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Charleston Design Review Changes Deferred

Mark Knapp
Citizen Reporter

It would appear more work is needed on a proposed ordinance to amend the city of Charleston’s Commercial Corridor Design Review District regulations.

City staffers told council members during the April 26 council meeting that proposed changes to regulations were designed to make the process more efficient.

The Commercial Corridor Design Review Board reviews requests for alterations, new construction and demolition of buildings along major commercial corridors outside the Old and Historic District and the Old City District.

Staff was to take on a wider role in the review process, displacing the review board in some decision making. Staff noted the cost of compliance with the regulations and particularly when members of the review board fail to turn up for meetings.

A number of citizens voiced concern about the changes and the inability of the public under the new regulations to express their views. They also had some good suggestions about possible improvements.

Councilman Timothy Mallard spoke vehemently about the need to streamline the process, to reduce costs for developers and to pass the proposed amendments.

A spokesman for the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce agreed that the cost of compliance exceeded that for the county and surrounding municipalities.

Council members seemed to agree that what was proposed was good but thought it could be bettered with more input from business, others and from suggestions by citizens in the public hearing.

The amended regulations are to be brought back before the council within two months.

Marc Knapp is a contractor specializing in heavy underground utilities and the owner of Charleston Site Utilities.

Citizen Reporter