Chamber urges city to reject Jasper height change

The shell of the 14-story Sergeant Jasper apartments stands above Broad Street.

The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce is urging the city of Charleston not to lower its height limits on the Sergeant Jasper and other properties around Marion Square.

Next week, City Council is expected to vote on the Planning Commission’s recommendation to change the height limit on several properties to a maximum of 55 feet.

The Chamber of Commerce said it recently sent letters to council members and Mayor Joe Riley urging them not to change zoning laws “in the midst of development, as it will have a negative effect across the city ... and will result in financial burdens to property owners.”

The change also would affect the Francis Marion Hotel and a new hotel being built at the northwestern edge of Marion Square. “If those properties are destroyed in a natural disaster, for instance, they would then not be entitled to rebuild their properties to their current heights and will suffer monetary consequences,” the chamber’s letter said.

The height change has been backed by neighborhood and preservation groups.

The Beach Company, which owns the Sergeant Jasper property, currently is suing the city’s Board of Architectural Review over its decision to reject the design of a new development there that would be about as tall as the existing 150-foot-tall building.

Reach Robert Behre at 843-937-5771 or at twitter.com/RobertFBehre.

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