The Charleston County Comprehensive Plan is an expression of the County's intent for where and how future growth and development should occur. The plan identifies parts of the County that may or may not be appropriate for certain types of growth, given the Lowcountry's unique character and natural conditions. The Plan is created through an extensive public planning process where input is gathered to help shape the future of how and where growth should occur.
Charleston County Council adopted its first Comprehensive Plan in 1999 after a two-year long planning process. The 1999 plan was the first prepared under the 1994 Comprehensive Plan Enabling Act. The Plan was subsequently reviewed in 2003, updated in 2008, and reviewed again in 2013-2014 (find out more about the most recent review below). The current version of the plan was most recently adopted on January 6, 2015.
The Plan should be a tool to use in evaluating future proposals and policy changes to ensure consistent decisions are made. The Plan should also provide guidance to land owners and developers on what is appropriate in the County. The Comprehensive Plan contains 10 elements. Each element is comprised of existing conditions, a goal, needs, and strategies to accomplish the Plan's goals. These terms, often used to describe policy recommendations, are described below:
Vision: the comprehensive, overarching statement of the desired future of the County. The ultimate set of ideals to which the County should aspire.
Goal: a statement of desired end-state or target. Tied very closely to the Vision and focused on a specific Plan element. Provides particular guidance for where the County should be in the future and sets the tone for the individual Element strategies.
Strategy: a recommended course of action or task the County or its designated agency could undertake in pursuit of a Goal or Vision. Provides focused and achievable guidance on specific topics under the Plan element headings. Ties the implementation of the Plan to the Goals and Vision.
Implementation Initiatives: work tasks that are reviewed annually and implement the Plan strategies.
Charleston County adopted its first Comprehensive Plan on April 20, 1999. Title 6, Chapter 29 of the South Carolina Code of Laws requires that the Comprehensive Plan be reviewed at least once every five years and updated at least once every ten years. Thus, the first five-year review was adopted on November 18, 2003; the first ten-year update was adopted on November 18, 2008; and the Charleston County Planning Commission adopted a resolution completing the second five-year review on October 14, 2013. The purpose of the five-year review of the Charleston County Comprehensive Plan is to:
Public input is an extremely important part of the Charleston County planning process. A public input gathering campaign was conducted in June and July 2014 by Charleston County Government to gather input. Charleston County held five public workshops in June 2014 in five different areas of the County to gather input on the proposed amendments to the Charleston County Comprehensive Plan. Information that was presented at the workshops can be accessed here. Varying workshop locations, days, and times were selected with the intention that citizens would be able to attend at least one of the five events. Citizens also had the opportunity to submit comments by visiting this website and completing and submitting an online form or emailing the Planning Department. A summary of the public comments gathered through August 8, 2014 can be found here.
On October 13, 2014, Planning Commission recommended draft amendments to the Comprehensive Plan to implement the Five-Year Review. These amendments are shown below.
Charleston County Council held a public hearing on Tuesday, November 18 at 6:30 PM to hear public comments. Following the public hearing, three readings were held, and the Plan amendments were adopted on January 6, 2015.
Now that the Plan has been reviewed and adopted, planning staff will begin implementing the work plan initiatives outlined in the Plan (see Chapter 3.9, Priority Investment, Implementation, and Coordination Element).
The Charleston County Planning Commission began working on the Charleston County Comprehensive Plan Five-Year Review at their November 5, 2012 meeting. The Five-Year Review is in response to changing economic and growth trends and is mandated by Title 6, Chapter 29 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. Since November 5, 2012, the Planning Commission has reviewed all ten elements of the Plan. Below, you will find meeting materials from each meeting.
City of Charleston
City of Folly Beach
City of North Charleston
City of Isle of Palms
Town of Awendaw
Town of Hollywood
Town of James Island
Town of Kiawah Island
Town of Lincolnville
Town of McClellanville
Town of Meggett
Town of Mount Pleasant
Town of Ravenel
Town of Rockville
Town of Seabrook Island
Town of Sullivan's Island
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