The Charleston Planning Commission tonight voted to deny The Beach Company's request for a zoning overlay on the company's Sergeant Jasper property.
The commission's vote flies in the face of the City of Charleston's recommendation that the body approve the request, which would allow primarily residential use for the property.
That zoning overlay was also a key part of the settlement agreement reached after a long and costly legal process between The Beach Company and the city over the property.
“We continue to be perplexed by the actions of the groups who oppose this zoning overlay based on its ‘footprint,’” said John Darby, CEO of The Beach Company. “This overlay pertains strictly to usage—not size. The size of the project is well under the density allowed by the zoning, yet these groups continue to thwart the advancement of this plan based on size.”
Yesterday, Palmetto Business Daily reported that, despite the Charleston City Council's approval of the settlement between the city and The Beach Company, the Historic Charleston Foundation has signaled that it may continue the fight.
In a statement criticizing the Planning Commission's vote, The Beach Company pointed to a "positioning statement" by the Historic Charleston Foundation's which states that “All property owners must respect adopted planning policies, the ordinances and the public process, all of which are in place to protect Charleston, its architectural character and livability.”
"The Beach Company has followed the process to the letter, and suggests the other groups do likewise," according to the company's statement. "Last year, we followed the processes stated in the ordinance and appealed the BAR’s denial of our project, which was later affirmed by the Circuit Court Judge. Zoning is another ordinance that must be respected by all parties."
It appears that, for now, despite a settlement between the city and The Beach Company, some parties will force the battle to continue.