The Priority Status Affordable Housing Program provides special benefits and advantages during the development review process to residential and mixed-used developments that make certain impactful contributions toward the City’s supply of affordable housing. The program is managed by the City of Charleston’s Department of Planning, Preservation and Sustainability in partnership with the Department of Housing and Community Development. Click here to view the resolution for a Priority Status Policy passed by City Council on January 24, 2023.
Priority Status Benefits
A single point of contact throughout the development and approval process
Priority agenda placement for all public review boards and TRC
Priority review timelines with TRC. See page #12 in the TRC manual
Per Section 2-274 (c) of the City Code of Ordinances:
Priority status affordable housing projects mean projects including new construction or rehabilitation, that meet the definition of Affordable Housing as that term is defined in Chapter 54 of the Code of the City of Charleston (Zoning Ordinance), that are certified as such by the City's Department Housing and Community Development, and that meet on of the below criteria:
(1) The project designates fifty percent (50%)( or more units "Affordable Housing;") (2) The project receives funding from a public agency for affordable housing production; (3) The city contract directly with the contractor and/or subcontractor for project work; or (4) The city utilizes city employees to do project work. The Priority Status Affordable Housing designation can only be certified by the Department of Housing and Community Development. The certification process may require that the recipient of the Priority Status Affordable Housing designation enter an agreement with the City of Charleston if no public funding is being provided for the project.
How to get Priority Status
1. Register your project.
We require registration of all projects with plans to include affordable units, including mixed-income projects. You are ready to register your project if you have confirmed the below details. If you have questions regarding these or other details, we recommend you meet first with our Housing Development Officer, Florence Peters. Start by registering your affordable units by following this link.
Project address(es) and/or TMS number(s)
Type of housing (multi-family or one-family)
Proposed affordability period (in number of years)
Proposed total estimated number of units and associated income limits
2. Determination of Eligibility.
After registration is submitted, the Housing and Community Development staff will review your project details, contact your team to discuss, and make the final determination as to whether the project meets the criteria for Priority Status. If your project is not receiving any public funding, you may be required to sign an agreement with the City of Charleston.
3. Priority Status Certification.
If your project is deemed eligible for Priority Status, you will be designated in our permitting and plan software as such, and will be provided with a Priority Status Certificate. To redeem Priority Status benefits,it is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the Priority Status Certificate is provided with all application materials.
Want to know more about affordable housing?
The City of Charleston’s Department of Housing and Community Development are available to assist developers wanting to contribute to the City’s affordable housing needs. Click here to view information about how to meet affordability requirements, available funding sources, and other important information and resources for affordable housing development.