The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance

The Watch



Tourism is Charleston's biggest industy. The City's ante- bellum houses, and history attract millions of tourists a year. Although the industry creates employment and prosperity, it does not always please the residents. Tourists crowd the streets and their cars contribute to traffic congestion. And traffic flow is not helped by the many horse carriages serving tourists. There have also been press reports that tourist themselves are complaining about the density of both people and traffic on the Peninsula, dulling the luster of the City as a tourist destination. A 2% accomodation tax is levied by the County on hotel and restaurant bills. The County argues that it benefits from this tax and that tourists pay most of it. Some of the tax goes back as grants to non-profits that are tourist related.

May 13, 2015

City Council, May 12
Tourist Management Plan adopted
But without the Planning Commission’s recommendations
Warwick Jones

It was a long meeting. We expected it would be because of the public hearing on the Tourist Management Plan. But a proposed change in the City’s procurement policy also generated substantial discussion and citizen comment.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:31 PM | Comments (0)

April 30, 2010

County Council, April 29
Potential economic boost from a new air line
Trash collection; a budget session warm up
Warwick Jones

The big news is that Charleston may again be served by a low fare airline. This could lead to hundreds of dollars in savings on individual flights to other major cities. But a subsidy will be required and County Council is looking to provide this by a 5% tax on car rentals.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:39 PM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2009

Tourism Commission, September 10
Votes to form committee to improve Carriage Horse ordinance
Views of independent veterinarian stir action

Warwick Jones

For some of us attending last night’s Tourism Commission meeting, the issues raised by Dr. Amy Hayek were too familiar. Dr Hayek was retained by the City to study and report on the horses used by the horse carriage industry. Some of her comments were very critical and were similar to those made by members of the public during the 3 years that the Carriage Horse Ordinance was being shaped. And those of us that attended last night’s meeting and those of the sub committee that shaped the Ordinance, applauded Dr Hayek. Representatives of the Carriage Industry did not, and bristled with hostility. Commissioner Doyle, who is the son of Mr. Tom Doyle, the principal of a carriage company, voted against the Commission’s plan to form a committee of three veterinarians to study issues raised by Dr Hayek and to propose changes in the Ordinance.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2009

Tourism Commission – subcommittee meeting August 12
Consultant’s report on carriage horses to be discussed at Tourism Commission meeting
Council member insists that problems to be addressed

Warwick Jones

We thought we were going hear a discussion of the critical report by Dr Amy Hayek on the condition of carriage horses in the City. But we were disappointed. The report was simply brought to the attention of the Quality of Life/Parking and Touring Rules Sub Committee of the City.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2008

County Council, August 14
Budget crunch – hard decision on taxes and spending
Questions need to be asked on Accommodation Fee funding
Warwick Jones

It didn’t need a crystal ball to forecast a necessary tightening of the Council’s budget. The decline in building activity over the last year is cutting fee revenue, and higher than anticipated fuel and other costs are boosting expenditures. This has forced the County to make adjustments to the current fiscal year’s budget. But according to the 5 year projections made by staff of revenues and spending for the General Fund, major adjustments will be necessary over the next few years.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 02:42 PM

April 24, 2008

Tourism Commission, April 23
Looking to review the Tourism Ordinance
Tree roots, gum studded poles and Xmas lights

Warwick Jones

On the recommendation of the Chair, Cathy Forrester, the Tourism Commission agreed to take the first steps in reviewing the City's Tourism Ordinance. The Chair noted that the ordinance is 10 to 20 years old and in need of review. The review would take some time but she wanted the Commission to approve the intent. A number of subcommittees needed to be formed to deal with various aspects of the ordinance. Each subcommittee should consist of some Commissioners and experts in the particular provenance. We hope that representatives of downtown neighborhoods most affected by tourists also be included.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:49 PM

February 28, 2008

Tourism Commission, February 27
Unusual but perhaps laudable conduct of meetings
Licensing of tour guides defended
Warwick Jones

We have not regularly covered meetings of the City’s Tourism Commission. Considering the importance of tourism to the City economy and its potential to disrupt the lives of its citizens, we plan to attend all future meetings.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)

January 23, 2008

Tourism Commission
No investigation contemplated of recent accident
Happy with carriage size and structure
Warwick Jones

We attended the Tourism Commission meeting tonight to see what it had to say about the recent accident where a horse carriage overturned on Meeting Street? The Commission oversees the industry and we thought there may be concern.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 08:21 PM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2008

Shrimp 'n Grits
One carriage flip away from a tragedy – Why?
Lee Walton

The City of Charleston and thirteen very fortunate tourists luckily averted a much more serious outcome following the wreck of a runaway carriage on the afternoon of January 9th. As reported in the Palter & Chatter on January 10th, “… at least six of the thirteen people aboard were injured when the carriage tipped over while turning onto Meeting Street.”

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 08:30 PM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2007

Too many horse carriages on the Pensinsula?
Some carriage companies are breaching regulations
Warwick Jones

There are mixed feelings about horse-drawn carriages on the Peninsula. Some residents feel they add to the historic charm of the district and help the tourism industry. Others say they clog traffic, and horses are worked sometimes in inhumane conditions. In response to citizen concerns, some years ago the City introduced an ordinance to regulate the industry. Most folk thought the ordinance limited the number of horse-drawn vehicles on the streets to 20 at any time, and that to ensure compliance, mandated carriages to carry a City-supplied medallion each time they embarked on a tour. The facts are slightly different. The ordinance gives the carriage companies considerable latitude in where they can travel, and without medallions. And indeed it seems to us that the carriage companies frequently breach the law.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 07:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 07, 2004

Horse carriage regulations are sorely needed

Jane Garrison
357 Anchor Circle, Charleston

I would like to clear up the inaccuracies in Tom Doyle's recent letter to the Post & Courier regarding Charleston's carriage horse industry.

Mr. Doyle claims that the Charleston carriage horse industry has an unblemished record and implied that the industry is unfairly burdened with restrictions regarding the care and treatment of horses. In actuality, the city of Charleston has no enforceable regulations regarding the care and treatment of horses used by this industry nor is there a system in place to track any incidents of abuse, neglect, or premature deaths of horses. Currently, heat restrictions are completely voluntary and other care and treatment issues, including stall size and carriage weight, are not addressed at all. Unlike Charleston - most cities that use carriage horses, including Savannah, New Orleans, Dallas, and Austin, have enacted city ordinances that mandate minimum standards of care for horses being used by the carriage horse industry.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:43 PM

July 01, 2004

Tourism Commission - Carriage Horse Committee considering new regulations

Pat Jones who covers Tourism

The Carriage Horse Committee met on June 30 to discuss a number of issues. Highlights were visits to the city's carriage horse facilities and a general greement amongst committee members that stall size, the weight of horses and heat should be added to the issues dealt with in the new regulations. Also discussed, was the possibility of lowering the external temperature at which the horses' internal temperature must be checked from 95 degrees to 90 degrees. This is to ensure that horses do not suffer from heat exhaustion.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 06:03 PM

June 14, 2004

Tourism - We could learn some lessons from Venice

The Editors

We are not saying that the tourist industry is out of control in Charleston. But some folk are worried that our quality of life is suffering. Pity poor Venice, it is really hurting as the following article from the New York Times illustrates. Charleston and Venice have some things in common - they are popular tourist destinations, redolent with history, with many or most, of their historic buildings preserved. They are both largely surrounded by water. Tourism represents about 70% of Venice's economy, far more than that for Charleston, estimated at about 20%. Visitors to Charleston city amount to an annual 2 million, well below the 15 million to Venice. The city of Charleston could well take a lesson from Venice's book in controlling the industry such as taxing tourist buses and making tourists pay much more for public transport. The administration has also posted notices forbidding certain behavior. Fortunately, our tourists are generally better behaved and the posting of such notices may generate more mirth rather than compliance.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 06:46 PM | Comments (0)