I take issue with the recent letter to the editor titled “NIMBY views.” It argues that the public should recognize property rights and not try to stop, among other projects, the Sergeant Jasper, the Clemson Architectural Center, Capt. Sam’s Spit and InfiLaw’s purchase of the Charleston School of Law.
While property rights play an important role in our system of government, they should not be inflated into absolutes that trump the legitimate rights of the public. Charleston is the jewel that it is in large part because of the Board of Architectural Review and the public’s active participation in matters that come before it.
I, for one, am not prepared to say the public was wrong in its assessment that the originally proposed Clemson building and the Beach Company’s Sergeant Jasper proposals were inappropriate for Charleston at the proposed locations.
As to Capt. Sam’s Spit, while the landowner can argue it has a property right to construct homes on the fragile upland portion of the spit, the actual question before the Department of Health and Environmental Control was whether the landowner could install an in-ground bulkhead for a road to the spit at the expense of erosion to the public area.
As to InfiLaw, should South Carolina allow a business operation to function as a school without judging its capability to provide an adequate education? (See, The Atlantic Magazine article about InfiLaw entitled, “The Law-School Scam,” Sept. 2014).
Those opposing InfiLaw argue that the S.C. Commission on Higher Education should not issue it a certification based on the fact that InfiLaw schools are at the bottom of the rankings of law schools, have extremely low employment and bar passage rates and burden its students with enormous non-dischargeable debt (e.g., $135,466 at InfiLaw’s law school in Charlotte, N.C. State Bar Journal, Spring 2015).
While it is a part of the American creed that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, it is equally true that vigilance in the form of an engaged public is the price of a quality community.