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City Council, February 8

Update of Century V Plan
New taxi tariff for Peninsula: Counsel’s opinion on procedures
Marc Knapp

Council breezed through the Way and Means Agenda in minutes. The City Council agenda took a little longer but would have been very short but for the presentations and recognitions.

Probably the most important item on the City agenda was the first reading of an update and amendment of the Century V Comprehensive Master Plan. There was little discussion of the item and only Council member Gregorie voted against it. The amendment was subject to a Public hearing late last year.

The Post and Courier ran an article in today’s edition about some of the items that had been changed since the public hearing. It noted;

  1. Entire sections dealing with energy use and sustainability had been deleted.

  2. Land use maps no longer showed the proposed Sea Island Greenway across Johns Island

  3. A proposal to allow accessory dwelling units – a second smaller residence on some properties – in many areas of the City, was deleted.

  4. Recommendations to encourage the use of native plant species, more trees, the protection of farm quality soils, and measures to reduce storm water runoff were added.

  5. A goal of having a park and a bike path within half a mile of each residence was added.

Council member Alexander noted his concern about the text relating to homelessness in the update and hoped this did not lead to Charleston being a destination city for the homeless as has Fresno in California. Councilmember Gregorie noted that any approach would be over the long term and on a regional basis. According to the P&C, he voted against the amendment because of the elimination of the Sustainability chapter, and no attempt to address education policies.

Other items discussed last night included;

  1. A recommendation by the Traffic and Transportation Committee to introduce a single taxi tariff for transport on the Peninsula – a flat fare of $5 with an increase of $1 for every extra person. So 3 people riding from City Hall to MUSC say, would be charged a total of $7. Meters would not be used. There will be a public hearing before Council makes any decision.
  2. Counsel for the City, Charlton deSaussure also told members that the Mayor had not transgressed procedure rules when he interrupted a debate to make a clarification. Council member Gregorie sought Counsel’s opinion at the meeting on January 11, 2011. Mr. deSaussure noted that procedure at Council meetings was government by City ordinances. Although Roberts Rules also applied, they were subordinate to those of Council.

    Yes, it was a lengthier explanation than we have given and, no reflection on Mr. De Saussure, I did not fully understand it. But suffice to say Council Member Gregorie said he was happy with the explanation. Council member Mallard made no comment on the issue.

  3. In these tough times, there has been a lot of attention to cost cutting. I was browsing through the City web site recently and decided to look at staff salaries. I suppose all of us have different opinions as to what city folk should be paid. In my opinion some should be paid more and some less. But I make no issue over this. But I did rise in Citizen Participation to note that the Mayor has two assistants, each earning over $100,000 a year – before benefits. I question why the Mayor needs two assistants. If the Department Heads are doing their job, two should be unnecessary, in my opinion.

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