CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) —The City of Charleston looks to gather more information before moving forward with plans to redevelop the Sergeant Jasper building downtown.
The Beach Company owns the building.
On June 3, 2015, the City of Charleston Board of Architectural Review denied The Beach Company’s application to redevelop the Sergeant Jasper site. The Beach Company appealed the BAR’s decision to the Circuit Court. On February 19, 2016, The Beach Company presented its appeal to the Honorable J.C. Nicholson, Jr., Circuit Court Judge. After considering the arguments put forth by The Beach Company as well as the City of Charleston, Historic Charleston Foundation, Preservation Society of Charleston, Charlestowne Neighborhood Association and Harleston Village Neighborhood Association, Judge Nicholson ordered the parties into mediation to come to an agreement on the design and approvals process for the site. On April 12, mediation ended in an impasse. On April 20, Judge Nicholson issued his Order concluding that the BAR Ordinances are constitutional but that the BAR overstepped its powers and authority by denying The Beach Company’s application even though the proposed project complied with the applicable zoning restrictions as to the height and mass of the building.
Monday, the City of Charleston filed a motion to reconsider Judge Nicholson’s ruling.
John Darby, The Beach Company’s CEO, has plans to move forward with the Jasper plan that was originally presented before the BAR. Before Monday’s motion, Darby had said the company would likely move forward with a renovation of the current Jasper building.
Charleston City Councilman Mike Seekings says the city would like to know more before The Beach Company moves forward with building the plan on which Judge Nicholson ruled. That plan was the first plan the Beach Company had already submitted to the BAR for final approval.
In response to the motion to reconsider, Darby wrote a letter Wednesday to Mayor Tecklenburg and City Council Members. In part, it said, ”
If the City proceeds with an appeal and delays The Beach Company from going forward, we will have no choice other than to replace the material already removed from the building and reopen the existing building. Furthermore, The Beach Company will seek damages for an unconstitutional taking against the City. Judge Nicholson ruled that a delegation of zoning powers to the BAR was unconstitutional, so that will give The Beach Company a great basis for a damages case. However, we would much prefer to work with the City and get this project built rather than continue to litigate a matter that should have been resolved years ago.”