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The Charleston Code Assessment is now available for review. Read the project update below to learn more. You can also review materials from the public meeting on April 10.



The City of Charleston is undertaking a project to update and modernize its Zoning Code. The process is called Setting New Standards. The purpose of the project is to modernize the current set of regulations that govern development in the City to make them more user-friendly, address the planning and development goals of the recently adopted comprehensive plan, Charleston City Plan, address rising water levels that will impact current and future development, and ensure the updated regulations treat all members of the community equitably. Visit About the Project for more detailed information about the project. 



The Charleston Code Assessment is now available for review. The report provides a diagnosis of the current Zoning Ordinance and related City ordinances related to land development, and identifies areas where the City’s regulations align with its land-use goals and where they fall short. The Assessment also suggests changes that the City should consider including in a reorganized, restructured, and updated set of development regulations. The Assessment is available here and on the Documents and Work Products page

We want your input! A public meeting on the Code Assessment occurred on April 10. Please visit the Work Products page to view meeting materials. An online survey was available for comment through April 30. 

Based on the direction in the Charleston City Plan and feedback from stakeholders, staff, and the public, the Assessment proposes that the City adopt “elevation-based” development regulations that better address development and redevelopment in the context of the rising water environment, which will cause an increased risk of flooding on lands at lower elevations.  

The recommendations in this Assessment are organized around five central themes:  

  • Make the Rewritten Development Code More User-Friendly: The current Zoning Ordinance is lengthy and poorly organized. The Assessment recommends that the regulations be rewritten so that they are easier to understand, with a more logical organization, clear language, illustrations, and updated and clarified administrative procedures. 

  • Restructure the Zone Districts to Make Them More User-Friendly and Better Support Desired Forms of Development: The Assessment proposes revisions to the zone district lineup with a goal of directing new development towards higher elevations, increasing the resiliency of development at lower elevations, and better supporting mixed-use development. One key recommendation is that a separate set of zone districts be established on the Lower Peninsula that will better support the area’s historic development context. 

  • Make the City More Resilient to the Rising Water Environment: The Assessment proposes addressing the rising water environment by increasing the resilience of development, particularly in low-lying areas. The Assessment proposes implementing a point-based system to increase resiliency of developments in areas at risk of flooding, while the updates to zone districts are intended to direct development to land at higher elevations as directed in the City Plan. 

  • Update Regulations to Encourage a More Diverse Array of Housing Types and Incentivize Affordable Housing: Housing affordability is growing challenge throughout Charleston. Building on direction in the City Plan, the Assessment proposes allowing a greater diversity of housing types in appropriate locations across the city, including “missing middle” housing types such as duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, and cottage homes, and consolidating and enhancing incentives that support the production of dedicated affordable housing. 

  • Modernize the Development Standards: The Assessment recommends modernizing and updating the development standards to improve the quality of development, including moving away from “one size fits all” parking requirements and updating standards related to open space, landscaping, exterior lighting, and protecting lower-intensity residential neighborhoods from incompatible commercial uses.  





WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 2024 at 5 pm 


ILA Building (Community Hall) 

1142 Morrison Drive 

Charleston, SC 29403 

Meeting materials coming soon. 

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19TH, 2023 at 5 PM 


2 George St, First Floor, Public Meeting Room 1403, Charleston, SC

Click here for meeting video. 

MONDAY, APRIL 17TH, 2023 at 6 PM 

Charleston Museum Auditorium
360 Meeting St
Charleston, SC

Click here for the meeting video.





Department of Planning, Preservation & Sustainability

2 George Street, Ste 3100|Charleston, SC 29401

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