I would like to address the Oct. 10 Post and Courier article about the “fill and build” ordinance proposed by Charleston City Councilman Harry Griffin.
City Attorney Susan Herdina is cited as saying the city must not adopt an ordinance that encroaches on property rights or puts the city at legal risk.
Apparently, the city feels obligated to approve requested developments or risk getting sued by the owner trying to develop the property.
The liability of a municipality is governed by the S.C. Tort Claims Act, which was enacted in the 1986. This act eliminated “sovereign immunity” and allows a municipality to be held liable in certain circumstances.
The Tort Claims Act, however, retains for municipalities immunity from lawsuits in several areas, including licensing powers or functions, including the issuance or denial of any permit except when exercised in a grossly negligent manner [S.C. Code Ann. § 15-78-60 (12)].
Given all that we know about flooding in Charleston and the emphatic warnings against “fill and build” contained in the Dutch Dialogues, no one could reasonably allege gross negligence for refusing to allow property developers to “fill and build.”
On the other hand, wouldn’t the city be grossly negligent in allowing “fill and build” on low-lying wetlands within the city?
If the city was truly concerned about its legal risk, shouldn’t it be more concerned about lawsuits brought by the owners of adjacent properties flooded as a result of negligently issued building permits?”
Homes and floods
The Charleston Trident Association of Realtors would like to second much of what the Oct. 7 Post and Courier stated in its editorial, “Rebuilding is often the worst response to floods, in SC and across US.”
The association agrees that disaster relief efforts have created an unintended and life-threatening consequence of keeping people in harm’s way. As we seek to safeguard both life and property for South Carolina families, the focus must streamline and increase investment in mitigation grant programs and buyouts.
It can take five or more years for homeowners who have suffered a flood to know whether they qualify for FEMA mitigation grant assistance or buyouts, according to a recent study by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
These families are putting their life on hold for half a decade when they could rebuild, and get their life back to normal in as little as six months.
Ultimately, however, as the Post and Courier editorial board articulated so well, this system is doing the opposite of what it should be doing: encouraging people
to stay in the same place instead of addressing the issues that allowed flooding to disrupt their lives, whether that means moving, elevating a home or being bought out entirely.
While Realtors push our representatives in Congress to pass a long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program, we know critical reforms must be adopted to secure the program’s long-term strength and sustainability.
Notably, the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors supports more federal assistance to empower homeowners to reduce their risk of flooding because the current system does not.
Government Affairs Director
Charleston Trident Association of Realtors
In response to the Oct. 6 Post and Courier letter, “Public trust broken,” about the continued push to complete I-526, the writer states he “... for one will not be voting for any supporter of the I-526 extension project.”
I would like to go on record as saying I will be voting for any supporter of the I-526 extension project.
Friends of library
The Charleston County Public Library gets by with a little help from our friends.
In fact, CCPL gets by with a lot of help from our Charleston Friends of the Library, which have given nearly $1 million over the past 10 years to fund children, teen and adult programming, including our signature storytimes, annual summer reading program, pop-up libraries that reach our underserved populations and help support staff training.
Oct. 20-26 is the 13th annual National Friends of Libraries Week, and it’s the perfect opportunity for the administration and trustees of the Charleston County Public Library to give our friends a big shout out for all they do to make a difference for us every day.
We know the friends are always looking for new members and volunteers. They have so much fun while working to make our community better.
It’s easy to join, just log on to bit.ly/ccplFriends and click “Become a Friend” under “Get Involved.”
You can also help Friends of the Library by attending one of its many book sales that support the library.
Joining is a terrific way to make new friends, give back to our community and make libraries even better.
Charleston County Public Library Board of Trustees
Sen. Tim Scott is impressive but, at a recent gathering, his message and memory were powerful as well.
The senator’s emphasis on civility and the need for education evoked a response from many of us when we discussed his virtues.
It was a valuable experience, having some time alone with him and sampling the impression he was making on others.
North Adgers Wharf
No matter where we are or where we come from, we all have the capacity to help someone else.
As a health science teacher, my mission is to educate the next generation. So when an opportunity came up to travel to Micronesia and train nurses, I jumped at the chance.
Traveling there made me realize how similar the learning process is around the world.
I realized the nurses I trained in Micronesia aren’t too different from my students at Cyber Academy of South Carolina.
In the beginning, they were nervous about learning new material and intimidated to ask questions. As the class went along, they slowly became more open and engaged more in the lessons.
Another quality they both share is an eagerness to learn and soak up the skills they need to succeed. The two classrooms are on opposite sides of the world, but the students are the same.
I believe it’s important for teachers to realize the important role they play.
As educators, our goal is
to support and prepare students so they can have fulfilling futures, no matter where they are or where they come from.
I hope all teachers keep this in mind as we move through the rest of the school year.
Blue Ridge Terrace