Charleston First US City To Embrace Innovative Elevation-Based Zoning to Tackle Sea Level Rise

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Charleston is on the brink of adopting a groundbreaking zoning approach, known as elevation-based zoning, in response to rising sea levels. If implemented, Charleston would lead the nation as the first city to fully integrate sea level rise considerations into its development decisions.

The current zoning code in Charleston dates back to 1966. The proposed changes include elevation-based zoning measures aimed at addressing increased flooding and the challenges posed by climate change. This initiative follows closely on the heels of Mayor William Cogswell’s recent announcement of a new flooding plan geared towards bolstering preparedness for extreme weather events.

Under the updated zoning code, there will be a shift towards limiting development in low-lying areas and those vulnerable to flooding, while also introducing flexible zoning provisions for projects located in potential flood zones based on future climate projections. The emphasis will be on promoting higher-density development in areas with safer elevations.

To engage the public and gather feedback, the city is organizing a public meeting scheduled for Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the International Longshoremen’s Association Hall on Morrison Drive.

You can also fill out an online survey here today through April 25th to give your feedback.

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