When residents of Daniel Island and areas of the Cainhoy peninsula – which are governed by the City of Charleston – are looking to build a new home or renovate a basement or add a garage, the rules can be confusing. So here’s a breakdown of some of the boards that need to approve such plans before a project can move forward.
BOARD OF APPEALS
The Building Codes Board of Appeals (BCBOA) reviews appeal requests relative to either the Chief Building Official or Chief Fire Marshal’s application and interpretation of the adopted South Carolina Building Codes. The board consists of five members and two alternate members appointed by the mayor.
Send inspections to @charleston-sc.gov. There is a $100 fee per application and it is nonrefundable. Applications are due one week prior to the meeting date. In the event of a holiday, the meeting will be held the following business day. Meetings are tentatively scheduled on the second Monday of every month at 4:30 p.m.
BOARD OF ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW
The Board of Architectural Review (BAR) reviews all new construction, alterations and renovations visible from the public right of way. The BAR reviews all demolitions of buildings 50 years of age or older on any structures south of Mount Pleasant Street, and any demolitions (regardless of age) within the Old and Historic District.
BAR includes two different boards: BAR-Large (BAR-L) for large projects and BAR-Small (BAR-S) for small projects. To send BAR-L and BAR-S submittals, email BAR@charleston-sc.gov
Simple requests such as painting, rot repair, and small modifications may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
and will be distributed to the preservation staff. Please include other applications, photographs, and valuation of request.
In addition to the city’s BAR, Daniel Island projects are subject to the Daniel Island Architectural Review Board. It provides a comprehensive set of standards which allow the community to develop in an orderly and cohesive manner within the development’s comprehensive master plan. The specific guidelines for all DI neighborhoods and associations are available at dicommunity.org/arb/.
BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
The Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) hears requests for zoning variances and special exceptions to traditional zoning regulations such as use, building setbacks, height restrictions, and parking requirements.
For the Board of Zoning Appeals-Zoning (BZA-Z) to approve variance requests, applicants must be able to explain how their request satisfies the legal test for a variance. To approve special exception requests, applicants must be able to show the board how their request satisfies specific requirements listed in the zoning ordinance for the exception being requested.
The Board of Zoning Appeals-Site Design (BZA-SD) hears zoning variance and special exception requests and appeals to staff decisions concerning site design regulations such as the protection of trees, landscaping requirements, parking lot design and street design standards. Zoning variance requests must meet the variance test set by the State of South Carolina. To approve special exceptions, the board must determine whether a specific proposal satisfies conditions set forth in the zoning ordinance.
Applications and plans in PDF format should be submitted directly to Board Administrator Pennye Ashby at email@example.com
or call 843-724-7177.
DESIGN REVIEW BOARD
The Design Review Board’s (DRB) objective is to establish a review process that will protect and improve the visual and aesthetic character and economic value of development within the city.
DRB reviews new construction, exterior alterations, and signage for commercial/non-residential projects and residential projects (eight or more units) where the property lies within the designated corridors. Projects that are less than 3,000 square feet, with certain restrictions, may be reviewed at staff level and are not required to go before the board.
The Planning Commission is a group of nine citizens of Charleston appointed by the mayor and city council to serve as a citizen advisory group for the council on planning related issues. The commission reviews plans, planning related ordinances such as concept plans, rezoning, Street Names, Subdivision Requests, and Zoning Ordinances.
The commission’s recommendations are then passed on to the City Council, who have final say, with the exception of subdivision approvals, which are the sole responsibility of the Planning Commission.
All submittals can be sent to Planning Manager and Division Director Christopher Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 843-724-3774.
PLAT REVIEW COMMITTEE
The Plat Review Committee provides a coordinated interdepartmental review to confirm that plats submitted for recordation comply with city standards. The purpose of the review process is to streamline review by the Geographic Information System (GIS) Division,
Zoning Division and Engineering Division to consolidate comments for the submitter and to provide the submitter with a known schedule for response.
Applicants can submit all plats at the Permit Center located at 2 George St. Charleston. All submittals need to include a cover letter, to the attention of the Engineering Division.
NOTE: City of Charleston boards, commissions and committees meet during several times per month. Visit charleston-sc.gov/2109/Boards-Commissions.