Charleston City Council Again Considers Reining in Planning Commission’s Power – Charleston City Paper

Faced with the Planning Commission’s recommendation of 65 percent, Councilman Keith Waring stood by City Council’s original plan to set the required vote to 60 percent and again discussed the underlying problems that he sees with the current system.

“That rule was put in place almost 100 years ago, in part, to protect the financially privileged. There has never been an African-American businessman to come in front of this body in 20 years who has been able to overturn and be successful in obtaining that 75-percent vote. In the 1930s, that wasn’t even conceived of,” said Waring. “When you change the zoning of a property, it either significantly increases the value of the property or significantly decreases the value of the property. It is embedded in economics. This has a whole lot more to do with than just history.”

Waring added that in his experience, wealthy applicants are the only group with the resources necessary to hire consultants to appeal to local officials and possibly gain the support needed to overturn decisions by the Planning Commission.“

They hire the legal firms. They hire the engineering firms and architectural firms. Historically, this is at the disadvantage of African Americans, women, and minority owners,” said Waring. “To say that this has worked, it has worked well — for a few. But not for the many.”

Source: Charleston City Council again considers reining in Planning Commission’s power – Charleston City Paper

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