Johns Island residents calling on end to fill-and-build developments

VIDEO: Johns Island residents calling on end to fill-and-build developments

JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - People living on Johns Island have experienced issues with flooding, and some say new developments are part of the problem.

On Monday, the Concerned Citizens of Johns Island, the Progressive Club of Johns Island, and the United Flooded States of America came together for a presentation on flooding in the island.

The meeting focused on preliminary findings of the Dutch Dialogues, along with potential solutions for the island.

Phillip Dustan, an ecology professor at the College of Charleston, says over development in the City of Charleston and on Johns Island has promoted flooding.

By allowing building in the low-land areas, Dustan says it creates new flooding issues for communities that don’t normally flood.

“The burden creek basin could become another church creek very easily,” said Dustan. “The first solution is to immediately stop this idea of fill and build. Stop filling in low lands and stop filling slab houses in lowland areas.”

Speakers presented a declaration for people at the meeting to sign, to encourage local, state, and federal government to look at what’s happening on Johns Island and put a stop to certain development.

Local leaders also asked for the city to revisit old building permits, and to build storm shelters.

Some folks included some suggestions of their own.

Lorie Adams created a petition to stop developers from accessing existing water lines on the island.

“We [have to] get 10 percent of the members of the Johns Island water company to sign a petition to force a special meeting and to vote against any new water taps,” said Adams. “We’ve tried everything else. Let’s try this approach.”

If the water tap petition gets about 800 signatures, the water company would have to call a special meeting to see the legal ramifications providing water taps to some of the new developments.

Charleston City Council member Mike Seekings says the main objective of this meeting is to listen to the concerns that people have and apply it going forward.

“Tides are rising," Seekings said."We have storms and we’ve had development in areas that aren’t appropriate. So we have to look at our zoning. We have got to listen to the people who live here, and we’ve got to make good strong decisions in terms of planning, preservation, and zoning going forward.”

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