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Foundation Matters

SC Supreme Court to Determine Issue of Standing in Union Pier Terminal Lawsuit

Posted: September 3, 2018

Photo: The Post and Courier

HCF is concerned about traffic and the cumulative impacts of cruise ship operations on the sensitive historic fabric of Ansonborough, an adjacent National Historic Landmark neighborhood whose preservation, starting in the 1950s, was catalyzed by the Foundation through its Frances Edmunds Revolving Fund program.

Since 2010, when plans for the new terminal were introduced, neighborhood, preservation and conservation groups have called for measures to minimize adverse impacts on the surrounding historic district. When DHEC issued the permits without considering cumulative impacts or mitigation measures, the groups joined in a lawsuit and challenged the decision in the Administrative Law Court.

That court and the SC Court of Appeals denied standing, finding that the groups were not “affected persons” and “presented only speculative claims that the proposed passenger terminal would adversely affect their property values and businesses.” This legal question of “standing” and the landside impacts of the cruise industry have much broader implications beyond the singular issue of cruise ships; thus the DHEC environmental review process is critical to protecting the historic and natural resources of the whole state. Historic Charleston Foundation remains steadfast to its mission, focusing on the integrity of the historic district and thus defending the processes designed to protect and preserve it.

The new terminal would be located a bit north of the current passenger terminal and would be designed to accommodate much larger vessels than those currently operating out of Charleston.

Some opponents of the new terminal have called for relocation of the passenger terminal to a site further up East Bay Street, away from the core of the Historic District. “While the Foundation has not taken an official position on the location of a new passenger terminal, we would like to make sure that a comprehensive environmental review process explores other location alternatives with recommendations on why – or why not – those alternatives might be feasible,” said Winslow Hastie, President & CEO of the Foundation.

Consistently, the Foundation supports:

“While the cruise industry in Charleston represents only a small percentage of overall operations for the port, its impacts on the Historic District and residents are massive,” said Hastie. “We owe it to the residents, to the city and to the future to investigate all the alternatives and arrive at a plan with the lowest impact on the city and her residents.”

Partnering in the lawsuit with HCF are the Southern Environmental Law Center, Preservation Society of Charleston, Historic Ansonborough Neighborhood Association, South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, the Charleston Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and Charleston Communities for Cruise Control.


4 responses to “SC Supreme Court to Determine Issue of Standing in Union Pier Terminal Lawsuit”

  1. News from Maine is that in Bar Harbor, where there may be 3 cruise ships in the harbor at any given time, there has been an average of a $40,000 drop in the mean sales price of homes in that town from 2016-YTD 2018. The overcrowding, congestion, diesel smoke and lack of infrastructure for so many people to be disgorged at once is the reason.

    In Ellsworth, about 20 miles down the road, the average MSP has risen $16,000 in the same time frame .

    Another good reason why the cruise ships should be limited in number and size, and the terminal moved to a commercial rather than a residential area.

  2. Carolyn Dietrich says:

    Unlimited Cruise Traffic can only add to street confusion on East Bay, Calhoun, King and all waterfront historic districts. So far the Ports Authority has refused to limit the number of Cruise Ships docking in Charleston.
    With horse carriages, buses, bicycles, bike-taxis, overrunning narrow downtown streets, the City has declared tourists have priority over tax-paying residents who are finding it more than difficult to drive in their City where overcrowded streets, delays and parking problems exist. Thousands of hotel, apartments and condos under construction are now closing in on the historic districts. These people are not currently on Charleston’s narrow streets. Residential parking in my neighborhood (Ansonborough) has become a problem since Cruise traffic has increased.
    It is obvious that long-time, downtown Charleston residents are leaving historic districts, tired of the traffic confusion. Mayor and City Council have done nothing substantial to stand against the number of Cruise Ships allowed to dock in Charleston.

  3. Glenda Nemes says:

    After owning, improving, up-keeping and residing in 4 homes downtown, we finally moved out to a community that puts its tax paying residents first. I grieve over many City Council decisions that place over-tourism and over-development as priorities. Recently a developer said to me that development is progress. I caution all to remember that development is a noun that can be preceded by many adjectives, including bad and good. Development doesn’t equal good progress. I believe in smart growth. It is saddening to see what is happening downtown and I stand with organizations like HFC working for Smart Growth. In the future, City Council will be ashamed of what they are letting happen.

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