Goose Creek mayor defends development after resident concerns

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 6:07 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2022 at 7:54 PM EDT
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GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCSC) - Goose Creek resident Lisa Berry has lived in the West Greenview Acres neighborhood since 2004. She describes her neighborhood as “pretty quiet,” besides occasional traffic.

She found out about a planned development that could be built right next to her home and was taken aback. To her understanding, a road was going to run adjacent to her home and go to Red Bank Road, and a playground with a parking lot was going to be built on the other side of her property. She said those plans were concerning.

She posted in a Facebook group for Goose Creek residents, trying to inform her neighbors about what was going on. She said she was inspired to speak up; and said there should be no more construction.

“I was driving down Red Bank Road, and by the rural fire department, they have a marquee; it’s a flashing sign that changes,” Berry said. “It said, ‘if not you, then who?”

Berry’s post got the attention of Mayor Greg Habib, who responded in his own post in the group. He said he felt the need to give an explanation about what their processes are, what they are trying to accomplish, and how growth is important.

Berry met with the mayor Wednesday morning, and she discovered that there was an updated plan. She said that now instead of a road next to her house, it is proposed to be a walking trail, and the playground plans have changed as well. Habib said it is going to be a mix of townhomes and single-family homes with a commercial element on Red Bank Road.

One of the concerns that Berry had was that the property floods. Habib said the only way the flooding problems are going to go away is if someone develops the property properly.

“I knew it had a flooding problem,” Habib said. “We told the developer when he first came to us, you have to address flooding in this area if you’re gonna do anything here, and what the developer has proposed is a stormwater plan that actually takes water from off the property onto his own property to mitigate the flooding problems that are there now.”

Now Berry said she is not opposed to development but wants it to be done in a smart way.

“We have to change,” Berry said. “We can’t just stay the same. I just want it to be an informed decision where all citizens understand what’s going on and can voice their concerns, and if we don’t share that information then people are left out.”

It is not the first time that development concerns have been expressed in rapidly growing Goose Creek, or in the Lowcountry. Goose Creek is now the 8th largest city in South Carolina.

“We’re 47,000 people,” Habib said. “We are not a small town in small-town America anymore.”

Habib said he often hears concerns about traffic issues. He said the greatest tool to reduce traffic is economic development and putting people and businesses closer together.

“We got traffic here,” Habib said. “How do you mitigate that? Well, understanding that not building anymore is not an option, so how do you then mitigate it there is your plan for it, you do it right, and you do it in a way that makes sense.”

Habib said there are over 5,000 homes entitled to go up in the city. Habib said some of those are going to create more traffic than others because they are on the outskirts of the city. Until there is commercial development there, those people will have to drive into the main commercial section of the city to get what they need. He said they need to get commercial development out to those areas as fast as they can to mitigate the traffic.

“If we’re gonna build houses, which we know we have to, we’re going to insist developers to build communities,” Habib said.

Habib said they cannot sit by as development happens. Instead, they need to participate in it and make it look like what they want it to be.

There will be a public hearing regarding the aforementioned planned development on July 5 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

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