An early test to Charleston's newly updated hotel regulations was expected Tuesday after a downtown apartment complex applied to use a share of its units as hotel rooms.
The request could run into some snags with the city's revised lodging ordinance, particularly a rule that protects residential uses on the peninsula.
The proposal was for 142 guest rooms at the Meeting Street Lofts, one of the newest apartment complexes on the peninsula. The building, which is at the intersection of Huger and Meeting streets, has 264 units total.
According to the Meeting Street Lofts website, there are one- and two-bedroom units available to lease. Amenities include a fitness center, a pool, conference rooms and a social lounge with a terrace.
The lot is zoned for hotel use, but to get approval, the request would have to be granted a special exception based on whether the requirements of Charleston's hotel ordinance are met.
The building's owner took its request off the Board of Zoning Appeals' agenda hours before a planned public review Tuesday. It's unclear if the request will be rescheduled.
A spokesperson for the landlord, Maryland-based FCP, confirmed the request was being removed from Tuesday's meeting agenda but did not offer other details.
Stricter rules for new hotels were developed this year and have largely been in effect since May. City Council unanimously gave its final approval to the ordinance last week.
There are "a number of tools" in the new ordinance that could limit a hotel use at the Meeting Street Lofts site, said city planning director Jacob Lindsey.
Among those tools, he said, is a provision that prevents buildings that were recently occupied as residences from being converted into hotels.
The ordinance states that a hotel use "will not result in a net loss of dwelling units that have been occupied within five years of the date of application for the exception."
The city can also approve plans whereby a developer replaces the residential units displaced by a hotel, but only under certain conditions specified in the ordinance.
The new rules also include requirements for meeting space and a new fee hotel developers have to pay to help fund affordable housing on the peninsula.
So far, one hotel project has received city permission under the updated rules. The zoning board approved a lodging at its last meeting that's planned near Charleston's medical district. The developers plan to market the property to long-term guests whose stays are related to the local hospitals, such as patients and their families or visiting scholars.