Trident CEO Council to City of Charleston: 'Respect Property Rights, Protect Integrity of City Government'

A proposal by the Charleston City Planning Commission in South Carolina that would lower the height restrictions on certain downtown properties would negatively impact current and future economic progress, the Trident CEO Council recently said.


A proposal by the Charleston City Planning Commission in South Carolina that would lower the height restrictions on certain downtown properties would negatively impact current and future economic progress, the Trident CEO Council recently said.

“We are concerned that the ongoing effort for future economic development in our region could be negatively impacted and smart investors may shy away from the area if one of its leading municipalities does not honor its past commitments,” Chairman Marc Fetten and Tom Leonard, executive director of the Trident CEO Council, said.

The council consists of a group of executives from the Tri-County Region employing more than 10,000 associates in the local community.

Specifically, the Trident CEO Council wants members of the Charleston City Council at its meeting on Tuesday to deny the planning commission’s recommendation to downzone all 3X parcels on the peninsula, a reference to the 3X Old City Height District where the 3X height allowance dictates that buildings not be taller than three times their distance from the center of the street. 

Currently, some nine downtown properties are part of the 3X Old City Height District, including Sergeant Jasper – which is now under redevelopment -- the Francis Marion Hotel and St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church.

Several planning commissioners think these properties should be rezoned to the 55/30 Old City Height District, where building heights would be lowered to 55 feet in order to maintain what they say is a balance between the design and scale of new developments.

With the growth of the Charleston area, the Trident CEO Council says many citizens are watching this issue closely as it may set a precedent for the region.

Such downzoning action would not be a productive precedent, Leonard and Fetten wrote in a Nov. 9 letter to city council members and the mayor urging them to “stop this unprecedented action and send a strong message to the community that their investment is safe in the city of Charleston.”

Also among the members of the Trident CEO Council are Leonard I. Hutchison, III, Charleston area president of Wells Fargo; John Darby, president and CEO of The Beach Co., which is redeveloping Sergeant Jasper; Reid Banks, president of Banks Construction; Kenneth Seeger, president of West Rock Land & Development; Dwayne Cartwright, president and CEO of Berkeley Electric Coop; William Youngblood, CEO of McNair Law Firm; and Lonnie Carter, president and CEO of Santee Cooper.

In addition to having a pro-economic development stance, Trident CEO Council members advocate for improved infrastructure, quality job growth, education and responsible government, among other issues.

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Organizations in this Story

Banks Construction Berkeley Electric Coop Charleston City Planning Commission City of Charleston Francis Marion Hotel McNair Law Firm, P.A. Santee Cooper Corporation The Beach Company West Rock Land & Development

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