I’d like to clarify two matters concerning the City Planning Commission’s meeting on the Sergeant Jasper redevelopment last week.
There was some concern that the meeting should have been scheduled for a larger venue. State law and the city’s ordinance require that there be a 15-day notice for Planning Commission meetings.
This meeting was originally scheduled and noticed to be in the Planning Commission’s regular conference room at 75 Calhoun Street. This is a comfortable but smaller conference room that is typically large enough for its meetings.
Once the public notice has been published, the city can’t change the location of the meeting, as people would have been publicly notified of where to go and when.
Nine days after the public notice, there was a large meeting at the Charleston Museum, where there were an estimated 300 people in attendance. But by then, it was too late to change the publicly scheduled meeting location.
However, we moved the meeting to the Charleston County School Board Conference Room on the first floor at the noticed location, 75 Calhoun Street, because this is the largest room at this location.
At the meeting on Feb. 18, because of the very large crowd and because not everybody could fit in the room, it was postponed.
The new meeting has been set for March 16 at the Burke High School auditorium. This auditorium has the capacity of 700, which should be more than enough to accommodate everybody who wishes to attend.
The quote of Chairman Frank McCann’s comments about “the majority doesn’t always rule” was his attempt to try to gain some order at the beginning of the meeting.
There were several people speaking unannounced from the audience, and it quickly looked like a meeting that was going to get out of control.
The purpose of public meetings is to allow citizens to speak one at a time. There were shouts and orders to Mr. McCann.
The point he tried to make was that as chairman of the commission, he needs to make decisions about the orderly handling of the meetings. That was the context of his remarks.
Frank McCann and all members of the Planning Commission are volunteers. They often times spend several hours at one meeting and work diligently throughout the year.
Their attentive work is for the future benefit of our city, and we are lucky to have Frank McCann as chair and his colleagues on the Planning Commission.
JOSEPH P. RILEY JR.
Mayor, City of Charleston