Once upon a time there was a small town occupied by early settlers known as Charlestowne. In spite of many local hazards such as alligators, snakes and pesky mosquitoes the settlers made it into a nice place to live.

The area continued to grow and many new roads were built which allowed people to commute from the “burbs” and yet enjoy the peace and tranquility of living in remote places such as Summerville.

But then a funny thing happened — people from “off” began to take notice, especially after complimentary articles in prestigious travel magazines. Pretty soon the trickle of new people grew to a 45-per-day flood. Housing all these fresh transplants requires lots of new houses and apartments — it’s a Realtors’ and developers’ dream come true.

The place was bursting at the seams and the infrastructure could barely keep up. New hotels and offices were built on every piece of land imaginable until the city, which had been called “The Holy City,” became known as “The Hotel City.” Commuting to and from the suburbs became a nightmare with trips of an hour becoming commonplace.

Of course, Charleston became ever more popular with tourists until a funny thing happened — the city that we all loved became so crowded that parking became almost impossible, and the old charm was buried under the daily onslaught of traffic and pedestrians.

Charleston became so built up and congested that it began to lose its charm and little by little it was no longer a must-see venue for tourists. Pretty soon the hotel occupancy rates began to tumble and the brand-new apartment blocks remained unfilled.

So how can we prevent this over-development from occurring? We must develop a long-range game plan where we create a more harmonious balance so that we maintain most of the things that made Charleston a unique city.

Brian Hill

Captiva Row