DOWNTOWN CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- The development of new hotels in downtown Charleston will be slowing down.
City council unanimously passed an ordinance, on Tuesday night, which limits the number of full-service hotels on the peninsula.
The planning director for the City of Charleston, Jacob Lindsey says that limiting hotel growth will protect existing residential areas and businesses.
“It prohibits the displacement of residences and the displacement of offices by a hotel,” Lindsey said
Caroline Walker, a homeowner on the peninsula, thinks the limit is needed to protect neighborhoods like hers from being displaced.
“I think to keep the integrity of the downtown historic area, you’d have to put a cap on it,” Walker said.
That is exactly how the City of Charleston plans to limit hotel growth, by putting a cap on the number of full-service hotels on the peninsula.
“Smaller hotels that are 50 rooms up to 150 rooms, those can still come forward and wouldn’t be subject to that quota. However, the largest hotels, full-service hotels would only be allowed four more,” Lindsey said.
Full-service hotels are the largest type of hotel, typically with a built-in restaurant and amenities like a spa and fitness center, banquet hall and conference spaces.
According to city officials, there are currently 4 full-service hotels in Downtown Charleston.
Elizabeth Warren, a homeowner on the Peninsula is hoping that limiting hotel growth will preserve local businesses.
“In terms of businesses, just from a personal perspective of walking down King Street, you see long-standing businesses shutting down or moving to different locations because they’re not able to keep up with the market and the rent rates. I hope this would help maintain some of the original storefronts that we’ve had, Warren said.
The ordinance that was passed also requires all existing hotels in Downtown Charleston, both full service and smaller ones, to contribute money to the development of affordable housing.
“This new fee on hotels is a very important part of us maintaining an affordable downtown, Lindsey said.
The cap on full-service hotels in downtown Charleston is effective immediately.