Earlier this spring, Mayor John Tecklenburg recruited 11 members + two advisory participants to become part of a task force in charge of tackling the growing number of hotels on the Charleston peninsula.
Currently, downtown Charleston boasts 13.2 hotel rooms per 100 people – which is a good ratio according to Planning Director Jacob Lindsey – but considering the anticipated hotel developments, that number could climb to 20 rooms per 100 people (more than cities such as San Francisco).
To manage the rapid growth, the team presented its first proposal to the Charleston City Council on May 28. While the Council has rejected several proposals to slow hotel growth throughout the years, they actually granted initial approval for the First Reading of the proposed Hotel Ordinance.
Here’s what the proposal includes:
○ Developers would have to adhere to the character of the neighborhood.
○ High-end hotels would not be approved in low-income areas.
○ Rooftop bars would not be permitted.
○ Developers who do not follow their approved plans could have their Certificate of Occupancy or business licenses revoked + could be fined.
○ If a hotel is building in an existing apartment or residential area, the hotel must sustain the same number of apartments or homes which are displaced within a quarter mile.
○ New hotels would contribute $3.40 for each sq. ft. to the city’s affordable housing initiatives.
Additionally, the Council asked for the Task Force that the number of full-service hotels increases by no more than four + asked for some language to be clarified and/or simplified.
While hotel properties that incorporate considerable shared-use space (like restaurants and event/meeting space) can become a community asset, it’s important to protect other neighborhood aspects – such as housing and small businesses – that may be affected by new developments.
The next steps are for the Planning Commission to review the proposal + hold a public hearing (date TBD) before the City Council will take a final vote.