Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Charleston's "historic front door"?

More news today about the South Carolina Ports Authority proposal to rework Charleston's existing cruise terminal to allow increased cruise traffic--nearly double that of current use levels.  Click here for the most recent update.  From the article:  "Jaque Robertson, whose New York-based urban design firm was hired by the State Ports Authority as a consultant to evaluate the property, called the redevelopment proposal "one of the half-dozen most important urban projects in the U.S."

Predictably, those in favor of the plan tout it's economic benefits (to the tune of $37M, plus $3.5M in estimated tax revenues and 400 jobs), but apparently without any accounting for costs, including the externalities that will arise from increased ocean dumping 3-4 miles offshore from Charleston's harbor, beaches, rivers, and marshes.  On the other side, opponents argue against the proposal, citing problems with increased traffic and pollution concerns.  Residents and business owners adjacent to the proposed new cruise terminal have mixed opinions, with no clear concensus in sight.  The preservation community is divided, too, with one group supporting the plan, while another urges more careful study.  My historic preservation law class will be taking a closer look at these issues during the course of the semester.  We'll report what we discover by way of national, state, and local preservation law that might affect implementation of the proposed plan.

Will Cook, Charleston School of Law

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