Your guide to understanding development news in Charleston, SC

Downtown Charleston

Downtown Charleston | Photo by Preservation Society of Charleston

Table of Contents

We’re following up on our new and coming soon businesses story with a guide to development terminology. Check out these definitions of common terms paired with ongoing projects and examples you might recognize in the Holy City.


These are projects that provide more than one purpose in the community, like a building with apartments on top and shops on the bottom. Expect to see combinations of housing and commercial components.

Think: Proposed plans for the Union Pier redevelopment, which feature a mixed-use neighborhood with housing, hotel rooms, civic spaces, and public parks.


This changes an area of land from the city’s designated use. Examples of rezoning requests include developers looking to build a high-rise in a neighborhood with a height restriction or open a business in an area marked residential.

Think: Zoning changes approved by the City of Charleston Planning Commission for a proposed luxury hotel on Meeting Street where the Days Inn used to be. (The Post and Courier)


PUD stands for Planned Unit Development, or land planned and developed according to an approved master plan. Developers work with local government to determine how the land will be used.

Think: Union Pier. The project’s PUD application was reviewed by the city. The approval process includes review by the Technical Review Committee, Planning Commission, and City Council.

Opportunity Zones

Opportunity Zones are a federal program in South Carolina that encourage private investments in low-income communities through tax incentives, bringing jobs and economic development to these areas.

Example: Use this map to search Opportunity Zones in South Carolina.

Multi-Use Path

This type of path is separate from vehicular traffic and may be used by pedestrians, bicyclists, skaters, joggers, and other non-motorized users.

Think: A county project is underway on James Island to build a 10-ft-wide multi-use path along Riverland Drive to the Lowcountry Senior Center, with work set to continue through September.

One-Family Dwelling

This is a building made for and occupied by one family. They can be attached, meaning they share a wall or walls with another one-family dwelling, or detached, meaning they are freestanding.

Example: Row houses on the peninsula are one-family attached dwellings.

Multi-Family Dwelling

This is a building that contains multiple housing units.

Think: Apartment buildings and residential condominiums.

Principal Use

Principal use is the primary or predominant function of a property.

Example: Living in a home within a residential zone is the principal use.

Accessory Use

This is the use of a property that is subordinate or incidental to the principal use.

Example: The garage or shed on your home property may be labeled an accessory use.