Livable News

The first step to becoming a better advocate for your community is awareness of the latest events and issues that affect Charleston’s character and quality of life. The Preservation Society aggregates pertinent local, regional, and national news and articles as a resource for the community.

Take time to get Johns Island right
News :: February 11, 2018

The Johns Island Community Plan adopted by Charleston City Council in 2007 is an excellent document for the most part. Too bad it has just been sitting on a shelf since then.

Charleston could halt development on Johns Island for 6 months over traffic concerns
News :: February 8, 2018

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg will ask City Council on Tuesday for a six-month moratorium on residential developments on Johns Island, which could delay the construction of about 2,000 homes planned within the city's limits.

We Need Complete Neighborhoods
News :: February 7, 2018

Cities are divided into neighborhoods, and if you’ve ever spent time living in a walkable city without a car, you know that your quality of life is largely dependent on the amenities within your neighborhood — the walkshed of your home.

Senate committee OKs bill allowing tourism to fund drainage projects
News :: February 5, 2018

A bill that would allow municipalities to use tourism revenue to fund drainage projects and flood abatement efforts is working its way through the S.C. Legislature.

Rising development a growing threat to Charleston
News :: February 4, 2018

Charleston is being threatened by the universal force of water: storms, rains, flooding, and rising seas. We live in the Lowcountry, formed as the sea receded during the last Ice Age. We live on a remnant shoreline just a few feet above today’s sea level. Water flows downhill to the sea. Its path twists and turns, following the subtle path of least resistance above and below ground. It carves streams into the softer soils along the path of least resistance like the roots of trees through soil that also helps water seep into the land.

Planning Commission sends short-term rental rules to City Council
News :: February 1, 2018

The city's Planning Commission said that properties outside of the Old and Historic districts must only be five years old to qualify for a short-term rental license in a Wednesday night meeting.

'Imperfect' rules for Charleston's short-term rentals now in the hands of city's elected leaders
News :: January 31, 2018

A standing-room-only crowd showed up at Wednesday’s Planning Commission meeting to get in a few last requests before the vote. This was the fifth time the commission has considered the subject, following six months of work by a citizens committee.

The High Cost of Short Term Rentals in New York City
News :: January 30, 2018

new report from McGill Urban Planning professor David Wachsmuth and his team provides an analysis of Airbnb activity in New York City and the surrounding region in the last three years (September 2014 - August 2017). 

Tackle short-term rentals soon
News :: January 27, 2018

As the Planning Commission and City Council continue the debate about short-term rentals, the alternatives are clear — protect our neighborhoods by adopting the STR Task Force’s and city staff’s recommendations or forever lose what makes our city special.

Boston Moves to Regulate Short Term Rentals Like Airbnb
News :: January 26, 2018

Their message: investors on Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms are buying up property to serve as short-term rentals, putting even more strain on the already tight long-term housing market and displacing low-income residents in the process.

Charleston's International African American Museum gets $100,000 from First Citizens Bank
News :: January 25, 2018

Charleston's International African American Museum moves closer to its fund-raising goal with a $100,000 donation from First Citizens Bank.... At last count about $6 million more was needed before seeking bids for construction.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg expected to set more livability goals in State of the City address
News :: January 23, 2018

“We do many things in city government every day, and all of these initiatives matter. But now is not a moment for big speeches about small things. Instead, it is a time for setting clear priorities. It's a time for speaking directly about our plans."

News :: January 14, 2018

Illegal short-term rentals are a little like palmetto bugs — turn on the light and they go scurrying out of sight. Let me explain.

Why the West Ashley annexation battle could spell trouble for traffic, drainage and preservation
News :: December 23, 2017

Charleston and North Charleston are fighting over a huge territory in West Ashley in an epic annexation clash not seen since Charleston took Daniel Island in the early 1990s.

What Charleston's proposed short-term rental rules would mean in your neighborhood
News :: December 20, 2017

The Charleston Planning Commission is expected to take its final vote Wednesday on one of the area's most contentious topics: a proposed ordinance regulating short-term rentals in the city.

The world's most popular tourist destinations are being 'loved to death'
News :: December 16, 2017

An influx of new travelers can have a major impact on the environment and locals’ livelihoods

Short-term rentals threaten to drive up Charleston's high housing prices and displace residents
News :: November 25, 2017

Over the past few years, many homes traditionally rented by residents have been converted to short-term rentals. In popular neighborhoods, property owners can earn twice as much renting to visitors as they would leasing to long-term tenants, according to data from Airdna, a California-based consulting and analytics firm that tracks Airbnb rentals.

Folly Beach's short-term rentals a 'huge moneymaker,' but city aims to rein in crowds, loud parties
News :: November 16, 2017

Folly Beach is taking steps toward cracking down on short-term rentals that disturb their neighborhood's tranquility with big crowds and loud music. City Council is weighing new rules that would apply to properties rented for fewer than 30 days. Hotels, motels, inns and bed and breakfasts would be exempt. Protecting the quality-of-life, tracking short-term rentals and ensuring public health and safety are goals of the effort.

Charleston's housing crisis is on pace to mirror San Francisco's. Shunning development could make it worse.
News :: November 5, 2017

The Charleston region is quickly becoming a place only the wealthy can afford to live. With soaring housing prices, stagnant wages and a swelling population, the Lowcountry is barreling down the same path that made cities such as New York and San Francisco some of the most expensive places in the world to call home.

How Airbnb Affects Home Prices and Rents
News :: October 24, 2017

The home-sharing service's listings may take long-term rentals off the market in an area

Why is 'Affordable' Housing So Expensive to Build?
News :: October 23, 2017

As costs keep rising, it's becoming harder and harder for governments to subsidze promects like they've done in the past.

City of Charleston Transportation Plan
News :: October 18, 2017

The City of Charleston has faced tremendous growth in the past twenty years and needs your help in determining transportation options for the future.

Hicks column: Where do you park all that traffic rolling into Charleston?
News :: October 11, 2017

This is just how ridiculous it has become to park in downtown Charleston:

The city is currently trying to find 30 parking spaces for a business that wants to set up shop downtown. You know, economic development. The company already has office space, but nowhere for its employees to drop their cars during the day.

Charleston City Council approves plans to help fund Lowcountry Low Line, Ashley River pedestrian bridge
News :: October 11, 2017

Charleston City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday to help fund the Lowcountry Low Line and an additional bridge over the Ashley River, setting two of the region's most ambitious bike and pedestrian projects on a path to reality.

Charleston's first parking study in 20 years could bring new parking rules, higher fees downtown
News :: October 7, 2017

The process of updating the city of Charleston's parking system downtown for the first time in 20 years could vastly change where people can park, how long they can stay in one space, and how much they'll have to pay for it.

Build bike, pedestrian bridge
News :: October 7, 2017

Charleston County Council has been the only thing standing in the way of a safe route for bicyclists and pedestrians to cross the Ashley River in the short term. A thoroughly vetted plan to convert one lane of the Legare Bridge for non-car traffic was senselessly voted down in August.

Bike, pedestrian bridge over Ashley River gets $3 million in Charleston County support
News :: October 6, 2017

A plan for an $18 million bike and pedestrian bridge over the Ashley River near the T. Allen Legare Bridge cleared a hurdle Thursday.

Mass transit for the future
News :: October 6, 2017

It’s going to be a while — about another seven years — before passengers step aboard Charleston’s first true mass transit system. That’s just the frustrating nature of building a major new infrastructure project in the current federal regulatory environment.

Stand-alone Ashley River bridge for cyclists and walkers proposed
News :: October 5, 2017

After decades of controversy and failed proposals, it might still be possible for cyclists and walkers to get a safe path across the Ashley River.

Urban Americans Want to Age in Their Neighborhoods
News :: October 5, 2017

Plenty of retirees still dream of retiring to a sun-soaked southern locale—witness the still-vigorous growth of cities like Phoenix, Arizona, and Fort Myers, Florida. But the vast majority of older Americans—more than 70 percent of those over 50, according to a 2014 AARP survey - plan to “age in place,” or stay in their homes or communities. 

Strong stand on rentals
News :: October 5, 2017

Months of work by the Charleston Short Term Rental Task Force culminated last week when the group voted to send to the Planning Commission a draft of what may well be one of the country’s toughest ordinances on the issue short of an outright ban.

Here's How 1,379 Affordable Housing Programs Stack Up
News :: October 2, 2017

Anticipating a less affordable future, Philadelphia is considering requiring developers of residential projects of 10 units or more to set aside 10 percent of units at rents or purchase prices below market rate. New Orleans has a similar voluntary program right now — and it could become permanent. In Boston, developers can pay into an affordable housing fund to get zoning clearance to build bigger.

Coast Is Clear: South Carolina's tourism industry working to make up losses after storm scares
News :: September 30, 2017

For the third year in a row, businesses that cater to visitors along the South Carolina coast are working to salvage the early fall tourist season after a major storm.

The race to find equity and accountability for short-term rentals
News :: September 27, 2017

Seated around a table inside a small room at the Gaillard Center, members of Charleston's Short-Term Rental Task Force were almost two hours into their Sept. 20 meeting when Richard Buchanan first spoke at length. The reserved attorney appointed to the task force by City Councilman Peter Shahid had remained fairly silent as the group debated the finer points of shaping the new set of regulations that will govern short-term rentals throughout the city. But when Buchanan did address his fellow task force members, it wasn't to discuss parking requirements or business permits. His concern was the rapidly changing city that hummed around him.

CARTA offers support for app to help riders navigate local bus routes
News :: September 26, 2017

Just in time for fall, CARTA has announced a new tool to help riders navigate the local public transportation network. Partnering with mobile app Transit, local riders will now be able to receive real-time updates on when their bus will arrive, navigate their trip step by step, and learn about any delays or disruptions in service. 

New North Charleston apartments offer discount to first responders, educators
News :: September 25, 2017

North Charleston's newest apartment community opens its first units later this fall and is offering a special rate for first responders and educators.

Charleston Short-Term Rental Task Force votes to send proposal to City Planning Commission
News :: September 25, 2017

The city of Charleston's Short-Term Rental Task Force voted Monday to send a proposal for new regulations to the city's Planning Commission.

'It's just not safe': Two years after Charleston's Rethink Folly Road plan, progress is slow
News :: September 24, 2017

Two years after a $500,000 study was developed to envision a new future for James Island's main corridor, efforts to transform Folly Road into a complete street remain on the slow track.

City should tax tourists to help pay for flooding solutions
News :: September 23, 2017

Which is worse: They didn’t know — or they didn’t tell us?

After years of dodging the truth, the city finally put a number on what it will cost to save Charleston from the rising seas: more than $2 billion. As scary as the $2 billion number is, the words “more than” should be equally chilling. What government construction project do you know has ever come in on budget and on time?

'Time-out' on Johns Island
News :: September 22, 2017

Is Johns Island built-out? At 84 square miles, it’s the fourth-biggest island on the East Coast, about a third of it in the city of Charleston and within a self-imposed Urban Growth Boundary (UGB).

Rest of Magnolia project site in Charleston is sold at bankruptcy auction
News :: September 20, 2017

A Texas real estate firm is set to buy 31 acres of the Magnolia property on the upper peninsula and is in talks to acquire the rest of the site, setting up a revival of the long-dormant redevelopment project.

CVB takes on staffing crisis threatening Charleston's reputation for hospitality
News :: September 20, 2017

Even though it’s collecting resumes from culinary school graduates and working food-and-beverage professionals across the country, the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau hasn’t yet solved the thorny problems of housing and transportation that people relocating for a downtown restaurant job will inevitably face. So as a safeguard, the organization is now recruiting people who don’t have a background in the industry, but already have a peninsular address.

Chugging along: South Carolina commercial real estate market humming in economic boom
News :: September 17, 2017

Construction cranes dot the skyline. The stock market is on a tear. And the economy is on more solid footing after the long slog from the last recession.

Housing protections at work
News :: September 15, 2017

One of the last relatively affordable apartment complexes on the Charleston peninsula will soon disappear only to be replaced by a massive new 300-room hotel and expensive new residences.

Charleston City Council approves $12 million bond to help East Side, funded by special tax district
News :: September 13, 2017

The city of Charleston's long-delayed plan to improve the peninsula's upper East Side is showing signs of life again.

City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a plan for $12 million in bonds generated by a special tax district in that area to fund capital improvements for revitalization of parts of the East Side, North Central and East Central neighborhoods.

Grapevine: A different kind of 'listening session' for Charleston short-term rentals
News :: September 11, 2017

Like a nice, quiet evening? You'll probably want to avoid downtown Charleston at 7:08 p.m. on any given Friday.

That's the precise moment when overall average volume levels are the highest in the Holy City, according to a new report from NoiseAware, a Dallas company that monitors decibels at short-term rentals, such as those offered through Airbnb.

Irma a reminder about flood insurance in South Carolina
News :: September 10, 2017

Jennifer Fanning has been piling her floor covering materials up off the floor. She's been through this drill before.

In 2015 her North Charleston store was flooded out after heavy rain in August, leaving her with $300,000 in damages. Then rain came through the roof during the October deluge that swamped much of the state. In 2016, pools of rain from Hurricane Matthew leaked in through the walls.

Yes, This is Transit
News :: September 5, 2017

I always tell transit advocates that, if you really want transit, build a place. Successful transit connects successful places (and sorry, Andy Card, but a park-and-ride is not a successful place). 

Tough new rules on rentals
News :: September 3, 2017

Charleston’s Short Term Rental Task Force still has two more meetings to develop a draft ordinance to present to City Council this fall. But after eight months of meetings, the outlines of what that ordinance will look like are starting to take shape.

So far, the plan looks like a good one.

Group of Charleston area business leaders aim to build support for CARTA's bus rapid transit system
News :: August 28, 2017

Charleston County voters decided in November to fund a bus rapid transit system with the new half-cent sales tax, but the effort to build local support for the project is still in full swing.

Short-term rentals spiked across South Carolina as visitors flocked to S.C. for solar eclipse
News :: August 27, 2017

With hordes of visitors coming to South Carolina last week to catch the solar eclipse but too few hotels to lodge them, homeowners earned millions of dollars renting their homes to the star-gazing travelers.

Airbnb, an online booking platform for short-term home rentals, reported that 10,600 guests stayed in Airbnb-booked properties in the Palmetto State on Aug. 21, generating a combined $2 million for hosts. It was the company's biggest night ever in South Carolina, exceeding its expectation of 7,000 guests. 

South Carolina local governments turn to moratoriums to pause too-rapid growth, or used car lots
News :: August 26, 2017

Moratoriums are what can happen when residents and local officials feel like they’re getting too much of something too fast and feel overwhelmed.

Increasingly, residents of fast-growing areas across South Carolina have been calling for temporary freezes on certain types of development — sometimes lasting years — and local governments have been approving them.

Safe bike route still essential
News :: August 19, 2017

Charleston County Council can no longer hide behind endless, pointless studies and delays. Councilmembers simply do not support a vital, potentially lifesaving project to convert one of four lanes on the T. Allen Legare Bridge over the Ashley River for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Mount Pleasant cruises
News :: August 18, 2017

Charleston continues to welcome, if that’s the word, 104 cruise ship stops a year. That’s the maximum number that city officials agreed to accept in a pact with the State Ports Authority. Years later, it continues to generate controversy, and a lawsuit to halt it is still pending.

Proactive work on parking
News :: August 18, 2017

Minimum wage workers shouldn’t be asked to trade more than two hours worth of pay to park in a parking garage in downtown Charleston while they work. Unfortunately, that’s exactly the situation in which many of the peninsula’s hospitality and restaurant workers find themselves.

City of Charleston to Update Permit Software
News :: August 14, 2017

The City of Charleston will switch to a new and improved permit and land management software, EnerGov, on August 14, 2017.  With this upgrade, users will have access to online permit management, increased reporting capabilities, as well as inspection scheduling and tracking.

Individuals who frequently do business with the City are encouraged to register for a free Customer Access Portal (CAP) account, which enables users to schedule inspections and renew business licenses online. Beginning in late 2017, CAP users will also be able to submit, pay, and track permit applications and code violation complaints online.

New study appears to doom Ashley River bridge bike lane conversion
News :: August 11, 2017

A new study casts big doubts about whether the T. Allen Legare Bridge over the Ashley River will ever have a lane converted for bike and pedestrian use.

The city and county of Charleston entered into an agreement with the state Department of Transportation to make the change, but the project has been deferred for three traffic studies that looked at its impact on vehicle traffic.

First Venice and Barcelona: now anti-tourism marches spread across Europe
News :: August 10, 2017

With the continent sweltering under a heatwave nicknamed Lucifer, tempers have been boiling over, too, as a wave of anti-tourism protests take place in some of Europe’s most popular destinations. Yet, as “tourism-phobia” becomes a feature of the summer, the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has defended the sector, calling on local authorities to do more to manage growth in a sustainable manner.

West Ashley Revitalization Commissioner pushed group to consider a transit technology he invested in
News :: August 8, 2017

The national urban planning firm hired by the city of Charleston to create the West Ashley Master Plan has worked all year on concepts to improve the city's oldest suburb.

Many of the ideas Dover Kohl is pitching center on traffic and transportation fixes, such as extending sidewalks, connecting bike lanes and creating West Ashley shuttles that would run in their own lanes of traffic.

Do Short-Term Vacation Rentals Change the Character of Historic Neighborhoods?
News :: July 30, 2017

As the appeal of living in a historic neighborhood continues to grow across the country, the arrival of short-term vacation rentals (STVRs) has challenged many residents to ensure that the “neighbor” stays in their neighborhoods. The result is a complex debate about the benefits versus negative effects of this $30 billion industry.

Don't expect any easy answers on short-term rentals in Charleston
News :: July 28, 2017

Just when Charleston gets all these fancy new hotels, everybody starts wanting to rent houses.

Wouldn’t you know it.

National housing expert to meet with local leaders Thursday about Charleston's affordable housing
News :: July 25, 2017

A former top official from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will be in Charleston on Thursday to help local leaders understand the complex challenges facing public and affordable housing. 

Airbnb expects its biggest night ever in South Carolina thanks to total solar eclipse
News :: July 24, 2017

Charleston accounts for 2,500 of the houses booked on the weekend of the eclipse, more than Columbia and Greenville combined.

Charleston neighborhoods seeking more input from residents about short-term rentals
News :: July 19, 2017

Neighborhood groups and preservationists want more residents to weigh in on the debate about short-term rentals before the city changes how those properties are regulated.

Cruise ships eye Mount Pleasant as Charleston hits annual limit
News :: July 19, 2017

For the first time, the number of cruise ships scheduled to dock in Charleston has hit the State Ports Authority's voluntary 104-ship annual limit, and that could send some cruise ship business here.

Workforce housing for a living city
News :: July 16, 2017

Under a new plan approved by City Council on Tuesday, the Charleston peninsula could be getting a lot more so-called workforce housing, defined as affordable to those earning up to 80 percent of the area median salary.

Or it could be getting a lot less.

A month in, Charleston's new bike share system seems to be on the right track
News :: July 16, 2017

Charleston residents who were here in the mid-1990s might remember the first effort to launch a community bike program. 

Called Yellow Bikes, the 50-bike fleet wheeled out in 1996 in Marion Square was run by a few volunteers who fixed up used bikes, spray-painted them yellow and left them unlocked for riders to pick up and use as needed.

Hicks: Charleston is No. 1, again. Now, here are the top 10 places we'll be stuck in traffic
News :: July 12, 2017

Thank you, Travel + Leisure magazine readers, for naming Charleston the No. 1 city in the country. Again.

Hotel planned for former Bob Ellis Shoes on Charleston's changing King Street
News :: July 11, 2017

The Kalinsky family bought the 18,000-square-foot building in 1973. Barry Kalinsky said in a previous interview that it was a hard decision to sell but cited increasing competition and rising prices.

Desperate need for safer infrastructure
News :: July 9, 2017

Just recently, 2 different pedestrians were killed attempting to cross Folly Road. These crashes occurred in the span of only 2 days. 

Proposal for big changes in workforce housing requirements returns to Charleston City Council: Public hearing set for July 11
News :: July 6, 2017

Charleston City Council will hold a public hearing on proposed changes to workforce housing requirements during their next meeting on July 11.

How Much Tourism Is Too Much?
News :: June 29, 2017

"Many hotels are now located in residential neighborhoods to satisfy the urges of those who want to feel as though they are living, however briefly, as real New Yorkers do. Have them try shopping for an affordable apartment."

Hotel rooms in former furniture store get OK from Charleston zoning board
News :: June 20, 2017

Plans presented to the Board of Zoning Appeals show retail space on the ground floor facing upper King Street, with hotel rooms on the second floor. A newer building behind the former showroom would be demolished and replaced with a four-story building with more hotel rooms, with parking access off Morris Street.

Consider range of hotel impacts
News :: June 20, 2017

Given the number of hotels already under construction or planned for the peninsula, it would be a relief for the BZA to turn down those requests. But current city rules makes it too difficult to say “no,” even when a hotel or vacation rental could adversely affect the city’s livability goals.

How much is too much tourism?
News :: June 19, 2017

Charleston receives more tourists per capita than popular European destinations like Barcelona or Amsterdam, both of which are struggling to balance tourism and quality of life for residents. And more and more people visit every year.

What can be done to control downtown Charleston's explosive hotel growth?
News :: June 4, 2017

While hotel developers have been happy to accommodate the masses, the question now is: How much is too much?

Charleston community leaders ponder limits on new hotels
News :: May 15, 2017

Downtown Charleston is becoming alarmingly congested mainly because the city has no good way to move 6 million visitors a year in and out of an area that’s only two square miles.

Letter: Johns Island development frenzy
News :: May 6, 2017

Every day, Johns Islanders wonder if the City of Charleston will help our community flourish, or will it continue to approve residential development with no regard for our quality of life? There is a reason to assume the latter.

Gilbreth column: Council needs to heed Mayor's hotel concerns
News :: March 30, 2017

But you can’t convince developers of that nor, as the Mayor has found out, certain members of City Council. A plan to put at least a temporary moratorium on new hotels that would have been presented by the Mayor and his city planners a year ago was withdrawn before serious deliberation because it was clear that council would have none of it. A second proposal got nowhere.

Enough: Put a hold on hotel growth
News :: March 9, 2017

When planners compared Charleston to other cities trying to encourage tourism without harming the local culture, they concluded that the Holy City has reached its limit. It has 6,511 rooms either available for visitors or on the way.

Charleston makes list of most livable cities
News :: October 27, 2016

Charleston is one of "America's Best Cities To Live," based in part on its diverse economy and high population growth, according to a Northeastern financial news website.

Stop for downtown ‘systems check’ before building more hotels
News :: October 12, 2016

The more people we have living downtown, as opposed to visiting, the more likely it will be that we can diversify our economy, create the critical mass needed to sustain a better public transit system, create beautiful neighborhoods and community with thriving schools, and give rise to a new generation of Charlestonians who love downtown because it’s a great place to live, work and raise families.

This isn’t about nostalgia, it’s about Charleston remaining a living city
News :: October 4, 2016

Redevelopment has been creeping up — and down — the peninsula for years now as downtown Charleston remains one of the hottest real estate markets in the country. Developers trip over themselves to get in on the action.

Bi-Lo shoppers lament 'major loss' on peninsula
News :: August 30, 2016

Developers can make more money from developments other than supermarkets as real estate prices escalate on the peninsula. Plans have not been announced for what will become of the 36,312-square-foot Bi-Lo building, now sitting in a prime location between apartment developments, including one involving the parent company of The Post and Courier.

Zoning approved for Sergeant Jasper site
News :: July 18, 2016

Charleston City Council overrode the city’s Planning Commission Tuesday and gave final approval to a zoning change that will allow 324 residential units to be built on the Sergeant Jasper apartments site.