Several Charleston community organizations and a state group is suing Carnival Cruise Lines for, what they say, disrupting the environment and historic assets in the city. Southern Environmental Law Center Lawyer Blan Holman is representing these organizations–
We contend that they are out of compliance now, and these laws include zoning laws, where you can do things and what the limitations are and activities in downtown Charleston. But, also environmental permitting laws.
Holman says the citizens that filed suit are not necessarily opposed to cruises in Charleston, rather they just want some regulations to take place.
No one is trying to get rid of Carnival Cruise Lines. My clients support having cruise activity in Charleston. The question isn’t whether or not we have it, it’s how we have it. So, it really isn’t trying to chase off the cruise lines, it’s more–how can we have this business be like every other business in Charleston.
Holman says his clients understand the economic engine the cruise business is to the state. However, in the lawsuit citizens say they want to protect other economic booms–like the many tourists attractions and historical assets.
You’re doing it in the heart of historic downtown. There should be ways to limit that and do it so there is minimal impacts on local neighborhoods, but because they have contended that they are not subject to local controls, we havent gotten there yet. One of the points of the lawsuit is to say let us establish the fact that there is local control here and we can have standards that can keep us in balance.
Holman says he expects the State Ports Authority and other local groups to interfere with the lawsuit so he doesn’t have a specific timeline of how everything will pan out.
Holman is representing the Historic Ansonborough Neighborhood Association, the Charlestowne Neighborhood Association, Preservation Society of Charleston and the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League.