By Liz Segrist
Published Sept. 11, 2013
A proposal to compensate property owners for decreased property values resulting from rezoning died Tuesday during a Charleston City Council meeting.
City Council instead agreed to create guidelines to improve how and when it informs property owners of changes.
“The real issue is the process with the property owners,” Councilman Aubry Alexander said.
Alexander spearheaded the ordinance, which would have required the city to compensate property owners when a downzoning resulted in a decrease in property values, a situation that happened recently with parts of the Cannonborough-Elliotborough neighborhood.
Mayor Joe Riley, the Preservation Society of Charleston and several council members opposed the idea, saying the city would make promises of payment that it could not keep and that it would prove too costly for the city. Preservationists spoke of the importance of being able to rezone when necessary to preserve the history of Charleston.
“The changes that occur, such as increased traffic and more bars, all of these changes require the government that’s representing the city to always have the capability to make adjustments so it remains a good, safe place for people to reside,” Riley said.
Alexander agreed to remove the compensation component of the ordinance. The council voted to table it to enable Chief City Planner Tim Keane and his staff to define new city guidelines concerning downzoning. The city will consider the guidelines at its Sept. 24 meeting.
Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119.