Charleston’s New Comprehensive Plan to be Presented to City Council this Summer | New
Charleston City Council is expected to vote on a new comprehensive plan this summer.
For the first time, the proposed plan makes recommendations for future development based on water elevation levels and preserving accessible and equitable housing for all socioeconomic levels.
Charleston reviews its full plan every 10 years as a requirement of the State of South Carolina, according to the 2021 Draft Plan. The latest version of the city’s plan, the âV Century Plan,â has been drafted in 2010.
Robert Summerfield, director of planning, said this was the first time elevation had been considered in making recommendations on land use.
âWith rising sea levels and flooding in low lying areas, the policy has always been high and dry,â Summerfield said. “But now the overall plan takes it one step further and uses a very detailed study that was done specifically on an elevation to make recommendations for future land use.”
The study, the 2019 Dutch Dialogues, assesses where the city expects the swamp to encroach over the next decade as sea levels rise.
Integrating sea level rise into the overall plan would mean new zoning rules for the community in future development projects.
A key feature of creating the plan is understanding the impact of these potential regulations, said Matt Fountain, director of stormwater management. Fountain said he believes the community is receptive to the new housing regulations.
âI think the last six or seven years have drawn a lot of attention to the rising tides with the hurricanes that have kind of hit Charleston every year,â he said.
The overall plan is based on 12 other plans and studies created by the city since 2007. One of them is a Housing for a Fair Charleston plan developed in 2020, which addresses gentrification.
âIt recognizes that gentrification has happened,â Summerfield said, âwhich is one of the things that many communities struggle with sometimes, even simply acknowledging that displacement has happened and is happening. “
Housing for a Fair Charleston is part of this proposed plan, which addresses the need to maintain and preserve equitable and affordable housing, said Geona Shaw Johnson, director of housing for the city.
The plan creates a roadmap for reducing inequalities, such as diversifying housing options for low-income households. It also discusses access to air conditioning and the impact that Charleston’s heat can have on quality of life.
âThis plan takes a close look at equity and makes recommendations for the city to do better, such as housing for affordable housing and using an equity lens when making decisions about the use of resources. land and politics, âJohnson said.
The comprehensive plan is expected to pass through city council between late July and early August, Summerfield said. From there, pending approval of the plan, city members will then work to implement it into zoning laws and regulations.
Follow Olivia Diaz on Twitter @oliviardiaz.