This week continues the fourth installment in City Paper‘s ongoing series “After Riley” presented in conjunction with Lowcountry Local First, Preservation Society of Charleston, S.C. Community Loan Fund, Coastal Conservation League, and IfYouWereMayor.com. In it, candidates have been asked to answer a series of questions regarding culture, commerce, and livability. Candidates have responded with no knowledge of any other participant’s answers.
The series will culminate on Sept. 30 with a forum put on by these organizations. The forum is free and open to the public. Those interested in attending can RSVP at YourCharleston.org.
The City’s Comprehensive Plan was updated in 2010. Given the explosion in development, do you support the implementation of the current plan or would you undertake developing a new plan?
The City’s Comprehensive Plan, called the Century V Plan, is a living document and must be reviewed constantly. This document articulates community values and goals, serving as a guide for decision makers to maintain a high quality of life. Given the rapid growth of our city — a thorough review and update every 10 years is not responsive enough. The current plan is out of date. The last time the plan was updated in 2010 — before Boeing and the rapid increase in people moving to Charleston. Working with stakeholders across the city, I would review and update the plan during my first year in office.
Citizens across the city are concerned about development. I’ll be a mayor with a backbone to say no to developers when their plans would undermine our quality of life. Back in March, when I received a $1,000 contribution from the Beach Company, I returned it because I felt their plans for Sergeant Jasper would be bad for the city. On the other hand, I will work closely with developers — including the Beach Company — on projects that will be good for the city.
It is very important that we move quickly on development in parts of the city where residents want growth. We need to think big and get it done. Two such areas are West Ashley (around Citadel Mall and Sam Rittenberg Boulevard) and on the Upper Peninsula.
The Comprehensive Plan is fluid and accommodates the city’s expanding horizon. However, as developments are realized, more focus on zoning and preservation principles may require amendments at the least. As we move forward with developments like Magnolia, Laurel Island, West Edge (Horizon) Cainhoy, Gathering Places, Citadel Mall, West Ashley, etc., I will ensure that the City’s growth is controlled and assimilated into appropriate areas.
I support the current plan, but certain sections will very likely need updates, population and housing and mobility to start with.
I support the Century V plan and its exciting vision for our city, while also noting that Charleston has changed dramatically since 2010, particularly when it comes to traffic and mobility. For example, traffic counts from 1998 to 2009 on Glenn McConnell Parkway from Bees Ferry to Magwood Drive increased 44 percent. We can assume it has increased just as much, if not more, in the last six years. We can find similar examples all over our city.
Therefore, the next Mayor will need to examine the mobility element based on the tremendous amount of growth we’ve seen in the last few years. As Mayor I will constantly look to find alternative means to make our drive times and commutes go by faster and more efficiently.
Based on my experience on County Council writing and implementing Charleston County’s first Comprehensive Plan, I understand that any planning endeavor must include a regional element. I will collaborate with regional leaders to update Charleston’s comprehensive plan to include an element that addresses our region’s future growth and transportation needs.
Yes, I support the Century V Plan, which would go a long way toward solving a number of difficult issues our City is facing before they even surface as public problems.
For example, the continuing controversy over the redevelopment of the Sergeant Jasper would never have taken place if the city had rezoned the property and adjusted height allowances in accordance with the Century V Plan in the first place. In addition, some of the current projects that are causing so much heartburn on James Island would look very different today if the zoning of those areas had been brought into conformance with the Plan when it was initially passed.
So, again, yes, I would implement the Century V Plan — and then begin working with citizens, neighborhood associations, businesses, and other stakeholders to develop the updated plan that will be required under state law in 2020.
Given the rapid growth that has taken place since 2010, I believe the current plan should be reviewed to make sure it still fits with current circumstances.
Because of the rapid pace of growth and development in the past five years, I would advocate taking another look at the Comprehensive Plan and updating it where appropriate.