North Charleston addresses dilapidated commercial buildings, port mitigation funds, and solar power

Commercial buildings that are in disrepair could get a closer look in North Charleston, after City Council approved new code-enforcement regulations Thursday night.

The new rules are intended to give the city more options to address commercial buildings that are dangerous or unsightly, and are similar to the rules that apply to people’s homes.

Approval of the regulations was delayed at a previous council meeting due to concerns from the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors, which among other things was concerned that terms such as “unsightly” were open to interpretation.

The ordinances were ultimately approved without changes, on a unanimous vote with no discussion. Council members Dot Williams and Bobby Jameson were absent from the meeting.

The remaining eight council members and Mayor Keith Summey also agreed unanimously to shift authority over millions of dollars in port mitigation funds away from a community group largely comprised of neighborhood association presidents, in favor of a committee whose members include representatives of governmental departments and the local Chamber of Commerce.

At issue were concerns that too little progress had been seen during the nearly seven years since the State Ports Authority agreed to pay more than $4 million to help a group of North Charleston communities mitigate the impacts of a new port terminal on the former Navy base.

The Lowcountry Alliance for Model Communities, which had authority over the funds, agreed to the shifting of authority and LAMC officials are among the members of the Mitigation Agreement Commission, but neighborhood association presidents will have a diminished role.

Also Thursday, council adopted a resolution calling on the Legislature to make it easier for companies to finance and install solar panels on homes and businesses.

Reach David Slade at 937-5552 or Twitter @DSladeNews.

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