CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg has a bit more power when it comes negotiating land deals.
Charleston City Council voted Tuesday night to give the mayor the authority to force the sale of a particular West Ashley property through eminent domain if the owner and the city cannot come to terms.
The city wants to turn the 2.5 acre former Piggly Wiggly grocery store site on Sam Rittenberg Boulevard into a public space. “The Piggly Wiggly site is a very important gateway to the city of Charleston and to West Ashley,” said Planning Director Jacob Lindsey.
The city says using eminent domain is a last resort when it comes to acquiring property and that the Mayor’s power is a way to open the conversation with developers and owners. “We want to begin cooperative disscussions first and foremost to see if we can turn this into a public space,” added Lindsey.
“It is a taking,” said Councilman Marvin Wagner, who voted against the resolution, “it is a forced sale of your property. I just don’t think we should do it or even threaten to do it.”
The city says they are nearing an agreement where will not have to use eminent domain.