Cruise terminal opponents plead for agency's help

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The state's office of Ocean and Costal Resource Management listened to a spirited public hearing Wednesday night.

"Let us just cut to the chase, let us just let this project go," said terminal supporter James Pickney.

The State Ports Authority applied for a construction permit to build five pilings to support escalators and elevators at the new cruise terminal at an old warehouse on Union pier. Opponents of the new terminal are asking the OCRM office to not permit the building of the pilings and consider moving the new terminal somewhere else.

"I sincerely hope the OCRM will act responsible and come the rescue of concerned citizens when no other organization has," said Deborah Scott.

Different downtown neighborhood representatives all said they would be affected by the new cruise ship terminal noise, traffic and pollution. They voiced their opinions once more, before the last governmental body they believe can stop the cruise ship terminal from coming.

"We hope this time there will be an impartial audience who will hear it. We've voiced these concerns, but feel that we have not been heard and there have been no other alternative sites," said Courtenay McDowell a downtown resident and supporter of moving the terminal.

Some suggested there are already pilings in the industrial area and five more should not make a difference.

"We're talking about adding a small number of pilings so that handicap people can actually access the terminal all this other gibberish is a pathetic attempt to revisit the argument about whether should be a cruise terminal or not. That's not what the application is about," said a supporter of the new terminal.

Mayor Joe Riley said the plan will lead to redevelopment of a blighted industrial area. But Dana Beach of the Coastal Conservation League said regulators can't be concerned just about pilings, but must weigh the larger project impacts.

The agency is expected to make a decision this summer.

Copyright 2012 WCSC.  All rights reserved.  The Associated Press contributed to this report.