Building moratorium filled with loopholes

Building moratorium filled with loopholes
February 28 13:44 2017 Print This Article

Charleston City Council meets at 5 pm today to discuss a temporary moratorium on construction along the 5000 acre Church Creek drainage basin in West Ashley. The moratorium contains a number of loopholes that will allow continued construction in this wetlands area.

The proposed moratorium ordinance reads, “Because of the topography, high tides, and significant rain events, homes and other developed property in the Basin have experienced severe and more frequent flooding during rainstorms. Continued development within (a) certain portion in Basin could further exacerbate and impact the potential for flooding, property damage and compromise public safety.”

Homes, commercial properties and churches along the Church Creek Basin have experienced significant flooding damage in recent years. The neighborhoods most impacted include Shadowmoss, Hickory Farms, Hickory Hills, Grand Oaks and Forest Acres. Bridge Pointe Condominiums, located within Shadowmoss, has been flooded solid four times since 2008. The City of Charleston has been unsuccessful in getting a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant to purchase those flood-prone homes and condemn the properties.

The ordinance being considered today includes five exemptions. Projects already approved by the city’s Technical Review Committee (TRC) prior to Feb. 28 may proceed even if construction has not yet begun. TRC meetings are not open to the public and the minutes from the meetings are not posted on http://Charleston-SC.gov. Among the other exemptions are construction on lots not currently under TRC review and the ability of existing permit holders to subdivide their lots and build on them.