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Charleston native

Charleston's Annexation History

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the P&C is having an error.... I'll have to read it later I guess. But judging form the headline, they have done their half. What I want to know is if annexation is this easy, why aren't other cities doing it? I know that some choose not to, but its not the case for all of them.

Also, we are all making N Charleston out as the bad guy here. Is there anyone that supports them?

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Also, we are all making N Charleston out as the bad guy here. Is there anyone that supports them?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Actually North Charleston is Charleston's blessings. W/O North Charleston, Charleston would never have become so aggressive in growing its boundaries! My only hope is that Councilman Campbell moves to another State. He's bad news for city of Charleston IMO...

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Actually North Charleston is Charleston's blessings. W/O North Charleston, Charleston would never have become so aggressive in growing its boundaries! My only hope is that Councilman Campbell moves to another State. He's bad news for city of Charleston IMO...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

However, I still don't support North Charleston & never did, even when I lived in the Lowcountry in the early 1980s...

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What I want to know is if annexation is this easy, why aren't other cities doing it? I know that some choose not to, but its not the case for all of them.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The reason Charleston has been so successful is because it has a mayor that understands the importance, has staffed the city with expert lawyers to defend against lawsuits, has been willing to take any and all "heat" for pushing annexation, and has used any and all loopholes and strategies INSIDE the law to accomplish successful annexations.

Since he has been Mayor for 30 years, the results have piled up.

The article a few posts back, illustrates this very well.

Columbia mayor Bob Coble would never subject himself to the political heat. He wants everyone to like him. Greenville simply has gone with a different startegy, improve what is already in the city and forget expansion except a few commercial areas. Given the anti-tax attitude of the area, that is understandable. Spartanburg has little to offer suburbanites, as municipal type services are already provided by PSDs.

For many years, PSDs held Charleston back too, but Riley turned the tables on them by getting the Local Option Sales Tax passed. This made city taxes comparable to PSD taxes. Charleston was the first large county to adopt the LOST. Riley campaigned very hard for it and it passed by a mere 56 votes. That was back in 1990. Leadership means getting in front and bring others to your side. He did that, and the city has received the benefit.

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Actually North Charleston is Charleston's blessings. W/O North Charleston, Charleston would never have become so aggressive in growing its boundaries! My only hope is that Councilman Campbell moves to another State. He's bad news for city of Charleston IMO...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You know, I never really thought about it like that, but you're right! If N. Charleston didn't incorporate, Charleston probably would not have annexed other areas such as on Johns Island and even Daniel Island and Cainhoy areas. However, Charleston may have started annexing areas in the North area all the way to Summerville, and West Ashley and James Island would have continued being annexed. Those areas are such an integral part of the city of Charleston. I think that if the north city didn't exist, the urban map of Charleston would be slightly different...heavy development on James Island might not have ever occurred (Imagine that!).

I also agree about Councilman Campbell. He is a complete embarrassment and hinderance to the redevelopment of DT's East Side. He has never truly shown thoughtfulness to his constituents in their dilapidated areas, hence the drugs and other crime still occurring there. He has even voted against the redevelopment of the areas where the old Cooper River bridges will be removed. A true leader needs to take his place and help that area as it changes with the new bridge.

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The reason Charleston has been so successful is because it has a mayor that understands the importance, has staffed the city with expert lawyers to defend against lawsuits, has been willing to take any and all "heat" for pushing annexation, and has used any and all loopholes and strategies INSIDE the law to accomplish successful annexations...

...For many years, PSDs held Charleston back too, but Riley turned the tables on them by getting the Local Option Sales Tax passed.  This made city taxes comparable to PSD taxes. Charleston was the first large county to adopt the LOST.  Riley campaigned very hard for it and it passed by a mere 56 votes.  That was back in 1990.  Leadership means getting in front and bring others to your side.  He did that, and the city has received the benefit.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

This is all true. Very good points, vic! Here is something important to remember about Charleston: when it was originally founded, the city leaders hoped and planned to make Charleston into the premier city of the South, a "New York" of the South, if you will. In the late 1700's, Charleston was the 4th largest city in America only behind New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. Throughout the next 200 or so years, Charleston endured many natural and man-made (Civil War) disasters, which inhibited its growth severely. Only now does the city have the power to fully charge ahead and boom.

PSDs really kept Charleston from surging in growth like other cities such as Atlanta, Jacksonville, Richmond, and even Charlotte. As a result, you have many citizens who have what I call a "county" mentality of growth, rather than a "city" mentality. Most SC politicians still have this mentality as well, which explains why many ludicrous annexation policies have been implemented in state law. This "county" mentality has the county as the superior governmental body. In a rural county such as Marlboro or Dillon, that is understandable, because there is no main city where development and issues are concentrated. However, in Charleston, the "county" has way too much power and ability to zone and allow for development outside city limits. That also includes un-annexed areas surrounded by the city limits. How does this make sense?

Basically, the bad thing about Riley's aggressive annexation is that he has had to do legislative gymnastics just to get the city back on track in terms of how big it should be. It is a shame if that's what it takes for SC cities to maintain urban growth and have proper control of their urban areas.

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Well, I personally think that it is an abuse of the annexation rules and could lead to even more restraints down the line. All Charleston annexed was "riight of way" along HWY 61. The move has nothing to do with any expansions of the towns boundaries, but merely to blcok N. Charleston. So they don't think Watson Hill should be developed...fine...Then poney up the $30M the owners of the Watson Hill Property paid for the land and you can do whatever you want with it. The CIty of Charleston has allowed (and is still allowing) development right up to the edge of the plantation district effectively creating the trraffic problems that they are bemoaning. I have worked on two subdivisions that are currently being built out over there. Now, the decide that no-one should develop anymore out there, because they are done. This is the height of hypocrisy. The City of Charleston has already annexed its way to Johns Island across several waterways....how is that any different from what North Charleton wants to do.

I too feel that the dominant city in the region should control the areas urban landscape. However that is not the case here, nor will it ever be. It too late to put the crap back in the horse. So as we go forward, it should be on a level playing field. Everyone is OK with North Charleston being the dumping ground for the areas retail and industrial complexes, but nobody wants to see it grow beyond that. Sorry for the rant, but I think North Chuck and the landowner are being trampled on in this instance.

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...I too feel that the dominant city in the region should control the areas urban landscape.  However that is not the case here, nor will it ever be.  It too late to put the crap back in the horse.  So as we go forward, it should be on a level playing field.  Everyone is OK with North Charleston being the dumping ground for the areas retail and industrial complexes, but nobody wants to see it grow beyond that.  Sorry for the rant, but I think North Chuck and the landowner are being trampled on in this instance.

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You make some pretty good points, here, but I'm afraid I will have to disagree. The situation of not having one dominant city to be in control of the urban area is precisely the problem here. Because Charleston isn't fully considered the dominant city, you have other municipalities fighting each other and competing to provide services, expand their boundaries, and increase their tax base. Also, you have other communities trying to form their own town out of un-annexed holes within the city limits (i.e., James Island). How can you control development and allow for good growth when you're fighting other entities to keep the urban area under a master plan?

I believe that Charleston can and should be the dominant city in the region with N. Chuck fully merged into it. The city already has developed a master plan for the region called The Century Five City Plan which outlines that the S.C. 61 Historic Highway area has to be limited in development. There was a verbal agreement between Charleston, N. Charleston, and Summerville that this area was to be preserved. North Chuck basically broke the trust and was hell-bent on annexing the area regardless of how it impacted the other 2 cities. It seems to me that the city is being selfish in trying to acquire Watson Hill.

Why does N. Charleston need to grow? Why does this city have to expand its boundaries? It is a suburb, for crying out loud. It was never meant to be the dominant power in development of the metro, which means it should be limited in growing. These people that incorporated the city chose to not be annexed by Charleston and as a result, effectively blocked it from expanding northward. Charleston is merely covering itself from being completely surrounded by N. Charleston, which Mayor Summey would attempt to accomplish, IMO, if he went unchecked.

I agree that the developers are being short-changed with their land, but they have chosen to be bad neighbors in going with a massive development. If they scaled it down a bit, there may have not been as much controversy. I think that Watson Hill will eventually be developed, but not as part of N. Charleston, not with the same amount of density, and not in the quickest amount of time. And it makes more geographical sense for Summerville or Charleston to have city limits west of the Ashley River! Imagine if you lived West Ashley, but you also say you live in N. Charleston? :blink:

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I actually live in unincorporated Dorcehster County, but I am surrounded by North Charleston. All that you say is true and I agree with a large portion of it. One of my employees. lives off Hwy 61 in West Ashley and is moving because he cannot stand the traffic. I agree that is a valid concern, but the current problem was created by the development of Shadowmoss (which is ongoing), Village Green, SChieveling PLantation (ongoing), McLaura Hall, and McLaura Bluff (ongoing). All of these projects are in the City of Charleston. Mayor Joe didn't seem too concerned about their impact on the already bad traffic situation. Also, other development in Dorchester County/Summerville contributes to this problem as this is the preferred route from SW Summerville to West Ashley.

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What is happening is, Charleston is biting off more than it can chew.

Our city has always been a medium small city. It was built for that. We dont HAVE enough large roads, interstates and highways to support the EXTREME traffic that we're now seeing.

The so-called "development" of Charleston has brought in so many out of towners, foreigners that move here just because they see one or two things they like about the city, and crowd up the area in the process.

Now dont get me wrong, its good that Charleston is seeing a certain type of expansion in space and population, but the problem comes in when the structure and landscape of the city is rapidly becoming more urban and just like every other American city, instead of maintaining and preserving the "old" feel of Charleston. The "community" feel. That is rapidly being lost.

What made Charleston so special was the fact that tourists could come to our home, explore and enjoy it, and still feel that "community" experience that existed in past Charleston.

Now......our city's growth is overpowering our culture so much, that we cant control the growth. I have NEVER in my entire LIFE seen anything near the extreme traffic that we now have in Charleston before. Its disgusting. And the sad thing seems to be that its too late to do anything about it. I think its really a lost cause and Im slowly watching my city turn for the worst. Soon we'll be like every other urban city.

Savannah's about to take our spot. Its disgusting.

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What is happening is, Charleston is biting off more than it can chew.

Our city has always been a medium small city. It was built for that. We dont HAVE enough large roads, interstates and highways to support the EXTREME traffic that we're now seeing.

The so-called "development" of Charleston has brought in so many out of towners, foreigners that move here just because they see one or two things they like about the city, and crowd up the area in the process.

Now dont get me wrong, its good that Charleston is seeing a certain type of expansion in space and population, but the problem comes in when the structure and landscape of the city is rapidly becoming more urban and just like every other American city, instead of maintaining and preserving the "old" feel of Charleston. The "community" feel. That is rapidly being lost.

What made Charleston so special was the fact that tourists could come to our home, explore and enjoy it, and still feel that "community" experience that existed in past Charleston.

Now......our city's growth is overpowering our culture so much, that we cant control the growth. I have NEVER in my entire LIFE seen anything near the extreme traffic that we now have in Charleston before. Its disgusting. And the sad thing seems to be that its too late to do anything about it. I think its really a lost cause and Im slowly watching my city turn for the worst. Soon we'll be like every other urban city.

Savannah's about to take our spot. Its disgusting.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I really don't think you have anything to worry about. Yes, Charleston will probably continue to urbanize, but I don't believe it will be at the expense of its historic district as there are other areas in Charleston to develop.

Don't take this the wrong way, but Charleston is not going to stay the same population and traffic wise. As the rest of the nation grows, so will Charleston as well as other SC cities. As times change, we will see other things change as well including population, traffic, etc. For example America's 2000 population is not the same as it's 1980 population.

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What is happening is, Charleston is biting off more than it can chew.

Our city has always been a medium small city. It was built for that. We dont HAVE enough large roads, interstates and highways to support the EXTREME traffic that we're now seeing...

...Now dont get me wrong, its good that Charleston is seeing a certain type of expansion in space and population, but the problem comes in when the structure and landscape of the city is rapidly becoming more urban and just like every other American city, instead of maintaining and preserving the "old" feel of Charleston. The "community" feel. That is rapidly being lost.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well, you make some valid points, Donny, but there are some areas where I believe you may be mistaken. First of all, Charleston has never "always" been a medium small city. Maybe in terms of population, but in relation to the rest of the first cities in the U.S., Charleston was the 4th largest throughout the late 1700s. The problem was that the city had major setbacks due to natural disasters and war, and thus, never grew as fast as the other cities such as New York and Boston.

As far as having a community feel, I agree that it is being lost, but my answer to that: welcome to the reality of being an important city. The kind of growth Charleston is experiencing is basically 200 years overdue. Now, I don't want Charleston to become another Atlanta, but one of the almost universal laws in becoming a major city is that the "small-town" feel fades away. When more people move in, it just happens. Not everybody is going to be close to the community. It's sad and unfortunate, but that's how some people are.

I'm with Hammett's comments; Charleston will never lose its historic charm and some of its community feel, especially as long as there are preservationists. However, the city leaders need to really focus on developments West Ashley to maintain an excellent quality of life there. Mayor Riley has done some stupid things like preventing construction of the final leg of the Mark Clark Expressway. If that was done, along with finishing and widening Glenn McConnell, and widening Bees Ferry Road and Magwood Road, it would provide another alternative route to DT from Summerville and West Ashley. I believe that is your #1 cause for the terrible traffic on 61.

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Mayor Riley has done some stupid things like preventing construction of the final leg of the Mark Clark Expressway. If that was done, along with finishing and widening Glenn McConnell, and widening Bees Ferry Road and Magwood Road, it would provide another alternative route to DT from Summerville and West Ashley. I believe that is your #1 cause for the terrible traffic on 61.

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By the final leg of the Mark Clark, are you referring to the John's Island section? If so, I don't see how thay alleviates traffic on Hwy. 61. In fact, that would probably make it worse.

Riley and nearly everyone on John's Island opposed that construction because it would completely eradicate the rural character of the island. Without a doubt, that is what would happen. The community at large is saying that development must not be allowed to sprawl everywhere unabated. I am in agreement with that position. Add density to the already developed areas, and preserve the rural areas on John's Island and Hwy. 61.

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By the final leg of the Mark Clark, are you referring to the John's Island section?  If so, I don't see how thay alleviates traffic on Hwy. 61.  In fact, that would probably make it worse. 

Riley and nearly everyone on John's Island opposed that construction because it would completely eradicate the rural character of the island.  Without a doubt, that is what would happen.  The community at large is saying that development must not be allowed to sprawl everywhere unabated.  I am in agreement with that position.  Add density to the already developed areas, and preserve the rural areas on John's Island and Hwy. 61.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

But alas, the average Joe (or Jane) cannot afford the prices for these infill developments. Land prices are astronomical. So while I agree with you in principal, the reality of the situation is much different. With that said, The Magnolia/Silver Hill Project that Robert Clement is putting forth attempts to do just that by revitalizing the "neck" area of upper Charleston/lower North Charleston. It will be interesting to see the pricing of units in that area when it finally comes to fruition.

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Charleston did approve the half cent sales tax increase, of which 17% is to be allocated for transit. I guess this is a start, but what more should the city be doing?

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From http://www.halfcenttax.org/index.htm:

"Transportation projects will be the most richly funded, receiving approximately 83% of the funding to be split between mass transit and road projects. $221 million will be allocated to greenspace projects in Charleston County. The County will begin collecting revenues from the sales tax in May of 2005. At this point in time, however, Charleston County has only a vague spending plan for the money to be allocated to transportation projects and they have virtually no spending plan for projects relating to greenspace.

This tax will span 25 years and will bring in $1.3 billion. They money could be used to do many good things for the people of Charleston County. However, with no spending plan, it is unclear exactly what the money will be used for, good or bad."

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By the final leg of the Mark Clark, are you referring to the John's Island section?  If so, I don't see how thay alleviates traffic on Hwy. 61.  In fact, that would probably make it worse. 

Riley and nearly everyone on John's Island opposed that construction because it would completely eradicate the rural character of the island.  Without a doubt, that is what would happen.  The community at large is saying that development must not be allowed to sprawl everywhere unabated.  I am in agreement with that position.  Add density to the already developed areas, and preserve the rural areas on John's Island and Hwy. 61.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yes, I am referring to the Johns Island section, but I have to disagree with your opinion. First of all, this entire expressway was planned to be built over 30 years ago, and the final leg was supposed to be completed 10 years ago. Neglecting its construction has not helped in preserving Johns Island's "rural" character anyway. Many neighborhoods have been built and others are still planned. Also, there will only be one access point onto Johns Island from the expressway on Maybank Highway, and if Charleston continues to annex more land, there can be strict zoning laws implemented to cut down on the amount and frequency of houses and shopping areas to be built. People need to face the facts: Johns Island is becoming another bedroom community for Charleston merely because it is sandwiched between Kiawah and Charleston. It seems to me that people out there want to have their cake and eat it too; convenience and comfort of city services with restaurants and shopping, while living out in the woods.

Infinite1 also made a good point with infill developments...with Charleston's inflated real estate prices, being able to afford rent or ownership on these properties will be improbable for many people.

Anyway, finishing the uncompleted expressway will allow for another route for DT traffic since it will connect with the James Island Expressway and complete I-526. This along with widening the other roads I mentioned will provide commuters to DT with another route to take rather than being forced to either Hwy 61 or US 17. The final leg will alleviate the traffic because it allows for an additional route to DT. That seems pretty common sense to me.

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