The May 15 CNA membership meeting focused on livability and quality of life issues currently affecting our neighborhood and the ongoing efforts by CNA to promote enforcement of existing ordinances.  Erosion of livability and quality of residential life has increased with the growth of tourism and development in downtown Charleston.

Jerry Smith (co-chair of the Crime Prevention and Police Protection Committee) led a presentation regarding livability issues that have recently intensified, including:

  • excessively loud motorcycle noise, especially from groups cruising on weekend nights on routes generally including East Bay, King Street and White Point Gardens;
  • trespassing and property damage by youths collecting palmetto fronds from private property and illegal peddling of palmetto roses (as distinguished from the City-sponsored artisan rose program by licensed children in designated areas at the City Market, Waterfront Park, etc);
  • vehicle and home break-ins; and
  • animal waste and littering.

Larry Gillespie described the rapidly growing incidence of illegal short term rentals in our neighborhood and the consequences to neighboring residents of this commercial accommodation use in violation of residential zoning laws.  A short term rental (less than 30 days) of a house is illegal and sometimes become “party houses,” unlike licensed and regulated Bed & Breakfast or inn operations that do not adversely affect residents’ livability and quality of life.

Mr. Smith’s presentation was accompanied by numerous graphs and charts analyzing complaints received by the Police and Livability & Tourism departments over recent years as well as incident reports collected by enforcement officials.  Security camera footage and photos illustrated the nature of several ordinance violations.  For more detailed data and analysis, click here to view slides from the presentation:

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Messrs. Smith and Gillespie, along with other CNA Board and Committee members, have met with a number of police and livability officials to discuss feasible ways for the city to increase enforcement of ordinances.  The Charleston Police Department recently began patrols to address excessive motorcycle noise (revving of engines and speeding). Efforts to meet with and support increased city enforcement are ongoing.

CNA members are invited to contact CNA by emailing with comments, questions or suggestions for additional livability issues that should be addressed.

In the near future, CNA proposes to conduct a member survey and initiate informal discussion sessions on specific topics.  These sessions are intended to enable interested CNA members and CNA Committee representatives to explore the issues and develop feasible solutions.  Ideally, recommended solutions could be presented to city officials and/or the Tourism Commission, as appropriate.