The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance
City Council Meeting May 17
City tightens zoning before tattoo parlors are authorizedMarc Knapp
We confess that writing about last night's meeting is a challenge. Nothing much happened. There was the usual host of rezoning and annexation requests and most of these were passed as usual, without much discussion. One of the re-zonings before the Council last night was preparatory to an ordinance allowing the establishment of tattoo parlors in the City. The Council sought to change the zoning of much of the Industrial- zoned areas on the Peninsula to either Commercial or Residential categories. As it proposes to limit tattoo parlors to only industrial areas, this rezoning would keep the tattoo parlors away from residential areas, it is argued. The matter has already been discussed and approved by the Planning Commission.
We thought the passage of the re-zoning would be a breeze. After all, the idea had merit as most of the Industrial areas would have been more appropriately zoned Commercial or Residential considering the nature of properties surrounding them. However, not everybody was in agreement. Some folk argued that properties near Walnut Street should be re-zoned Residential rather than Commercial. After all, there had been considerable rejuvenation of the City in this area and it was becoming more residential.
A representative of another property owner argued that a change in zoning would jeopardize its plans for the future and cost the community a number of jobs. The company repairs shipping containers and chassis. It owns a block of land down town near Walnut Street and close to I 26. The land is presently vacant but the company intends to move much of its repair facilities to this site. The company has serviced the Columbus Street docks for many years and employs over 100 people. It was not clear how many people would be employed at the new site or when. But the spokesman for the company stated that if it could not use this site, then the containers and chassis would have to be moved to North Charleston for repair. This would add to expenses and the clogging of City roads.
A spokesman for the City stated that the very narrow roads in the Walnut Street area and traffic flow in King Street could make it difficult for any enterprise using the property for Industrial purposes. However, Council was concerned and voted to have re-zoning reconsidered.
We note that Council members Bleeker and Campbell were absent for last night's meeting. The mayor apologized on behalf of Council member Bleeker citing prior engagements. By coincidence, Council member Bleeker's father represented the container and chassis repair company. I guess she would have to recuse herself if she were there. We note that both Council members Bleeker and Campbell have missed a few meetings this year.