CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston County is planning to build roundabouts near Central Park Road and Riverland Drive to improve safety.
The Charleston County Finance Committee will meet on November 7 to discuss the possibility of using eminent domain to secure the private property needed to move forward with the county’s plan.
Eminent domain is when governments use their power to take private land for public use.
Charleston County originally planned to have the meeting on two other dates, but has been moved to next month.
People who live in the area are opposed to the plan that would take away portions of property that has belonged to their families for generations.
Resident Lloyd Young says he’s been living in the area for 71 years.
“Our ancestors go back to the 1800s and my great grandfather I don’t know if he bought it or inherited or what,” Young said.
The meeting agenda says the purpose of the project is to improve safety and traffic flow at the intersection for all modes of transportation while minimizing the impact to trees. The county says roundabouts are safer.
The landscape that was present when Young was a child may not exist, but the memories are still there.
“That school right there we had a golf course over there and all of that’s gone now, our kids never even some of the things that were here before, we used to farm here, we used to fish here," Young said.
The agenda says in order to move the project forward, staff is requesting that council approve the use of eminent domain. It says the actual condemnation would be filed only in cases where it appears that a settlement is not imminent.
" I don’t agree with that, just coming in and taking people property," Young said.
The county is looking to move forward with the design known as alternative three, recommended by the department head. County officials say they have lessened the impact on property owners since the original plan came out.
This plan would add two roundabouts. One would be at the intersection of Riverland Drive and Central Park Road and the other would be at intersection of Riverland Drive and Ferris and Cyrus Road. The roundabouts would be joined together with a grass median instead of a traffic light.
Lloyd and his wife Jacki prefer the traffic light option because it would not have a smaller impact.
“The only problem we have is that we would like it [land] to stay for our kids and they’re grandkids, so eminent domain, I would like them to just leave that alone,” Lloyd said.
The county conducted a survey to find out the most popular options. Residents who live at the intersection say most people who chose alternative three don’t live as close to the intersection.