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, reviewed in 2013-2014, and updated in 2017-2018. County Council most recently adopted a Resilience Element on March 10, 2020. The next scheduled 5 year review will be in 2023.
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 in April 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 in November 2003; the first ten-year update was adopted in November 2008, and the second five-year review was adopted in October 2013 and implemented by January 2015. The Charleston County Planning Commission has completed the second ten-year update, which was adopted on October 9, 2018 (to be in compliance with State Law this update was due by November 2018). Because the 2013-2014 review of the Plan was so comprehensive, the 2017-2018 ten-year update focused on the following objectives:
The Planning Commission created five working groups to review the individual elements with staff throughout 2017. The working groups are: Population & Housing; Economic Development & Cultural Resources; Natural Resources & Energy; Community Facilities & Transportation; and Land Use & Priority Investment. The working groups met several times over the course of the year to review Plan elements. The groups’ findings were presented at Planning Commission meetings. Materials from these meetings can be viewed by clicking the drop-down menu below.
Following Planning Commission’s initial review of the Plan, a public input gathering campaign took place. Seven public workshops were held in various locations around the County, and approximately 250 citizens attended. Several citizens also submitted comments via email or online form.
Planning Commission recommended approval for the Ten-Year Updates and the proposed amendments to implement their findings on July 9, 2018.
After Public Hearing, Planning and Public Works Committee Meeting and Three County Council Readings, County Council adopted the ten-year update of the Comprehensive Plan on October 9, 2018.
For more information about the Ten-Year Update, please contact the Zoning/Planning Department at (843) 202-7203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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