Charleston councilmembers to vote on halting future hotel plans

VIDEO: Charleston councilmembers to vote on halting future hotel plans

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - It's hard for southbound drivers not to slow down on King Street as they approach the high fences and barricades lining a portion of Marion Square.

Store owners and college students on the block say the noise the construction workers, drills and crane makes are clockwork.

"We start to hear them at 7:00 a.m.," says one College of Charleston student passing by.

Behind the big fence and underneath the big machinery is a soon-to-be finished $100 million boutique hotel. But, if city council blocks all hotel plans for the rest of the year, scenes and sounds like these would disappear from much of the peninsula until early 2017.

According to the City of Charleston agenda, a moratorium to freeze hotel plans is set to be voted on in Council chambers Tuesday night. The halt on hotel site approvals would allow the city's department of planning, preservation and sustainability to study how more hotels would affect to current balance in the City of Charleston.

"It stems from concerns about the number of hotels that have been approved and the density that it creates in an already heavily traveled downtown area,"  city spokesman Jack O'Toole said. "While the moratorium is going on, the city will have a study to reassess hotel numbers on the peninsula," he said.

According to the proposal, the approval would only pause hotel construction on the peninsula South of Mount Pleasant Street. None of the more than 4,800 new hotel rooms that have been built or are under construction will affected by the moratorium. Neither will the 11 more hotels with close to 800 rooms that have already been approved.

The City of Charleston has had a moratorium on hotel construction before. The result of the freeze enacted the law where hotels below a certain point on the peninsula can only construct 50 bedrooms. 

The city hopes to "take a look,  see what's going on, and see what's best for the downtown area and the people who live there," O"Toole said.
Tonight's city council meeting will be at 5:00 p.m.

Copyright 2016 WCSC. All Rights Reserved.