CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – It was standing room only at Wednesday’s meeting as community members shared their thoughts on the latest developments for the Union Pier Redevelopment Plan.
The City of Charleston Planning Commission’s special meeting began with a presentation by South Carolina Ports’ president & CEO Barbara Melvin.
“In this redevelopment in total,” Melvin said, “on the property where we sit, is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to revitalize our waterfront with mixed-use, neighborhoods, places to live, play and work.”
Melvin described how their Planned Unit Development, or PUD proposal, has evolved since it was first introduced in January.
“We’ve been undergoing the city process,” she said. “As you saw, it’s been rigorous, and we feel like it deserves to be. We’re not afraid of that process.”
And she attributes many of the changes made to the PUD since the beginning of the year to the input they’ve received from the community.
“We believe this is a stronger plan because of the public input we’ve received so far,” Melvin said, “and please know, we are still listening.”
Following Melvin’s presentation where she highlighted modifications made the plan involving open space, roadway configurations, building heights and an increased number of affordable housing units, neighbors had an opportunity to weigh in on the latest proposal.
Many were still not pleased by what was presented.
“Esteemed planning commissioners,” Charleston resident Zoe Stephens said. “I beg you to lead on this and to recommend a no vote and denial of this PUD.”
“Please vote to deny this developers’ request and make them go back to the drawing board and do better,” College of Charleston student Carrie Campion said. “Charleston deserves it.”
“This is public land,” Coastal Conservation League executive director Faith Rivers James, “and therefore, it must provide a significant public benefit. We ask the Planning Commission to recommend denial of this rezoning.”
However, some are in favor of the current proposal for the largest development in Charleston’s history.
“I appreciate Ms. Melvin’s comments and I support her and the Ports’ Authority,” one Charleston neighbor said. “I think they’re going to do great things.”
“The Chamber representing 1600 members and 165,000 regional employees supports the Union Pier Plan,” Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Bryan Derreberry said.
“I support this planned development and encourage the commissioners to as well,” another Charleston neighbor said.
The City of Charleston Planning Commission decided to table all votes until a later date.