Two studies, one fix: Regulate cruises, P&C, June 16, 2012.

While it is refreshing that continued attention is being given to the impact of cruise ships on Charleston’s ambiance, it is also ironic that the conclusions of Miley and Associates (commissioned study by The Historic Charleston Foundation) are essentially the same as those of the Cruise Ship Task Force appointed by Mayor Joe Riley in 2003 and hosted by the Historic Charleston Foundation (HCF).

I served on that committee and while residents fought “tooth and nail” with proponents of the cruise industry, we were all able to agree on the following points:

 

» Establish a cruise ship advisory council of residents and industry leaders to monitor and make regulatory recommendations. We strongly agreed on the need for enforceable regulations.

» Limit commercial passenger vessels (250 or more) to the existing South Carolina Ports Authority cruise ship facility, thus, in effect, limiting the number of such ships to no more than one a day. We felt that even this daily number could overwhelm the residential quality of life, so there was a recommendation to focus marketing on the smaller luxury segment. The current proposal to build a larger cruise ship terminal opens the door to multiple larger vessels overtaxing our environment.

» Expand the noise ordinance to include cruise ships.

»Charge an additional $2 passenger city tax to help offset costs of cruise ship traffic management downtown  (Cruise Ship Task Force Final Draft 2003).

Kudos to HCF for not sweeping this under the rug.  Perhaps it is finally time for the mayor, City Council, and the State Ports Authority to listen to the residents who are so directly affected. Instituting the recommendations of 2003 would have saved us all much weeping, wailing and angst, as well as cracked teeth.