy path. Despite the wide approval of its goals, the creation of the Commission overseeing the redevelopment took some time, and it began working only a month or so ago. But progress may be at a slower pace than the Mayor and City Council expected.
November 11, 2016
City Council, November 10
Shaping the process to appoint Board and Commission members
Bike hire contract signedMarc Knapp
In deference to Council members and others doing their own thing on Election Day, the normal Tuesday Council meeting was held last night instead. Maybe it was the shock of the election result, or simply the emptiness of the agenda, the meeting lacked energy though not of enthusiasm. Council members unanimously supported the reappointment of Leonard Krawcheck to the Board of Zoning Appeals, and the Bike Share Contract.
November 02, 2016
County Council, November 1
More criticism of the Chair
But some went too farWarwick Jones
Last night’s meeting was tense. It had nothing to do with what was on the agenda. It had all to do with the Chairman’s comments to the Coastal Conservation League and Nix 526, published in the Post and Courier some weeks ago. But we will start this commentary with the report on the first item of Council’s agenda – a presentation which is relevant to citizen’s comments.
October 26, 2016
City Council, October 25
City continues in good fiscal shape
Vote still stands at 75% to reverse PC decisionsMarc Knapp
We didn’t expect any surprises arising from the Budget Workshop held prior to yesterday’s Ways and Means meeting. However the news was good. Although two months remain in the year, staff expects the City will come close or indeed exceed it budget targets. And it expects another good year in 2017 with no tax increase anticipated.
October 19, 2016
County Council, October 18
Where is the outrage on the Chair’s comments?
Planning for the development of 995 Morrison Drive
Where is the outrage? Perhaps the Presidential election has sucked it out of us. Most folk think the candidates of the two major parties are eminently unworthy to lead the county – they lack honor, integrity, honesty, ability and other things. The prospect that one of these candidates will be the future President, depresses most of us. And set against this prospect, the recent transgressions of the County Chair are in deep shadow. And although we may condemn Chairman Summey for what he said, it seems relatively unimportant.
October 14, 2016
County Council, October 13
A step forward on the new MRFWarwick Jones
Chairman Summey dug himself a deep hole. It is a very deep hole and we doubt that he will be able to climb out. The comments he made about fellow Council members, black people and local politicians were offensive and crude. His private and public views and actions on I-526 were extreme perfidy. Also very telling is his naivete, if we are polite, or his arrogance, if we are realistic. To think that he could make these comments to groups and not be reported in the press or elsewhere begs belief.
September 30, 2016
County Council, September 29
Some uncertainty about MRF contract
Resolution by next Council meeting probableWarwick Jones
Will the County ever build a recycling facility? It’s getting closer but if Council member Qualey had his way, a decision would be deferred for another 6 months. He wanted to wait and see if the new Material Recycling Facility (MRF) now under consideration in Berkeley County is successful. But as his peers remarked, can the County wait another 6 months and indeed, will 6 months be sufficient to see it built and assessed?
September 28, 2016
City Council, September 27
Developer surprises City and opponents
Voting by phone more strictly proscribed
Some residents of James Island were looking for a fight. They were very unhappy about the development on Maybank Highway that began life under a Gathering Place (GP) Zoning but now a Planned Unit Development. They thought that proposed was still too dense and large, and that too many trees were being sacrificed. They wanted the project to go before the Design Review Board, even though it seemed there was no legal liability for it to do so.
September 16, 2016
County Council, September 15
SC DOT opinion sought on Legare Bridge lane closure
Issues over Community Investment allocationsWarwick Jones
The creation of a bike lane by the closure of a traffic lane on the Legare Bridge was the most important item on last night’s agenda. It seemed to us that most Council members were unhappy about the proposal but did not want to pull the trigger to kill it. Instead, they voted to approve a motion by Council member Pryor - to ask the Department of Transportation (SC DOT) if the lane closure was viable and the bridge was structurally sound, and as such, could the SC DOT approve the construction plans as in the MOU with the City of Charleston, the County and the SC DOT?
September 14, 2016
History and Preservation
Toward a More Truthful and Useful Charleston HistoryCharlie Smith
When the Charleston County Planning Commission's sub-committee on Historic Preservation announced last year that consultants had been hired to conduct the 2016 update of the Historic Resources Survey, I was initially very excited that we would finally be addressing some of our past failures to protect important historic sites and buildings throughout Charleston County.