The Charleston Planning Commission will meet at 5 p.m. Oct. 28 at Burke High School’s auditorium to consider reducing the allowed height at the 310 and 322 Broad St. properties, despite that the City of Charleston does not support the proposed change.

“The city doesn’t support the change because we don’t want to make existing built uses nonconforming to the zoning,” said Jacob Lindsey, planning director for the city.

Regarding the special meeting of the Planning Commission next week, The Beach Company was made aware of the meeting via a mass email from the Historic Charleston Foundation. It is disappointing the planning commission would schedule a meeting to downzone the Sergeant Jasper property without any prior communications with The Beach Company.

Zoning changes are typically requested by property owners or the City of Charleston. It is unprecedented for the Planning Commission – whose members are volunteers and appointed rather than elected – to initiate a zoning change of this magnitude.

It is a matter of public record that Commissioner Gordon Geer initiated a spot re-zoning of the Sergeant Jasper property in the middle of our redevelopment project. Other properties were subsequently included in this rezoning initiative at the direction of the City attorney.

“It is just hard to believe the Planning Commission would schedule a public meeting to discuss such a significant downzoning of over 4 acres on the peninsula without discussing the matter with the property owner. The Planning Commission is well aware The Beach Company has been working towards the redevelopment of the property, under its existing zoning, for several years. If the rezoning was to occur, it would deprive the owner of the millions of dollars already invested in the redevelopment of the property and gut the owner’s property rights,”said John Darby, Beach Company CEO. “This action sends a loud message to landowners and businesses that neither their investments, nor property rights, are safe in the City of Charleston.”