Once every ten years, citizens in South Carolina have the opportunity to help rewrite their city’s single most important planning document--the comprehensive plan that guides decisions on development, housing, transportation, land use and more.
For Charlestonians, that once-a-decade opportunity starts this week.
A Housing Lab on Thursday will kick off the City Plan events, which are designed to collect public input on the plan. For details on the Housing Lab, other upcoming public meetings and other ways to get involved visit www.charlestoncityplan.com.
Public participation is needed to ensure the plan reflects citizens’ vision for Charleston’s future, including ways to strengthen residential neighborhoods, improve transportation, increase affordable housing, address drainage and flooding, preserve the city’s diverse cultural fabric and improve quality of life for everyone.
The plan is rooted in four basic concepts:
Water first - anchored in where water is and where water is going to be
Data Smart - using the best data available to understand the challenges facing the city
Strength in diversity - oriented toward actions that protect the city’s historic diversity
Community empowered - asking all members of the community to partner in the planning process
The plan will make recommendations, use objective information and analysis, incorporate input from everyone and inform daily decisions by staff, Planning Commission and City Council around 10 key elements: population, economic development, natural resources, cultural resources, community facilities, housing, land use, transportation, priority investment and resilience.
City Plan activities will take place in three distinct phases:
Phase 1 (current phase): Defining Existing Conditions & Establishing A Shared Vision. This phase is about learning and understanding how the city has changed, how it will continue to change and dreaming big about how to shape that change in the next 10 years. Engagement activities in this phase will focus on learning together--reviewing key trends in the data and listening to community members’ lived experiences to identify priorities for the future.
Phase 2: Applying Recommendations. In this phase, a plan will be drafted that responds to the challenges and opportunities the citizens have defined and that reflects the community’s shared vision. Engagement activities will focus on refining recommendations and strategies to make sure the plan is on the right path.
Phase 3: Finalizing the Plan. In the final phase of the process, final revisions will be made and the plan will be adopted by City Council. Engagement activities will focus on gathering final feedback and soliciting public comment during public hearings.
City of Charleston Planning Director Jacob Lindsey said, “Our goal with the City Plan is to weave together recommendations from a whole host of recent plans and studies with the expertise of our community and rigorous research and analysis to create one unified vision for the future of Charleston.”
The Charleston City Plan will build on the previous iteration, the Century V Plan, and other adopted plans including: the Citywide Transportation Plan, People Pedal Plan, ReThink Folly Road, Dupont Wapoo Community Plan, Johns Island Community Greenways Plan, Johns Island Community Plan, and selections of Plan West Ashley. Findings and strategies from studies such as Dutch Dialogues, Housing for a Fair Charleston, and Sea Level Strategy, in addition to regional plans, will also be integrated into the City Plan.