Oct 15, 2021

Zoning Rules, Flood Risk and a South Carolina Plan

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Drew Grossklaus, Sales Director/BIC East Cooper

Planning is something that can reap great benefits and save us from future headaches. There are times when we don’t have a plan in place and something unexpected happens. It is then that we realize that we need to have a plan for the next time. The City of Charleston recently put a comprehensive plan in place to tackle the difficult problem of flooding in downtown Charleston. The plan calls for limiting new development in flood-prone areas, while encouraging development in areas that are less flood-prone. Given the flood prone nature of Charleston and other coastal areas of South Carolina, it would seem like this type of plan would already have been put in place. However, it is the first approach in South Carolina to limit development in certain areas and encourage development in less flood-prone areas.

While I was surprised to see that this is the first time this has been done in South Carolina, I applaud the City of Charleston for being at the forefront of this proactive plan. In real estate, we are always advocates for individuals’ property rights. Those property rights must make sense in the broader scope of environmental aspects – including flooding. This type of planning can save money in the long run by avoiding relocation costs, large insurance costs and later expensive infrastructure needs. Most importantly, these plans could be lifesaving by restricting housing development where environmental forces have the potential to jeopardize lives.

The City of Charleston’s plan also assesses the need for affordable housing in Charleston, a problem that has continued to grow over the years. A study was conducted that found that the cost of living in the Charleston area is now more expensive than Atlanta, Charlotte, Asheville, Virginia Beach, Richmond and Jacksonville. It also noted that only Washington, D.C. had a higher cost of living in the metro area.

Kudos to the City of Charleston for creating a comprehensive plan to look forward and address current and increasing issues facing housing in Charleston. To learn more about the plan, read the recent article about the unanimous decision in the Post and Courier.

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