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.