Charleston city council's Committee on Urban Renewal gave the green light for the reenactment of two urban renewal areas during its meeting Thursday evening.
The plans will go to city council for final approval.
If the plans pass, a portion of the West Side and a section of downtown will be eligible for projects and programs funded by the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority. Those projects could include facade grants, tax incentives and streetscape overhauls.
The authority would have the power to acquire properties -- though not by imminent domain -- and promote them for development.
Both plans were written in the 1980s, and, like all urban renewal plans, had set expiration dates. When the two plans expired in the mid-2000s, they were never renewed.
"What happened is they expired and nothing was done with them," said at-large Councilman Jerry Ware, committee chairman.
The West Side Urban Renewal Plan, sometimes called the "Near West Side" or "Elk City" plan, contains an area that roughly runs west to east from Hunt Avenue to the Elk River, and north to south from the CSX railroad tracks to the Kanawha River. The plan expired in 2005.
The Downtown/Old Charleston Urban Renewal Plan roughly centers on Capitol Street and includes some blocks east and west. It expired in 2008.
The authority began pushing to have the districts reinstated earlier this year. The plans remain the same as when they expired, but could be amended if they are reenacted, Director Jim Edwards said.
Edwards highlighted some of the authority's accomplishments in its three current urban renewal areas, which include parts of the East End, West Side and the Shrewsbury Street and Smith Street neighborhoods.
Some accomplishments mentioned were new streetscapes on Washington Street West and East, adaptive uses for vacant properties, facade grants and the redevelopment of vacant structures.
Activities now are a stark contrast to urban renewal practices in the past, which usually involved large-scale demolition, Edwards said.
"This is not your father's CURA," he said.
Edwards said there were still buildings on Capitol Street that could be redeveloped, something with which the authority can assist.