Residents discuss proposed changes to Charleston's architectural board

Members of the public shared views Thursday at Burke High School on the way the Charleston Board of Architectural Review (BAR) operates.


One of the key recommendations -- splitting the review of projects into small and large -- has been introduced.   Contributed image

Members of the public shared views Thursday at Burke High School on the way the Charleston Board of Architectural Review (BAR) operates.

Much of the meeting centered on proposed changes to height requirements and the role the board plays in those decisions. A proposed change, which would limit the board's ability to rule on height, is one of the recommendations in a study carried out by an outside group. 

Only one of the key recommendations -- splitting the review of projects into small and large -- has been introduced.

"Larger projects just took much more time, and smaller ones ran into them, creating undue delay on a lot of projects," Councilman William Moody told Palmetto Business Daily. "I am pretty pleased with the way BAR is working, but I'm always looking at them to see if can do better."

A second key recommendation made by the outside consultants, Duany Plater-Zyber, was for the city to measure building heights by a structure's number of stories, rather than feet. More urgency was added to the review following the legal action over the Sgt. Jasper development, which did center largely on the board insisting on height restrictions. The developers, The Beach Company, won the suit.

Moody said the board overstepped its bounds on that development. 

In more general terms, the councilman said the board should not be getting involving in zoning issues.

Thursday's meeting was one of several held to discuss the proposed changes. The City Council will have a public meeting on the issue June 20.

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City of Charleston Building Code Board of Appeals The Beach Company

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