A new zoning concept that could allow more 100-foot-tall buildings in parts of downtown Charleston, but would initially apply to just one development, was recommended by the Planning Commission Wednesday.

The “100/30 Urban Street” height district still requires action by City Council. It would be used for the first phase of Evening Post Industries’ Courier Square development, consisting of a large retail, office and apartment complex at Meeting and Columbus streets.

Evening Post Industries owns The Post and Courier.

The new zoning proposed by the city allows for a taller building in exchange for developing wider sidewalks lined with retail businesses. Buildings must be at least 30 feet tall, but not more than four stories tall, along Meeting or King streets, but could rise to 100 feet — about eight or nine stories — in the interior of the block.

“They are not actually gaining any leasable square footage,” said Tim Keane, Department of Planning, Preservation & Sustainability director.

The Courier Square building, with a proposed 85,000 square feet of retail and office space and 215 apartments, would be a test case, Keane said. Buildings 100 feet tall are already allowed on parts of King and Meeting streets, but without the additional requirements.

The Planning Commission voted 7-2 for the height-related zoning, and several audience members opposed the idea.

“100 feet high is insane for this section of Charleston,” said local resident Kevin Eberle.

Pierre Manigault, chairman of Evening Post Industries, said the company will continue to seek community input, and wants the development to be a national model of urban infill, with broad local support.

The building is the start of one of downtown Charleston’s largest redevelopment plans, potentially covering 12 acres.

The Board of Architectural Review considered the Courier Square design in December but did not make a decision.

Reach David Slade at 937-5552