Charleston City Council will be taking a critical vote on the Business Improvement District (BID) planned for King Street at the January 11th meeting. The time is now for you to take action.
Read below to learn:
- What you need to do
- What you need to know
- What you need to say
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
- Email your city council person explaining your position (Find your city council contact info)
- Sign up to speak (via phone, in-person not required) at the Jan 11 meeting by noon Monday 1/10 (Sign up form)
Use the information and script below to inform your comments.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Business Improvement Districts nearly without exception cause:
- Small businesses to be replaced by chains The New Republic - BIDs Ruin Neighborhoods
- Displacement of minority & low income populations Denver Homeless Out Loud - BIDs Destroy Our Communities
- Gentrification and pricing out of locals in the entire surrounding area, not just within the BID itself Fueling The Gentrification Machine Through BID Urbanism
- The BID board is made up of a mix of wealthy business and property owners who do not reflect the racial or socio-economic diversity of the peninsula
- Many of the board members are also board/staff of the Charleston Visitors Bureau - the city's marketing department - which intrinsically prioritizes tourists over locals
- The BID's $1 million annual budget will be funded only 50% by the businesses and the remaining 50% by an undefined mix of other sources
- The BID will include a robust "ambassador" program that, as the links above prove out, disproportionately hassle and shoo away minorities and the unhoused to areas where they are out of site of the all important tourists
In order to prevent irreversible negative impact from the King Street Business Improvement District, Charleston City Council needs to demand critical modifications to the current proposal.
WHAT YOU NEED TO SAY
The following is a sample letter to your city council person. Public comment will need to be shorter, probably about 30-seconds worth in length.
Include an intro pulling from the above What You Need to Know as you see fit
As a Charleston resident (and/or business owner if applicable), I am deeply concerned about the sweeping impact the King Street BID will have on our community. I oppose the creation of the BID as currently defined and demand of the city at a minimum the following stipulations to mitigate against collateral damage:
- Reduce the BID budget to the $500k/yr committed by the property owners and do not allow additional funding from outside sources ($500k is more than sufficient especially with the elimination of the "ambassador" program)
- Establish a rent cap for non-property owning businesses whose only location is on King Street and who are not affiliated with a restaurant group for the duration of the BID
- Prohibit the funding of an ambassador program or any other non-governmental operation charged with "public safety"
- Prohibit any board or staff of the Charleston Visitor's Bureau from also serving on the BID board
- Revamp the make-up of the BID board to accurately reflect the racial and socio-economic diversity of peninsula residents and local business owners
Thank you for your continued prioritization of the entire Charleston community over the interests of tourists and developers.
Your name, of course