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August 18, 2018

County Council, August 16
Deliberations on future of old Naval Hospital
Northern pitchfork moves ahead, but Southern Pitchfork dead!
Warwick Jones

We don’t know the view of other Council members about what to do with the old Naval Hospital. There was no doubt about the view of Council member Qualey. Sell it now and take our loss.

Continue reading "County Council, August 16"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 11:42 AM

July 25, 2018

County Council, July 24
Greenbelt amendments approved, but Council divided
Structure of CARTA’s board questioned
Warwick Jones

It was the worst decision made in my 10 years on Council! This was the opinion of Council member Schweers on the decision by Council to change the allocation of greenbelt funding. The Council member was an original member of the Greenbelt Advisory Board, and a strong supporter of land conservation. Under the first half cent sales tax, greenbelt funding went 70% to rural projects and 30% to urban. Under the second half-cent sales tax, and approved last night, funding will be split evenly between rural and urban projects.

Continue reading "County Council, July 24"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:47 PM

July 18, 2018

City Council, July 17
Confusing change to agenda format
Considering “financial hardship” as a zoning change criteria
Marc 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.

Continue reading "City Council, July 17"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 05:30 PM

June 20, 2018

City Council, June 19
City apologizes for role in support of slavery
An intimidating meeting
Marc 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.

Continue reading "City Council, June 19"

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 approved
Warwick 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.

Continue reading "County Council, June 14"

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 deferred
Warwick 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.

Continue reading "County Council, May 31"

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 budgets
Warwick 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.

Continue reading "County Council, May 29"

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!

Continue reading "City Council, May 24"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 06:00 PM

May 09, 2018

City Council, May 8
No residential use allowed in industrial zonings
Police Advisory Council formed
Marc Knapp

It was not the longest of meetings. But it took some time for Council to get down to business.

Continue reading "City Council, May 8"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 02:41 PM

May 04, 2018

County Council, May 3
Trying to breathe life into the Pitchfork projects
Real hurdles remain
Warwick 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.

Continue reading "County Council, May 3"

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 rejected
Warwick 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.

Continue reading "City Council, April 24"

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 funding
Warwick 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.

Continue reading "County Council, April19"

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 bite
Marc 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.

Continue reading "City Council, April 10"

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 Plan
Warwick 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.

Continue reading "County Council, April 5"

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 Terrace
Warwick 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.

Continue reading "County Council, March 27"

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 meeting
Warwick 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.

Continue reading "City Council, March 26"

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 difference
Warwick 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.

Continue reading "County Council, March 13"

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 passengers
Marc 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.

Continue reading "City Council, March 13"

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 recommendations
Marc 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.

Continue reading "City Council, February 26"

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 year
Warwick 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.

Continue reading "County Council, February 22"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:31 PM