The Sergeant Jasper, the Shem Creek parking garage, Earls Court (Mount Pleasant), the “gathering place” on James Island, The Atlantic (Ben Sawyer causeway), Cambridge Square (Park West), the cell tower at River Towne, the Clemson Architectural Center, InfiLaw’s purchase of the Charleston School of Law, offshore oil exploration, the cruise ship terminal, Capt. Sam’s Spit and the completion of 1-526. Anything in common?
I’ll be the first to admit that I have strong opinions about, and disagree with, several of these projects. But what right do I have to interfere? Is it enough to voice concerns over development projects, or is taking actions adverse to others’ property rights something that we should do without compunction?
Someone said that the definition of a conservationist is the last guy who got a dock. Do we really want that selfish attitude to prevail?
First and foremost, property rights are central to a free commerce-driven society, and changing rules retroactively, or selfishly demanding a halt to future development to interfere with property rights, runs counter to a free-market system.
It is becoming apparent that developers will never please the hand-wringing masses, so it is understandable that, after trying to meet the demands and being soundly rejected, the Beach Company should decide to forge ahead with a legally permissible plan.
Certainly taxpayers should never be on the hook for flood insurance for an ill-conceived development on a shifting sandbar, but if someone wants to build something on the sandbar and watch it roll out to sea, hey, he owns it. If Clemson likes its strange design, so what? There are lots of strange buildings in Charleston.
Obviously all of the above projects are not equal, nor are they all a good idea, but to the extent that they are legal, I wish the obstructionists among us would voice opinions in a constructive way rather than clog up the works — just because they can.
Michael B. Harper
Sea Gull Drive