Friday, July 30, 2021 Blog

A Better Plan for Charleston

by Betsy La Force

The City of Charleston has reached the final stage of updating its Comprehensive Plan, known as the City Plan—a document that will guide growth and development into the next decade and beyond.

Let City Council know that two key areas of the plan—the extension of Interstate 526 and the Future Land Use Map recommendations for the upper Cainhoy peninsula—are inconsistent with the positive new direction the city should be setting for future growth. 

The majority of the draft City Plan sets a positive vision for the way the city should grow into the future. Most of the draft plan is based on sound science and seeks to turn around past land-use mistakes that led to increased traffic and flooding and our region being less affordable. This major 10-year update gives the city an opportunity to get it right this time around. That is why we have major concerns around two key issues that are clearly missing the mark:

  • First, the City Plan currently endorses the extension of I-526 across Johns and James islands. The proposed 8-mile road extension with a $725 million price tag—an amount that likely will increase when an updated estimate is completed—will not solve traffic congestion, places pressure on rural areas with important cultural resources, promotes automobile dependent transportation, and pulls money away from other transportation priorities. Tell City Council that the I-526 extension (recommendation 12) should be removed from the City Plan.
  • Second, we have concerns about the way the plan will steer growth on the upper half of the Cainhoy peninsula—a massive, 9,000-acre tract of land northeast of Daniel Island that is one of the last remaining undeveloped areas in the city. The plan endorses suburban growth across the entire upper Cainhoy, but we want to see growth concentrated along Clements Ferry Road to protect our natural and cultural resources. Tell City Council to adjust the Future Land Use Map recommendations for upper Cainhoy from Suburban and Suburban Edge to Low Impact/Conserved.

You can read more about the call for a delicate balance on Cainhoy in our op-ed that ran in The Post and Courier a few weeks ago. And you can review the latest version of the draft City Plan here.

The city held a public hearing on July 20, and City Council will likely make a final decision in September. Thank you to so many of our supporters who have submitted comments. At this point in the process, the best way to get involved is to contact your council member directly. 

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly at [email protected] if you have any questions.

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