Charleston needs to downsize zoning density

Charleston needs to downsize zoning density
December 28 18:35 2016 Print This Article

The City of Charleston is the only local government in the Lowcountry which is a member of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). The global organization was founded in 1990 and is headquartered in Bonn, Germany.

If you visit the organization’s website,, you will notice the buzz phrases “sustainability”, “ecomobile” and “low carbon agenda”. The “sustainable development” agenda explains Charleston’s push to build high-density apartment complexes along congested roads and its desire for more bus transportation, even if most residents don’t choose to ride the bus.

The term “low carbon agenda” refers to reducing the emissions of carbon dioxide, ostensibly by having fewer car drivers. The truth is that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a harmless, odorless gas which has no adverse impact on health. CO2 makes up only 0.04% of the atmosphere and human activity accounts for only about 3% of that tiny concentration. Making it inconvenient for Charleston residents to drive their cars will have no impact on air quality.

We need to have a community conversation about what we want our area to look like in the coming decades. Do we want a community of high-density apartment-dwellers who depend on the government-run bus system to get around, or do we want to maintain our suburban character with single-family homes and small apartment complexes?

Charleston City Council as well as County Council should take a look at changing zoning regulations to lower the maximum number of housing units per acre allowed. Maybank Highway on James Island is about to add 560 apartment units near Folly Road in an area that already experiences traffic gridlock. That is not the kind of development that residents asked for.