Charleston County considering eminent domain to build James Island roundabouts

Updated: Oct. 22, 2019 at 6:16 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - People who live in an area where Charleston County is planning to build roundabouts worry the plan will take away land that has been in their family for generations.

The county wants to build two roundabouts near Central Park Road and Riverland Drive to improve safety.

The Charleston County Finance Committee is scheduled to discuss the possibility of using eminent domain to secure the private property needed to move forward with the county’s plan on Nov. 7. Eminent domain is when governments use their power to take private land for public use.

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 county considered several designs to improve safety in the area.

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.

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.

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.

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