MTYT: Taking lessons from the city of Charleston

By Gary McNair - bio|email

Last year, I attended a business forum featuring the mayor of Charleston, South Carolina, the honorable Joseph P. Riley, Jr.  Mayor Riley is nationally recognized as one of the most successful and innovative mayors in America.  For those not familiar, Charleston is a beautiful and well-planned coastal community that has experienced significant growth the last forty years.  And Mayor Riley has been at the helm for most of that time.

In his presentation, the mayor walked us through what it took to develop and revitalize Charleston into what it is today.  It wasn't easy.  He shared the good, the bad, and the overall challenges he faced along the way, one of which was annexation. 

Now, I'm not crazy about the current North Carolina annexation laws.  I would prefer the property owners have more say in their own destiny.  But at the same time I will tell you I am a proponent of annexation and what it means for planning and developing a city.

We can learn a lot from a city like Charleston.  And one thing I'm convinced of is you just can't do high-quality city growth and development without annexation.  Mayor Riley will tell you it is necessary to get the job done.  And you can't argue with the fact that most people in Charleston, South Carolina think it was a job well done. 

That's my turn.  Now it's your turn.  To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at

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