Charleston Co. council chairman hopes to protect Wadmalaw Island from overdevelopment

VIDEO: Charleston Co. council chairman hopes to protect Wadmalaw Island from overdevelopment

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Wadmalaw Island is one of the last places in Charleston County that has not been touched by large commercial development.

People who live on the island want to keep it that way.

Charleston County Council Chairman Elliot Summey wants to work with the South Carolina Bank to protect Wadmalaw Island from overdevelopment.

He says the idea came after hundreds of people showed up during Tuesday’s county council meeting in opposition of a zoning request to build short-term rental properties on the island.

“Wadmalaw hasn’t been touched yet and before it does, we should get ahead of it,” Summey said.

People living on the island say they must do anything it takes to keep the rural nature of the island.

Elizabeth Wenner built her house on the island in 1988. She says she’s a newcomer to the island compared to others.

She believes if the county starts permitting commercial development, it could destroy the island and the people on it.

“There’s people who have been here for generations and it’s so important that the island maintains its traditional uses,” Wenner said. “It’s also very important that the island doesn’t become gentrified. A lot of people who have lived here for so long could be taxed off their property.”

Summey wrote a letter to the chairman of the State’s conservation bank in hopes of using some of that money, as well as greenbelt funds to keep that from happening.

Summey says he’s hoping to meet with the chairman within the next two weeks to discuss creating a conservation easement for the island.

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