We appear at public meetings of the City of Charleston’s Board of Architectural Review, Board of Zoning Appeals, Commercial Corridor Design Review Board, Planning Commission and City Council to present position statements on matters critical to the future of Charleston’s historic districts. We also regularly meet with property owners, architects, developers and neighborhood association leaders to discuss proposed projects as well as offer technical advice.
Seven to Save is an outreach program designed to preserve vulnerable historic and cultural resources in the Charleston area through education and public awareness. Because each project poses unique challenges, we work toward creative solutions tailored to the specific issues at hand, often leading to collaboration with partners in the community. When a project reaches a successful outcome, it is rolled off the list, and a new at-risk resource is added.
The Preservation Society of Charleston has been accepting preservation easements since 1978 and currently holds more than 75 exterior as well as numerous interior easements. A preservation easement is a legal agreement that protects the architectural integrity of a property by restricting future alterations and uses of the property. An easement on a certified historic structure allows the owner to protect their property in perpetuity while qualifying for Federal tax deductions. Email for information on donating an easement.
In 1953 the Carolopolis Award program was created to recognize outstanding achievement in exterior preservation, restoration and rehabilitation. Since then, The Preservation Society has presented more than 1,300 awards in recognition of such achievement. Email for information on Carolopolis Award eligibility.
In 2013, we created the Thomas Mayhem Pinckney Alliance, in honor of the African-American contractor and craftsman who played an integral part in Charleston's early preservation movement. The Society's founder, Susan Pringle Frost, often hired Mr. Pinckney to handle the restoration of historic properties, calling him her "right-hand man." Pinckney was one of the most prized artisans of his day, not only because of his renowned expertise but also because he employed and trained numerous African-American tradesmen in the building arts. The mission of the Alliance is to support the Society in advocating, identifying, and preserving African-American material and cultural heritage. Email for more information on the Alliance.
The Halsey Map Project is an ongoing research effort that provides narrative information and images illustrating the notable sites, people and events selected in Alfred O. Halsey’s historic map. Reproduction copies of the Halsey Map are available through the Preservation Society’s Shop.
The following are critical preservation processes. Please click links for further information and most recent agendas.
Board of Architectural Review
Reviews requests for exterior alterations, new construction, and demolition of structures within the Old and Historic District and the Old City District.
Board of Zoning Appeals – Zoning
Hears and decides appeals for variances or special exceptions from the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Charleston that pertain to, among other things, use changes, parking requirements, lot occupancy and density.
Board of Zoning Appeals – Site Design
Hears and decides appeals for variances or special exceptions from the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Charleston that pertain to, among other things, site design, landscape buffers, and tree removal.
Has the power and duty to prepare and recommend to City Council plans and programs to, among other things, revise city zoning districts, regulate subdivisions and the development of land, and review and comment on the compatibility of any new street, park, open space or structure with the City’s Century V comprehensive plan.
Design Review Board
Reviews requests for alterations, new construction and signage of commercial and non-residential projects along major commercial corridors outside the Old and Historic District and the Old City District.
Charleston City Council
The City’s body of elected officials that is the only entity whose authority includes, but is not limited to, creating new ordinances, amending the Zoning and City Code of Ordinances, considering recommendations from Planning Commission, and approving all City planning documents.
City Planning Documents