The Advocates: Update from Third Quarter Meeting with Mayor Tecklenburg

The Chamber held its third quarterly meeting with Mayor Tecklenburg on August 11. The meeting focused on a discussion of the six shared policy priorities: One Region Roadmap, attainable housing, development processes, Lowcountry Rapid Transit, Mark Clark Extension and diversity, equity and inclusion.

Here is an update on each of them:

One Region Roadmap
The One Region Roadmap survey deadline was extended to August 31. The survey is your chance to have input on a regional strategy. Do not miss this opportunity!

Attainable Housing 
The Chamber thanked Mayor Tecklenburg for his participation in the Attainable Housing Vision Lab. Mayor Tecklenburg was happy to hear there was progress on the idea of forming a Regional Housing Coalition, but he also encouraged the Chamber to identify key action steps to advance attainable housing policies in the region through a Housing Summit. CTAR is in the process of completing a housing study that will identify specific housing strategies for each jurisdiction. Following the release of CTAR’s housing study in January, the Chamber, CTAR and the City of Charleston will collaborate to hold a Housing Summit.

Development Processes
As a result of the Development Process Focus Group that City staff and Chamber members participated in, the City of Charleston has made changes to the development process. The dedication package will now open after the first plat submittal. Additionally, the City is working to track projects from the first submittal all the way through completion through a Development Dashboard. This Dashboard will allow the City to follow the data to see where backups are occurring. Lastly, City staff is coordinating a meeting between the Chamber and City legal counsel to discuss reviews of standardized close-out documents.  

Lowcountry Rapid Transit
The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments (BCDCOG) is prepared to submit its application for LCRT funding to the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) in the fall. The environmental document has been signed, and 30% design plans are complete. If you are interested in writing a letter of support for the FTA application, please email me at bvincett@charlestonchamber.org.

Keith Benjamin recently resigned as Director of Transportation for the City of Charleston to pursue another opportunity. The City has named an interim director, Robert Somerville until they can find a permanent replacement. The position is posted online, and Mayor Tecklenburg assured everyone they are actively looking.

Mark Clark Extension
The Mark Clark Extension project continues to make progress and is beginning the public outreach process on the preferred alternative alignment: https://www.scdotmarkclark.com/publichearing.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
The Chamber updated the Mayor on the recent success of the Chamber’s DE&I Conference. The Mayor also informed the group about the recent report from the Special Commission on Equity, Inclusion and Racial Conciliation.

The Mayor shared that the City has also been working hard on its DE&I initiatives. The City is exploring a corner store for a minority business training center/incubator and an 8,000 sq. ft. building dedicated to minority business development.

Mayor Tecklenburg shared his increasing concern about the growing number of COVID cases in the Charleston region. He believes that the administration of vaccines and the utilization of masks is a public health issue, not a political issue. He will continue to push for vaccinations and encourages the business community to do the same.

Bailey Vincett
Government Relations Coordinator

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