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Foundation Matters

Charleston County Preservation Initiatives: An Update

Posted: December 5, 2023

At the November 14 Charleston County Council meeting there were two major amendment proposals brought before council.

First was the reconsideration of a previously overturned amendment to the Charleston County Historic Preservation Ordinance. These amendments could jeopardize the preservation of historic African American settlement communities like the Philips Community, Ten Mile, and Beefield. HCF has been actively engaged on this issue for several months working with Council members, nonprofit partners, and community leaders. These amendments are troublesome because they remove site design review authority from the Charleston County Historic Preservation Commission. Site design review is a critical part of the Historic Preservation Ordinance, especially when dealing with the preservation of settlement communities, where historic settlement patterns and land use are a character-defining feature and constitute their significance in the cultural landscape of Charleston County.

While the amendment was thankfully not made law at the meeting, a motion was made to revisit them in January 2024 to allow for better community engagement by Charleston County Planning Staff, which gives HCF and our partners a limited amount of time to perfect the ordinance language.

Charleston County planning staff have also announced two public meetings to “answer questions and gather public input on the proposed amendments to the Historic Preservation Ordinance.” Those meetings are…

Second was an amendment that seeks to streamline the approval process for Charleston County Public Works to remove grand trees, particularly when associated with county road improvement projects. HCF has serious concerns that the amendment would have negative consequences for important cultural landscapes such as the Ashley River Historic Corridor, Maybank Highway, Bohicket Road, and within settlement communities. Thankfully, the public hearing presented County Councilmembers with a significant amount of backlash against the amendments as concerned citizens, preservation and conservation groups, including HCF, and even developers sought to protect the grand tree lined roads that are a critical part of Charleston’s cultural and ecological landscape.

We will continue to be engaged on these major issues as they progress through County Council over the next few months. Please consider joining us at these public meetings to help advocate for our historic Charleston County communities and natural landscape.

Justin Schwebler, December 2023

More information about Charleston County Council meetings and agendas can be found HERE

Watch past Charleston County Council meetings and stream future meetings on YouTube

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