Lawsuit alleges Carnival vessels violate Charleston ordinances - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Lawsuit alleges Carnival vessels violate Charleston ordinances

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South Carolina's coast line draws millions of visitors to the Palmetto State every year, but a case in front of the State Supreme Court is charging Carnival Cruise Lines with destroying the beauty of one of the state's most popular destinations.

The ship comes into Charleston for just two months and up to five days a week, but it also brings roughly a quarter million visitors into the area. But those devoted to historic preservation say Carnival is destroying the ambiance of the peninsula city.

State Supreme Court justices are still deliberating a lawsuit filed by multiple neighborhood and historic organizations, alleging Carnival is violating city ordinances and creating a nuisance for local residents.

They specifically city light and noise pollution as well as the congestion that results from the roughly 2,000 crew members and tourists that de-board the ship right in the heart of Charleston's historic district.

Attorneys for Carnival say their ocean-going vessel should not necessarily be bound by city ordinances, and such a ruling would have a big impact on maritime commerce. Charleston Mayor Joe Riley agrees.

"It's a lawsuit that is really about a matter that should be handled by local government," said Riley. "It's really no different than a lawsuit brought by citizens trying to regulate how many people can attend a Clemson-Carolina game."

"Activities in play like Carnival detract from what makes Charleston a special and historic place," said William Cook with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "We do not believe there will be any impact on maritime commerce. This issue was researched extensively by the plaintiffs prior to filing their lawsuit."

The city of Charleston is receiving support and funding to deepen at least one of its harbors to expand maritime commerce, but its unclear whether the outcome of this case will impact that funding.

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