The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance

The Watch


Ansonborough Field

Ansonborough Field represents 12 acres of green space adjacent to the Aquarium. Prior to Hurricane Hugo in 1989, low-income housing sat on the site. But because of flooding, damage and alleged pollution from industry that originally occupied the site, the housing was cleared. The City administration plans a major development that will take up more than half the acreage. It will encompass condominiums, retail and commercial space and an hotel.

October 10, 2012

City Council, October 9
Bees Ferry residents speak up
Affordable Housing development to proceed on Ansonborough Field
Marc Knapp

City Council occasionally holds its meetings in locations other than City Hall. Yesterday’s was at the Bees Ferry Recreation Complex in the Grand Oaks subdivision, West Ashley. It was not well attended but it drew a number of the residents of the general area. Most of them rose in Citizens Participation and predictably, the common complaint was traffic – there was too much and there was insufficient control, particularly with other developments planned.

Continue reading "City Council, October 9"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:06 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2009

City Council, December 15, 2009
Council not a rubber stamp!
Deferrals on the Green Plan and Cal/Cooper Plan
Marc Knapp

There was a lot of time for reflection last night. City Council did not wind up its meeting until well after midnight. Issues relating to the extension of the agreement for the development of Ansonborough Field, public hearings on the City’s Green Plan and the Cal/Cooper Plan, and more discussion on next year’s budget took up the hours. If the Mayor had his way, the session would have ended much earlier. But he didn’t. Council refused to rubber stamp his proposals; it debated the merits and in some cases rejected the Mayor’s requests. And that was the reflection; Council has come a long way in the last few years.

Continue reading "City Council, December 15, 2009"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 02:51 PM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2007

City Council July 17, 2007
The Sofa Store site, Ansonborough Field and down-zoning on Johns Island
Too much for one evening!
Marc Knapp

Summer meetings are a test of endurance. Last night's was no exception. It lasted 5 hours. In summer, there's only one meeting per month instead of the normal two. Not surprisingly, the seats get uncomfortably hard and concentration impossible. It is not helped by some Council members raising trivial issues at the end of the meeting, seemingly designed to garner attention than to address real issues.

Continue reading "City Council July 17, 2007"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 06:12 PM | Comments (3)

March 30, 2006

Ansonborough Field. City seeks more "affordable housing"
Developers face a conundrum.
Warwick Jones

The City may not always be sensitive to criticism. But at least it has its finger in the wind. It seems as though it felt a need for more affordable housing on Ansonborough Field. But whether this breeze was real or imagined, we are unsure. African-American members of City Council originally wanted "affordable housing" included in the development of Ansonborough Field, a reflection of the fact that a housing project was demolished to make way for the development. But we sense that enthusiasm has waned as members realize that the housing to be provided as affordable, is not. The City is persevering to ensure substantial "affordable housing" will be built on the Field. As before, we think it makes no economic sense. (See Afforable Housing on Ansonborough Field? March 6, 2006)

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 07:16 PM

March 09, 2006

City Council March 7
Where is the scrutiny?
Questions on Ansonborough Field
Marc Knapp

Our thoughts turned to Mr. Bob George last night. Mr. George of course was the Council member that was defeated by Ms. Kathleen Wilson in the series of elections that began in November last. The ex-council member was a thorn in the side of the Mayor who went to a great and ultimately successful length to support her election bid. The new Council may be better liking to the Mayor. But it comes up short in other ways.

Continue reading "City Council March 7"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:05 AM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2006

"Affordable housing" on Ansonborough Field?
Developer's estimate suggests it makes no economic sense
Warwick Jones

We have often wondered how serious the City is about "affordable housing". We wondered out loud more than a year ago (November 25, 2004) in a note Hailed, Hyped and Hobbled suggesting that there had been a lot of talk but not much action over the years. This was followed in early 2005 with a flurry of intent by the City to move on a number of projects. Some of these projects are underway though the housing provided may still be beyond the financial capacity of those most in need. But if there is a single project that brings into question the City's policy, it is that of Ansonborough Field. Much of the "affordable housing" will be beyond the means of the needy and it will be provided by what amounts to effectively an incredible subsidy. Indeed, one has to ask as to why the City is persisting on providing "affordable housing" on Ansonborough Field? It makes no economic sense and can only be because of political considerations, or stubbornness.

Continue reading ""Affordable housing" on Ansonborough Field?"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 10:53 PM

March 01, 2006

Developers present plans for Ansonborough Field
A supermarket is proposed opposite the Aquarium
Warwick Jones

There are three finalists in the bidding to develop Ansonborough Field. Each gave presentations and a description of what they planned for the Field to a panel that consisted of City staff, the Mayor and some council members. No details relating to costs were discussed in the public part of the session though undoubtedly they were discussed in the executive sessions.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 11:29 PM

February 19, 2006

Shrimp 'n Grits
"Seventy-Six Condos"
Lee Walton

Seventy-six condos planned for Anson Field,
With a hundred 'n ten town homes just behind.
And as every builder knows, there'll be
Rows 'n rows 'n rows,
Of the most expensive housing of its kind.

Continue reading "Shrimp 'n Grits"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:22 AM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2005

City Council Meeting September 13
City cranks up its "affordable housing" program
What about Ansonborough Field?
Marc Knapp

Affordable Housing was the main topic in last night's council meeting. Fortunately, the discussion was more civilized than that of the previous Council meeting. Nor was there anything contentious.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 06:17 PM | Comments (0)

March 09, 2005

City Council Meeting March 8
Kwadjo Campbell takes center stage
Marc Knapp who covers City Council

His name was never mentioned. But Council member Campbell was the focus of last night's meeting. The Council member has been charged with marijuana possession and in the last few weeks, has been subjected to a lot of media attention. The Mayor has also sought his expulsion from Council.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 06:33 PM | Comments (2)

March 08, 2005

City Real Estate Committee Meeting - March 7
How much "affordable housing" on Ansonborogh Field? Problem with the "affordable housing" bond issue
Warwick Jones, Editor

The City spoke again of its broad plans for the development of Ansonborough Field at the Real Estate Committee meeting last night. Essentially the City plans on constructing about 250 condominium units, 2 small hotels, a possible building for a culinary school and some commercial space. It plans to move to a Request for Proposal (RFP) sometime in the next year or so. But last night's meeting was about pre-qualifying potential bidders for the project. The Mayor said that he hoped (expected) that there would be at least $5 million available from the RFP consideration that could be used to establish Concord Park and to pay the State Port Authority for a small parcel of land that abuts the Field. Concord Park will be the 5 acre space between the developments at either end of the Field.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 05:32 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2005

City Council Meeting - February 22
First step taken towards an African American Museum
But financing hurdle is high
Marc Knapp who covers City Council

As usually happens, the Mayor got his way. At issue was $250,000 of funding to make a preliminary study for a new African American Museum. But in fact, the issue was the museum itself. To approve the funding, the final objective had to be endorsed. After a spirited debate, the funding was approved, but not unanimously. Council members Shirley, Fishburne and George voted against the proposal. All black members of council voted for the funding.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 05:10 PM | Comments (1)

February 15, 2005

City reveals plans for Ansonborough Field
Project includes an hotel and "affordable housing".
Warwick Jones, Editor

The City's plans for Ansonborough Field got their first airing last week before the Historic Ansonborough Neighborhood Association (HANA). Few liked what they saw or heard. But there was no point in taking it out on the messengers.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:13 AM

September 08, 2004

The Historic Charleston Foundation - Watchdog or tail-waggin' Spaniel?

Warwick Jones, Editor

The Historic Charleston Foundation (HCF) can take pride in the large role it has played in preserving many of the City's historic houses. Over the years it has acquired houses, imposed covenants, and resold the properties to buyers prepared to maintain their historical integrity. It has also played the role of watchdog in BAR, Planning Commission and Zoning Board hearings, often opposing developments that were out of character with the surrounds. As well as these things, it holds house and garden tours that do much to advertise the charm and attraction of our city. So having paid these compliments, there were many of us wondering why the HCF plans to sell the McLeod Plantation property to the American School of Building Arts (SOBA), and why it was so supportive of the City's plan to raise the height restriction in the Ansonborough Field area? Prima facie, we would assume that HCF would have opposed both these moves.

Continue reading "The Historic Charleston Foundation - Watchdog or tail-waggin' Spaniel?"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2004

City Council Meeting, August 17
New Building Height Restrictions pass first reading
McLeod Plantation second hearing deferred
Marc Knapp who covers City Council

It was not a surprise. City Council passed the new building height restrictions for the Historic district. The restrictions were not contentious except for the Ansonborough Field area. Here the City wanted to increase the effective height to 70 ft as opposed to 55 ft, which broadly was the height restriction in other areas. The vote on Council was nearly identical to that taken over two years ago when the City first proposed the development of Ansonborough Field. Robert George and Kwadjo Campbell voted "against", and every body else "for". The exception was Wendell Gilliard who was absent last night.

Continue reading "City Council Meeting, August 17"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 02:40 PM

August 06, 2004

Green space - Can we take Mayor Riley seriously?

Warwick Jones, Editor

"In the blink of an eye, we could destroy an irreplaceable natural area or allow a use which irresponsibly changes a special place. Therefore we must be more prepared than ever. We must have a community vision and sound proactive initiatives in place. All developments and physical changes in our community must pass two fundamental tests. First, is what is planned excellent? Is it the best it can be? If the answer is no, it shouldn't be done. Second, will what is being proposed be useful and celebrated from 50 to 100 years from now? if the answer is no, it must not be allowed. We don't have to make compromises in quality now, if ever we did." Mayor Riley. 2000 Inaugural Address

Mayor Riley has made a lot of noise in the past about Charleston's need for green space. Actually we have press clippings that go back to 1975 where he is quoted about the need. There also was a charette the City organized on parks and green space a month or so after the charette on Ansonborough Field. I suppose that this was some sort of palliative for us who resented the loss of Ansonborough Field, or a large part of it, to the developer's hoe.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 03:57 PM | Comments (1)

July 29, 2004

Trying to make sense

Sarah Ashton
76 Pitt Street

Lets see... Support the ½ sales tax to purchase more green space. Develop Ansonborough Field.......Makes a lot of sense doesn't it?

Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:51 AM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2004

Planning Commission Meeting, July 12 (cont)

City gets its way with new height limitations

Ansonborough Field development near certain

Pat Jones who covers Planning

Well the city got its way. The Planning Commission voted to increase the allowable height for new construction in the Ansonborough Field area. The height limit will be 55 feet but if developers meet certain conditions, they will be allowed to add another story and buildings can rise to a maximum of 70 feet. However, the top story cannot exceed 50% of the footprint of the building with a maximum of 25% devoted to habitable space and the balance for mechanics etc.

Continue reading "Planning Commission Meeting, July 12 (cont)"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 09:40 PM

June 11, 2004

Objections to proposed change in some city building heights

Warwick Jones, Editor

Some City residents are very concerned about the proposed changes to building heights in the eastern part of the Peninsula Area. The specific area encompasses East Bay Street to the Cooper River, an area that includes Ansonborough Fields. The proposed changes were outlined by the City's Design Development and Preservation Department in a presentation to the Historic Ansonborough Neighborhood Association on June 9.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)

May 21, 2004

P&C supports Mayor again on Ansonborough Fields. Surprised?

Patricia Jones

The Post and Courier is at it again. It supported the city's plan to raise building height limitations on the area around Ansonborough Fields, even though it probably did not fully understand what was proposed. In the editorial on Friday, May 21, 2004, it strongly favored the changes proposed by the City to height and set back for sections of the historic district. Interestingly. the Planning Commission found that the increases proposed for the area around Ansonborough Fields were too complex and that further information and time were needed. The language used by the city in describing the changes was obfuscating and not enlightening; a view seemed to be shared with the Commission. I suppose this made no difference to the P&C opinion. As it is evident in relation to Ansonborough Fields, the sales tax increase, CARTA and everything else, there is never a difference between the editorial opinion of the P&C and that of the City Administration, and in this case even if the issue was not fully understood.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 04:17 PM

May 19, 2004

Will Ansonborough Fields save the Aquarium?

The Editors
The mayor is going to a lot of trouble to develop Ansonborough Fields. Could it be an effort to save the Aquarium, or at least an effort to lessen the financial hemmhorage? The mayor is intent on some form of development on the site that leads to the Aquarium. The development will include space for retail stores as well as affordble housing. Will this be enough to make a difference? We doubt it.

Posted by Warwick Jones at 08:56 PM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2004

What support for development of Ansonborough Field?

Warwick Jones

Despite what the mayor says and despite the assertion in a letter to the P&C, the city-sponsored charrette on Ansonborough Fields did not endorse the development the mayor proposes. From the beginning this was largely a proposal of the administration. I attended every meeting of the charrete including the conclusion and I failed to see or hear any overwhelming support for development of any variety. But the speakers from the city seemed intent on pressing for some form of development.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 08:03 PM | Comments (0)