City of Charleston seeks full rezoning to prevent more flooding

Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 4:49 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 19, 2023 at 6:03 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The entire City of Charleston is seeking rezoning to prevent flooding from getting worse for homes and businesses.

The city’s planning commission meeting has a presentation from their consultant, Clarion and Associates, who is giving an introductory presentation on how rewriting the zoning code will work. The City of Charleston says their goal is to balance the resilience and equity of their zoning code to make sure new construction does not get drowned during a storm.

The presentation will go over current zoning regulations and the best practices they can use with the changing environment. The city says rising sea levels, the marsh and migration are some of the main things they’re considering.

This rezoning will essentially make developers build on higher-level land instead of lower-level areas, preventing both new and old construction from flooding. The city says the rezoning won’t touch current development unless someone is asking for a significant change to their property.

Director of Planning, Preservation and Sustainability for the City of Charleston Robert Summerfield says there is some development that is already approved, but it might not seek construction until after this new zoning is put in place.

“And this happens periodically,” Summerfield said. “Not just with zoning, but as new building codes or electrical codes or fire codes come online. You have to have a transition period where you have things that are being reviewed under the old code, they have to get to a certain point so that they lock in those code requirements and then anything new that comes in gets reviewed under the new code that’ll be coming in at that point.”

Summerfield says the consultant will give the layout of at least the next two years of work and mention any future presentations or workshops they might hold as the city begins this project.