The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance

The Watch


Current Articles

April 12, 2018

City Council, April 10
Short Term Rental Ordinance passes
But Special Exceptions may lessen its bite
Marc Knapp

The City’s new Short Term Rental (RTR) ordinance passed second and third readings on Tuesday. It was not an easy passage and it would be wrong to assume that Council is done with the ordinance. A committee of staff and Council members was tasked to consider a number of issues or special exceptions. The recommendations will need to be considered by the Planning Commission but Council expects the Special Exception addendum will be before Council within 90 days. These amendments could be significant in our view, and considerably loosen and complicate STR requirements.

Continue reading "City Council, April 10"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2018

County Council, April 5
Approves land purchase by Town of James Island
Action bucks Greenbelt Plan
Warwick Jones*

One way or another, greenbelts took up much of the discussion at the Finance Committee meeting on Thursday. Council approved funding for 5 projects, drawing on funds remaining in the Greenbelt allocation from the first half-cent sales tax.

Continue reading "County Council, April 5"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 03:55 PM

March 28, 2018

County Council, March 27
Accommodation tax windfall
No support for underground wiring study on Riverland Terrace
Warwick Jones

The County recently had a pleasant surprise. It received an additional $349,799 from the State for its 2017 accommodation tax entitlement. It seems the State is “mum” is about explaining the windfall but staff opined that it was a collection from AirB&B. Presumably the rental agency once had a different idea about its liability for the tax.

Continue reading "County Council, March 27"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:35 PM

March 27, 2018

City Council, March 26
Strong scrutiny of Short Term Rental ordinance
Vote deferred till next Council meeting
Warwick Jones

Council deferred a vote at the second reading of the proposed Short Term Rental (STR) ordinance. It was not because members were opposed but rather the need to refine, clarify and amend some of the parts. An updated draft is scheduled to be given to Council members early next week. We may be optimistic but in our view, there is a good chance that at the second reading in two weeks, the ordinance will be passed.

Continue reading "City Council, March 26"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:48 PM

March 15, 2018

County Council, March 13
Fiscal burden of Naval Hospital purchase will be heavy in FY2020
Sale of 995 Morrison Drive could make a large difference
Warwick Jones

The forced acquisition of the old Naval Hospital (3600 Rivers Avenue) was a sad, expensive and unplanned event for the County. The specter loomed large in discussions in Committee meetings on Tuesday evening and will be shaping Council’s actions.

Continue reading "County Council, March 13"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 03:49 PM

March 14, 2018

City Council, March 13
Council presses ahead with parking plans
Reluctance to request head tax on cruise ship passengers
Marc Knapp

Raising the cost of metered parking on the Peninsula was not on the agenda. But a host of citizens turned out in Citizens Participation to protest the planned increase. The protests made no difference. The increases were approved last year and Council is moving ahead with the implementation.

Continue reading "City Council, March 13"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 03:55 PM

February 27, 2018

City Council, February 26
Short term rental ordinance gets first reading
Council opts for more restrictive Task Force recommendations
Marc Knapp

The long awaited short term rental (STR) ordinance made it through the first reading last night. Its passage was not easy and some changes, perhaps modest, are likely before the second and final readings. Council members had many issues but most related to enforcement. Ultimately, only Council member Lewis and Mitchell opposed the ordinance.

Continue reading "City Council, February 26"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 03:37 PM

February 23, 2018

County Council, February 22
James Island to create “civic” space at Folly/Camp Road intersection
County will lease land for $1 a year
Warwick Jones

Zoning matters took up about half of the discussion at yesterday’s meetings. Most of the balance related to the proposal by James Island to create a civic space on a parcel of land at the junction of Camp and Folly roads.

Continue reading "County Council, February 22"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:31 PM

February 14, 2018

City Council, February 13
West Ashley unfairly treated say two Council members
Plan West Ashley gets nod, but unlikely for Johns Island moratorium
Marc Knapp

Two items on yesterday’s agenda dominated last night’s meeting – the Plan West Ashley plan and the proposed 6-month moratorium on the issuance of development permits on Johns Island. As expected, the Plan West Ashley was approved. Less expected was the deferral of a vote on the moratorium for two weeks. The discussion on Council prior to the deferral suggests that there is a strong chance that the moratorium will not be approved.

Continue reading "City Council, February 13"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:21 PM

February 09, 2018

County Council, February 8
New head of Environmental Management
No enthusiasm for proposed changes relating to proxies and election of Chair
Warwick Jones

There was not much to highlight at yesterday’s meetings. But notable was the resignation of the Director of Environmental Management. We do not know the reason for his resignation. Council was told that his resignation was effective only a few days ago. And from the tone of comments of the Environmental Management Chair, the resignation was a surprise. Chair Moody thanked staff member Tonya Lott for stepping so quickly into the management position left vacant by the resignation. Ms. Lott has been with the County for 3 years and has a background of experience in the industry.

Continue reading "County Council, February 8"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 02:10 PM

January 25, 2018

City Council, January 23
Annexations in West Ashley to be challenged
Magnolia development resuscitated
Warwick Jones

The main feature of the meeting was the annual State of the City address. The address has already received wide media coverage. We’ll simply state that the Mayor declared that dealing with flooding and drainage was the City’s top priority and that the City will be looking at a number of ways to finance the potentially large funding. Considering the damage suffered in the last two hurricanes, the focus of the Mayor was not unexpected.

Continue reading "City Council, January 23"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:54 PM

January 19, 2018

County Council, January 18
Chairman Rawl secures a second term
But the voting was strange
Warwick Jones

As usual at the first meeting of the year, members decide on the Chair of Council. We thought that Chairman Rawl would easily retain the title. We were right that he would be re-elected but it was not an easy passage.

Continue reading "County Council, January 18"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 02:20 PM

January 10, 2018

City Council, January 9
Induction of Council members
Vote deferred on language at base of Calhoun statue
Marc Knapp

Last night’s meeting consisted broadly of two parts – a farewell to departing Council members and a welcome to the new, and discussion of wording to be placed at the base of the J.C Calhoun statue in Marion Square.

Continue reading "City Council, January 9"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 11:44 AM

December 12, 2017

City Council, December 11
No tax increases for 2018
But a taxing meeting for attendees
Warwick Jones

It was a frustrating and painful day for those of us that attend Council meetings.

Continue reading "City Council, December 11"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:44 PM

December 01, 2017

County Council, November 30
Material Recovery Facility construction still on schedule
An issue with State sponsored workforce training initiative
Warwick Jones

Meetings were unusually brief yesterday evening.

Continue reading "County Council, November 30"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 03:12 PM

November 03, 2017

County Council, November 2
Agrees on purchase and funding of helicopter
Reluctantly agrees on Chicora Life Center funding
Warwick Jones

Agendas were light for yesterday’s meetings. The most important items were essentially carryovers from previous meetings.

Continue reading "County Council, November 2"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:33 PM

October 25, 2017

City Council, October 24
City getting serious about addressing flooding issues
Plan to cut electricity usage and costs
Marc Knapp

The agenda item was requested by Council members Gregorie and Wilson. It was a “Discussion regarding a $100 million drainage funding strategy”. Not all Council members spoke to the issue. But it was clear from last night’s discussion and that at previous Council meetings that something has to be done about flooding throughout the City. And it was also clear from last night’s discussion that the City is about to take bigger steps in funding mitigation and solutions.

Continue reading "City Council, October 24"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 05:22 PM

October 20, 2017

County Council, October 19
Initial steps to buy new helicopter for Sheriff’s Department
Parkers Ferry Overlay approved but some dissent
Warwick Jones

Two items took up most of the time in yesterday’s sessions – the purchase of a helicopter for the Sheriff’s Department, and the approval of the Parkers Ferry Overlay. Both items were passed by the respective Committees but there was dissent. The items will now move to the Finance Committee for consideration.

Continue reading "County Council, October 19"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 02:27 PM

October 11, 2017

City Council, October 10
Unanimous support for Lowline purchase, and pedestrian/bike bridge
CJAM’s views on police force at odds with national accreditation agency
Marc Knapp

The most important items on last night’s agendas were the approvals of the Lowcountry Lowline (LL) property purchase and the application for a TIGER grant to help fund a pedestrian and bike bridge over the Ashley River. The items have already received a lot of media attention so we will only recapitulate.

Continue reading "City Council, October 10"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:00 PM

October 06, 2017

County Council, October 5
Supports City’s move for a bike and pedestrian bridge over the Ashley River
Why wasn’t a TIGER grant considered earlier?
Warwick Jones

Council agreed last night to support the application by the City of Charleston for a TIGER grant to construct a bike and pedestrian bridge over the Ashley River. The cost is estimated at $17-18 million. The proposed funding is $3 million by the County, $1.5 million by the City, $1.5 million by Charleston Moves, and the balance from the grant.

Continue reading "County Council, October 5"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 02:36 PM