Charleston to hire experts to help staff to rewrite citywide zoning codes

Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 6:15 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 17, 2022 at 1:58 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Charleston is looking to rewrite its zoning codes and ordinances over the next few years, and officials say the rewrite affects all property owners in the city, regardless of where they live.

Director of Planning, Preservation and Sustainability Robert Summerfield says up to $1 million would be used to hire experts to help city staff go through hundreds of pages of documents and rewrite the zoning codes. He says plans for rewriting the code started in October 2021.

Summerfield said the main goal is to make the zoning codes more equitable, resilient and make sure development happens where it should. He said some of the city’s current zoning maps are decades old and out of date.

“Our zoning code just has not been holistically looked at in more than 70 years,” Summerfield said. “We all know the history of some early zoning decisions that have been made across this country, not even just locally, and so we need to take a holistic look at that code and rewrite it, but additionally, we now know some of the impacts much better than they have in the past about our development patterns and what that means.”

Summerfield also said the city wants to make sure people are still able to build on their land but minimize overdeveloping on land that cannot handle it.

The city is working to create a citizen’s advisory committee to get neighbors’ opinions on how to move forward.

They said they are still working out the details on that committee.