Thousands say 'No' to filling freshwater wetland, developer says it's the best option

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - A petition is going around the internet right now asking people to say "No" to filling a freshwater wetland in Mount Pleasant.

This is in response to a developer asking to do just that at the future site of The Atlantic apartments development on Ben Sawyer Boulevard in Mount Pleasant.

The entire property is 15 acres and the developer, Middle Street Partners, is asking for a permit to fill .4 acres of a freshwater wetland to help with the layout of the site.

"What people usually think of when they hear wetlands is they hear 'marsh.' They think of salt water. It's not that," said Ryan Knapp, a co-founder of Middle Street Partners.

Knapp said the "freshwater wetland" they're wanting to fill is man made from decades ago.

"We're basically replacing kind of a 1960's engineered storm runoff system to up to today's standards and improvement for storm water runoff and cleaning up the water before it goes into the marsh," Knapp said.

The request for the permit to make the changes is going before the Corps of Engineers and the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The process also includes a public comment period.

"I think infill – at least in the Lowcountry and around Charleston – is a terrible idea," said Mike Bergen who lives in the Charleston area. "Just looking at what it does as far as runoff is concerned and what it does to the eco system."

Bergen is one of thousands who are making their voices heard.

More than 12,000 people have signed the petition saying they do not want the freshwater wetland filled.

Knapp, however, said it's the best option.

"I think within the context of a greater site plan that includes the preservation or relocation of every grand tree on site,  I think it creates the best outcome for the environment and for the site itself," Knapp said.

The public comment period for the Corps of Engineers ended last week.

Officials say they are in the very early process of reviewing the comments. They received 40 comments and one letter with 7,000 signatures.

The public comment period for the Department of Health and Environmental Control will end on Nov. 23.