The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance
July 22, 2016
The sales tax referendum is dead
But it could be resurrectedWarwick Jones
Technically, the referendum on a half-cent sales tax is dead. It failed to pass second reading last night. But the quick action by Council member Rawl may lead to its resurrection. He was amongst the members who voted against the referendum ballot. He indicated quickly after the conclusion of the voting that he wanted to change his vote. Whether this will make a difference depends on whether Council meets again, and quickly to discuss the issue.
July 20, 2016
Council to West of Ashley commuters – Drop dead!
Ordinance changes no set back to Sergeant Jasper projectMarc Knapp
It was bizarre. County Council last night agreed on a sales tax to raise funds for roads and reduce traffic congestion. At the same time, City Council was deliberating and ultimately agreed to a lane closure on the Legare Bridge which will certainly exacerbate congestion on Highway 17 and Folly Roads, two of the main conduits into the City. And the voting districts of three of the seven Council members who voted for the closure are outside the broad West Ashley, James Island Johns Island areas. These areas are the most affected by the lane closure.
July 15, 2016
County Council, July 14
Draft of Sales tax referendum ballot presented
MRF contracts to be awardedWarwick Jones
With Council meetings only once a month in summer, agendas can be long. Yesterday’s agendas were not lengthy, but the meetings were long. The most interesting item discussed was not on the agenda – the half cent sales tax referendum.
June 22, 2016
City Council, June 21
A Hobson’s Choice over Sergeant Jasper Development
Understandably, the latest compromise was acceptedMarc Knapp
Last night’s meeting had the promise of being long. It was long and indeed unnecessarily so, though not entirely the fault of the City. We can only guess at the attendance but it was probably over a hundred. And the majority of the attendees were there because of the proposed bike lane over the Legare Bridge.
June 01, 2016
County Council, May 31
No surprises in next year’s budgets
Half cent sales tax collection higher than anticipatedWarwick Jones
It was almost a non-event. Yesterday’s special Finance Committee meeting was called to allow staff to present a summary of next year’s (FY2017 to June) budget. The presentation was short as was the subsequent discussion. And if there were a surprise, it was that there were no surprises.
May 11, 2016
City Council, May 10
Issues with a Planning Commission member
Long deliberation on nature of West Ashley Revitalization CommissionMarc Knapp
It was a long evening. The Council meeting did not conclude until well after 7 pm. I was the only member of the public in the gallery that endured the whole meeting, and I wonder why. There were two issues that took up most of the two hour meeting. I won’t say that they were trivial, but they were not deserving of the time spent, to say the least.
April 27, 2016
City Council. April 26
Resolution to complete I-526 passes
City parking regulations up for reviewMarc Knapp
A resolution supporting the completion of I-526 was on last night’s agenda. The reaction was predictable. The die-hards were there to speak against it in Citizens Participation, though not in the numbers of the past, Coastal Conservation League supporters bombarded Council members with identical e-mails in protest, and the resolution was approved by Council with only Council members Seekings and Gregorie opposed.
April 22, 2016
County Council, April 21
April 13, 2016
City Council, April 12
Citizens to Council – Do something about traffic congestion!
A touching recognition of Isabella RybakMarc Knapp
It started with a public hearing relating to a Planned Unit Development (PUD) on Johns Island. The developer wanted to add acreage and units to the original PUD. No, said some nearby residents, it is going to add to traffic congestion that is already overwhelming us. And it then grew to a chorus as other citizens and then Council members spoke with alarm of the traffic problems of the island and Charleston generally.
April 08, 2016
County Council, April 7
Placating the SIB on I-526 funding
More help for well and septic upgrades for low income householdsWarwick Jones
As expected, the resolution on I-526 drew many citizens to the Finance Committee meeting last evening. A number rose to speak, both for and against the completion of the project, and in our view nothing new was said. We think they were wasting their breath. The resolution before the Committee did nothing to advance the completion of the project but perhaps something to stop it sinking into oblivion. And the full Council at a special meeting at the close of the Finance Committee session approved the resolution with a 5 to 3 vote. Council members Condon, Qualey and Schweers were opposed and Darby abstained.
March 23, 2016
City Council, March 22
Opposition to gas station development in Old Charles Towne
Apprehension over lane closure over Legare BridgeMarc Knapp
Just as the City is moving closer to dousing the fire over Sergeant Jasper, another outbreak has occurred in West Ashley. A developer wants to put a gas station at a City “gateway”- the junction of Old Towne Road and Sam Rittenburg Highway – and the area residents don’t want it. Many attended and spoke at the City Council meeting held last night in Founder’s Hall in West Ashley. Amongst those speaking against the project were two past members of Council, Tinkler and Alexander.
March 18, 2016
County Council, March 17
Stormwater Fee to double
Cameras to monitor traffic on beach access roads. Why?Warwick Jones
Two issues that had been discussed at previous meetings were voted on last night by the appropriate Committees – a higher Stormwater Fee and the Community Investment Policy.
March 09, 2016
City Council, March 8
Gathering Place moratorium extended for more study
Another effort to improve traffic flows
Another effort to improve traffic flowsMarc Knapp
At a City Council meeting earlier this year, Mayor Tecklenberg noted that he had not met anybody that liked the Gathering Place (GP) zoning. A new and much modified GP zoning was before Council last night. It still had few friends. The zoning, now called Mixed Use 3 – Centers (MU-3/C) is to be studied further and the moratorium of new construction in GPs has been extended to 60 days.
March 04, 2016
County Council, March 3
County to “pull plug “on Chicora Life Center
Increase in Stormwater Management Fee seems likelyWarwick jones
It happened at last. The County terminated the agreement to lease space in the Chicora Life Center. The County planned to locate a number of health and social services in what was once a naval hospital. The owner of the structure was obliged to renovate the leased space before the County moved in, but fell well behind its obligations. The County agreed to move the deadlines on two occasions but satisfactory completion has still not been achieved. Council has clearly lost patience and perhaps faith in the owners of the building. Last night, as well as agreeing to terminate the agreement, the Finance Committee asked staff to look at other alternatives for relocating the services.
February 24, 2016
City Council, February 23
No moratorium on new hotel development
But City plans a study with a report within 90 daysWarwick Jones
The most important item on last night’s agenda was a proposed moratorium on new hotels for the Peninsula. It was the Mayor’s idea and apparently in the minds of Council members, a bad idea. We were told by a Council member before the meeting began that the item would be pulled from the agenda. It was effectively, but Council agreed to a study of the issue of new hotels, and a report in 90 days.
February 19, 2016
County Council, February 18
Lots of grief over recycling
Is water quality on Wadmalaw a real issue?Warwick Jones
Council member Schweers described it as “painful”. We would have added “embarrassing”. He was referring to the discussion by the Environmental Management Committee during and following a presentation by staff. The purpose of the presentation was to bring the Committee up to date on developments in solid waste disposal. We suspect Committee members were more confused than enlightened.
February 10, 2016
City Council, February 9
Council agrees to a super majority vote of 60%, but will it hold?
Procedure in appointing members of boards and commissions to changeMarc Knapp
City Council passed the amendment to reduce the supermajority to 60% for a vote to override a Planning Commission (PC) decision. But we doubt that the reduction from 75% will hold. But more on this later.
February 05, 2016
County Council, February 4
Council seeks to restrain its members
Mayor’s guidance sought on development of 995 Morrison DriveWarwick Jones
There was little on the agendas of the Committee meetings last night. But members spent a lot of time discussing them, and we suspect to the irritation of Council member Rawl who was in the chair most of the evening.
January 27, 2016
City Council, January 26
Mayor signals a harsher policy on Citizen’s comments
Gathering Place moratorium extendedMarc Knapp
It was Mayor Tecklenberg’s second Council meeting. He conducted it well. He was assured and polished. He summed up some issues before the Council nicely. And he laid out very firmly the conduct that he expected at future Council meetings. Talking more to citizens than Council members, speakers needed to confine themselves to City business and issues. Prejudice of any description would not be tolerated. He recognized it was a fine line between free and offensive speech but notwithstanding, he expected speakers to show restraint.
January 22, 2016
County Council, Jan 21
We think the conduct of meetings can be improved
County to consider new software for Public Safety departmentsWarwick Jones
We were less than impressed by the performance of the Committees at last night’s meeting. It is not that we had any issues with the decisions of the Committees. Indeed, we would have concurred with most of them. It was the lengthy deliberations and slack adherence to the proper conduct of meetings. Some members had strong feelings about their causes and obviously felt that by repeating their views, the cause would advance. Firmer action from the Chairs would have made for quicker decisions and with little expense of meaningful rhetoric.