New West Ashley development hopes to fix flooding issues of the past

WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - The Army Corps of Engineers and state Department of Health and Environmental Control are seeking public input for a new development in West Ashley near Bees Ferry Road.

The Bulow County Park/Long Savannah/Village Green project is a 3,172.6-acre site which expects to be developed over the next 30 years.

"This is not something that is going to be done by Christmas," Charleston City Council member Marvin Wagner said Thursday.

Wagner is one of the council members whose district falls where this development will be built.

He has been in contact with the Corps and the project developers HPH Properties, L.P., Long Savannah Land Company, and Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission.

Recently, Facebook groups filled with West Ashley residents have shared their concerns with the development.

Many people are worried about the threat of building on wetlands, and more possible flooding.

"Over two of the 3,000 acres, 2/3rds of it are going to be conserved land," Wagner said. "There's going to be something like eight miles of walking trails. There are some good things that are going to happen."

Wagner added the first step in this project is to address the drainage.

The plan is to re-route roughly 99 acres of the Church Creek watershed to the Stono River.

"Only a little bit will continue to the Church Creek basin on the other side of the railroad tracks," Wagner said. "Everything will go the other way, and there's nothing there yet."

Allison Federico, of West Ashley, attends Crosstowne Christian Church off Bees Ferry Road. Her number one concern with this project is the drainage and how it may affect her church.

"We went from the church never flooding to the church flooding three times in three years," she said. "It's been tough."

Wagner and developers hope this future development will help solve the issues residents are currently dealing with.

"We haven't had any issues, but I know of plenty of people who have flooded out," Federico said.

"What happened in Shadowmoss… shouldn't have even happened," Wagner said. "That was a failure in planning somewhere along the lines 10 years, 15 years, 20 years when that subdivision was built."

According to the plan, nearly 2,000 acres of the wetlands would be left undeveloped to deal with rerouted drainage.

Meanwhile there are also plans to build homes and mixed-use building for the development.

"We've been aware there was going to be development since we moved here and knew it was just a matter of time before it happened," said Megan Bennett, of West Ashley. "We've been looking forward to some more shopping over here."

"There are rumors there will be 7,000 rooftops, that is definitely not true," Wagner said. "Last word I heard there was maybe 3,000. This run all the way from Highway 61 almost all the way to Highway 17."

The Corps is asking for comments from the public to be submitted in writing, identifying the public notice number (SAC-2015-00012), and sent to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Attn: REGULATORY DIVISION, 69A Hagood Avenue, Charleston, SC 29403-5107 by February 22.

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