Vision, Community & Heritage
A Preservation Plan for Charleston, South Carolina
In 1974, the City of Charleston developed a groundbreaking Historic Preservation Plan to protect its historic and architectural heritage. Thirty three years later, with the majority of that Plan's recommendations implemented, new preservation issues have emerged. Working in a partnership with the Historic Charleston Foundation, the City contracted with the firm of Page and Turnbull to lead in the creation of an updated Historic Preservation Plan.
The work on the new Preservation Plan began with a presentation during Historic Charleston’s Fall Forum in October of 2006. Starting later that year and continuing throughout 2007, the City and Page and Turnbull held over thirty workshops, meetings, and review sessions with diverse members of the public in order to receive input from the community. In January three public workshops-focusing on the areas of the Upper Peninsula, Lower Peninsula, and James/Johns Islands, West Ashley, and Cainhoy-were held. Through these efforts, as well as this webpage, we received an enthusiastic response-over 1500 comments in all.
Once these comments were assimilated into various sections of the Plan, in the summer of 2007 Page and Turnbull held several more workshops with members of the public- focus groups comprised of members of the preservation community, architects, business leaders, local contractors, members of City Council, neighborhood representatives, and others-in order to review proposed recommendations and garner additional feedback.
After many more sessions with members of a citizen Advisory Committee, City and HCF staff, and others, in late October of 2007 a draft Plan was made available to the public via this website and at City offices, and was also presented at three public meetings. Also at that time the Plan was presented in three public presentations held in separate locations throughout the city. In January of 2008 the final draft of the Preservation Plan was presented at Historic Charleston Foundation’s Winter Preservation Forum.
The community interaction resulted in an extremely comprehensive document. Over 600 recommendations are included in the Plan, covering a wide-range of issues from traffic concerns to expansion of the historic districts to the issue of affordable housing to the importance of cultural preservation. As the new Plan is intended to guide the City into the next 40 years, the recommendations are categorized as Immediate, Intermediate, Long Term, and Ongoing. (See “Next Steps,” below, for that section of the Plan.) It is important to note that many of the recommendations in the Plan will not necessarily come into effect until or unless the City’s zoning ordinance is specifically changed.