The Preservation Society of Charleston supports the Historic Ansonborough Neighborhood Association's call for a deferral of the Calhoun Street-East/Cooper River Waterfront Special Area Plan.
The City is requesting approval of the plan at the city council meeting to be held tonight at 5:00pm at City Hall, 80 Broad Street. Everyone is urged to attend the city council meeting to voice support for this request to defer the plan.
HISTORIC ANSONBOROUGH NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION
January 25, 2010
Mayor Riley and Members of City Council,
We request that a decision on the Calhoun Street-East/Cooper River Waterfront Plan, to be presented to City Council for approval and adoption at the January 26, 2010 meeting, be deferred. Further, we ask that a moratorium be placed on the implementation and passage of this and other plans relating to development of the eastern side of the lower Peninsula. The moratorium should remain in place until the promised Task Force has concluded its work, an all-encompassing traffic study has been completed, and the results of both have been presented to the public. We note that a task force to "oversee" all of the plans was first suggested at the HCF forum "A Delicate Balance." All the participants, including Mayor Riley, indicated their support for such an entity.
As evidenced by the enormous turnout of nearly 400 residents for the HCF forum, there is considerable concern about the adverse impact of all of the proposed plans: too many questions remain unanswered. The City is not doing its job if it moves ahead now on the Calhoun/Cooper Plan. The Union Pier Plan, or that for the broader area controlled by the SPA, have not been outlined. The City at this stage is not in a position to assess the cumulative impact of all these plans. It cannot submit in all veracity sufficient evidence to the residents of the City to assure them that these plans will not have a negative impact on the quality of their life and their city.
Historic Charleston Foundation Executive Director Kitty Robinson stated "The confluence of different projects seem to come very close to one another," that "so many are on the Cooper River side of the peninsula and will affect how residents on the peninsula live and how visitors will be able to see our city." Robinson went on to say the forum was a chance for people to "determine how to best upgrade the experience for residents and visitors through the tasteful incorporation of these major plans."
A Task Force proposed by HCF was to be formed and would report its findings to the citizens of Charleston. Three weeks have now passed and it seems little has been done to form the promised Task Force. What good is the Task Force after the fact? Once zoning regulations are altered, a Task Force recommendation to the contrary will be unable to undo the damage.
We note that the Post and Courier lauded the formation of a Task Force and suggested that members include representatives of the organizations that spoke at the HCF forum. We would support this suggestion but would also request that members be appointed who represent the neighborhoods that abut the proposed plans. These neighborhoods are the most affected by these plans.
"Residents of peninsular Charleston aren't asking for the moon. All they want is to slow down and carefully examine the spate of proposed development in and around their neighborhoods so that they can get an idea about what the cumulative impact will be. They want to help shape the decisions that will affect them directly. And they want that to happen before, not after, all those plans are approved." (P&C, January 10, 2010)
Pat Jones, President of HANA
71 Anson Street
Charleston, SC 29401