City of Charleston Votes to Approve Remote Meeting

Staff Report From Charleston CEO

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

Monday, April 6th, at an emergency called meeting, the Charleston City Council voted 10-3 to adopt an ordinance allowing remote/virtual public hearings.

This ordinance applies to the Planning Commission, the Board of Zoning Appeals-Zoning, the Board of Zoning Appeals-Site Design, the Design Review Board, the BAR-Large, and the BAR-Small, and others.  It is currently set to expire on May 16, a date chosen to coincides with the other emergency ordinances passed by the City Council.

The Charleston Metro Chamber applauds this decision to adjust processes to maintain core services while accommodating safe remote work.

Action was essential to keep multiple sectors of the economy – engineering, site design, construction, skilled trades – moving forward. Without these board/commission meetings and public hearings, multiple development projects would be kept in perpetual limbo until social distancing restrictions can be safely lifted. City planning department staff report that 37 project applications currently on the agenda have been delayed over the past 4 weeks because of COVID-19 related meeting cancellations. An additional 30 applications submitted recently are also held up.Enterprises of all types have certainly been challenged by COVID-19, and everyone is adjusting to new work-from-home, virtual meeting, and job-site distance guidelines to keep people safe. Adoption of this ordinance sends a clear signal that the City of Charleston intends to adjust as needed and remain open for business.