Petition looks at historical significance, drainage issues in W. Ashley Circle

VIDEO: Petition looks at historical significance and drainage issues in West Ashley Circle
Construction of new homes in Grand Oaks Plantation. Several drain pipes are on the site (Source: Live 5)
Construction of new homes in Grand Oaks Plantation. Several drain pipes are on the site (Source: Live 5)

WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - A West Ashley man is calling on state lawmakers to take a look at the future impact of the new West Ashley Circle.

The road surrounds a portion of Bees Ferry Road in West Ashley. It was built to help with traffic and connect neighboring developments.

Fereol de Gastyne said the area around the circle has historical significance.

He has drafted a bill to send to local lawmakers about his findings. He believes there are earthworks there that date back 300 years. Earthworks are large banks of dirt that were made to act as a defense shield during times of war.

He also said there are mud dikes all along the area made by slaves to help with the irrigation.

"There are archeological mounds that basically led to our champion oak tress lining 61," de Gastyne said.

De Gastyne is not an expert, but said he has done research about the area surrounding the new West Ashley Circle.

He said the petition does not solely focus on the historical significance.

"In my opinion it's a recipe for a hydro-logical disaster," he said. "You're going to have massive flooding in that area."

Homeowners nearby said the drainage is their number one concern with more development popping up along Bees Ferry Road.

"Asphalt, concrete and buildings in [that circle], and all of that water, as it comes down will wash directly into the Church Creek," de Gastyne said. "It cannot handle that kind of flow."

"If you ride around the circle, you can already see where the water is laying up," said Terry Healy, of West Ashley.

"There's so much construction," said Josie Keller, of West Ashley. "This is unreal."

De Gastyne wants local and state officials to study the impact of the project.

He believes the reason the area is seeing so much flooding is because of the amount of development and re-routing of drainage.

"That's got a lot to do with why Shadowmoss got flooded when the rain came back in October, and the church," Healy said. "It's just awful."

Instead of building up the area of the circle de Gastyne would like to see something else.

"Create a park there," he said. "Let the soil, the trees, and the ponds that are there today continue to absorb that water and deal with it."

De Gastyne added he would like to see South Carolina archeologists come out and survey the earthworks and mud dikes around the circle.

He went on to say they should be protected.

Josh Martin, the Senior Advisor to the Mayor of Charleston, said the city has a very complex drainage plan for the area.

Martin said the plan involves several people from a range of fields including those in engineering and policy.

He added he has not seen the petition yet and would need to check with other department officials for more information about the possible historical mud dikes.

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