Antony M. Merck of Charleston has won The Post and Courier’s Golden Pen award for December for his letter to the editor, “City must be open to expert advice.”
Mr. Merck cited two articles in the Dec. 20 Post and Courier — “Expert hired to review architecture” and “Tourism debate rages on” as offering “a ‘Eureka’ moment for local citizens.”
The letter pointed out that in the first article, “Mayor Riley admits that many of the city’s newer buildings are not up to the design quality of Charleston — this despite his staff’s monthly meetings, aggressive attention to detail and the oversight of the Board of Architectural Review. ... Therefore, the administration is seeking the advice of Andres Duany, an architect, town planner and renowned expert. ... Hopefully, city officials and the BAR will be open-minded enough to learn from Mr. Duany.”
The letter added: “In ‘Tourism debate rages on’ it is reported that members of the Tourism Management Advisory Committee were in favor of firm policy changes which were rejected by city officials and Mayor Riley. It seems the local neighborhood leaders on the committee were advised to ‘stick to their knitting’ and the minor details of traffic congestion because the administration had already made up its mind on cruise ships and hotel construction.”
Mr. Merck’s letter concluded: “Hopefully, Duany will not be relegated to a similar role as those committee members, and will be asked to evaluate and advise on fundamental aspects of regulation that have produced such ordinary buildings in contrast to Charleston’s past tradition.
“We’ll have an idea when the city makes public the terms of Duany’s engagement. As Mr. Kristopher King of the Preservation Society said in the article, ‘Let’s see exactly what Duany is being asked to do.’ ”
Golden Pen winners are invited to an annual luncheon with the editorial staff.