JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County School District wants to build a centralized bus lot at James Island Charter High School, but some residents who live near the area say it will create more problems in the neighborhood.
School district officials held a meeting with those residents at the high school on Thursday evening.
Some people said this was the first time they were hearing of plans to build the lot near them.
The school district says this is something that they have been trying to work on since 2014. Originally, the school board approved a decision to build the lot at James Island Elementary School.
The district says they went through the necessary steps, but the Charleston County Board of Zoning Appeals subsequently denied a land disturbance permit in 2018.
There have been plenty of discussions about possible locations for the bus lot, each time the school district was met with some backlash.
The school board voted on building the bus lot at the high school back in May. Last month, the school district finalized their contract with the school.
District officials say they need a better system for their buses.
“Buses are dispersed all over James Island. We’re losing a lot of efficiencies and we can’t continue to operate in this manner,” said Reggie McNeil, the executive director of Capital Programs for CCSD. “This is the reason why we need to put a centralized bus lot in this county.”
Residents who live near the high school say they understand the need for a bus lot, but not right in their backyards.
Ryan Tisdale lives right across the street from James Island Charter High and believes this decision was made without long-term planning.
“Sometimes you feel like these decisions are made without the community’s support,” Tisdale said. “For me living across the street, having one way in, one way out of the neighborhood, it’s very dangerous for the children.”
Residents had concerns over the potential noise, the view of the lot, and possible pollution.
Although officials say they have put some things in the plan to help with the views and the potential noise, they say they are still in the design process.
The bus lot itself would cost $3.8 million and would have enough space for 36 buses.
District officials say they still need approval from the city of Charleston. If everything goes through, the project construction would start in March of 2020 and be completed that December.