Advocacy Alerts

August 2021 E-Progress

preservation-admin , August 17, 2021


This evening, City Council will meet on Daniel Island to consider a number of pressing issues, including several key agenda items outlined below. The meeting will be live-streamed via the City’s YouTube channel, beginning at 5:00 PM. View the agenda here.

African American burial grounds in Cainhoy and at 88 Smith Street
Image courtesy of Post and Courier

Added Protections for Charleston’s African American Cemeteries
South Carolina cities are enabled to pass laws to preserve and protect abandoned or unmaintained cemeteries, yet up until now, Charleston has taken no action.

Development threats to vulnerable African American burial grounds in Cainhoy and at 88 Smith Street have added impetus to an ordinance Council will consider at tonight’s meeting. The new law would enable the City to stop construction if a developer receives notice that burial sites are present.

We support this effort and are also urging Council to take a step further by establishing a comprehensive inventory of burial sites citywide. Existing studies provide a strong foundation for such a mapping project that would increase predictability and give honorable protection to those laid to rest within its boundaries.

Laurel Island Phasing Plan

Laurel Island Development Agreement
The Preservation Society has been a key advocacy voice in leveraging a better balance of uses, strengthened affordable housing, and greater green space in the proposed development of Laurel Island. The Development Agreement under consideration allocates a significant amount of public funding to the project.

Overall, the PSC is pleased to see that a portion of the funding will support community-centered bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements projects from Laurel Island to West Ashley, as well as updates to Singleton Park. Further, while the terms of the agreement bind the City for a decade, they will not diminish commitments to affordable housing and strong design principles the PSC specifically pressed for.

Image courtesy of Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates

Carriage Tour Safety
Last year City Council directed City staff to consider new policies to improve safety measures for the carriage tour industry. PSC supported these efforts to help assure that Charleston remains a leader in tourism management.

Unfortunately, the Tourism Commission opted not to pass on to Council a series of measures developed by City staff that would support public safety. This includes licensing requirements, child safety rules, and emergency plans to protect visitors and residents as well as reduce the City’s legal exposure. We will urge Council to defer this item to better clarify to the public why these reasonable measures were omitted.

Image courtesy of Post and Courier

Special Commission on Equity, Inclusion and Racial Conciliation Report 
Tonight, City Council will also receive a set of 125 recommendations, put forth by the Special Commission on Equity, Inclusion, and Racial Conciliation to advance racial equity within the City of Charleston. Accordingly, Council will vote to create a permanent version of this Commission with the responsibility to advance the recommendations to appropriate City Boards and Commissions for further consideration.

The PSC supports making the SCEIRC permanent and looks forward to a thoughtful and transparent process for formally vetting its recommendations. We are also pleased to be named as a partner in the Housing and Mobility Subcommittee’s recommendation to develop procedures to prevent demolition by neglect and alleviate economic hardship for long-term homeowners pursuing renovation of their historic properties. Review the report here.

Director of Historic Preservation, Erin Minnigan

This September, Keeping History Above Water (KHAW) will host a two-day workshop in Salem, MA to address climate change impacts on historic resources. PSC Director of Historic Preservation, Erin Minnigan, has been selected as the Keynote Speaker and will highlight flood adaptation strategies utilized in Charleston to protect the city’s unique, architectural heritage.

Since 2016, the Newport Restoration Foundation has held Keeping History Above Water conferences in coastal communities throughout the United States to focus on “the increasing and varied risks posed by sea-level rise to historic coastal communities and their built environments.”

Thank you to the City of Salem, Salem Preservation Partners, and the Newport Restoration Foundation for making this important and proactive event possible. Click here to learn more details about the hybrid conference and to register.

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