In his column last week, former mayor Joe Riley commented that Charleston’s continued growth requires careful and thoughtful planning. Mayor Riley believes the proposed Cainhoy development strikes this balance. We politely disagree.
The proposed development is a sprawling 9,000-acre plan that will place nearly half of the proposed 9,000 homes within the floodplain. Future residents are exposed to the costly flooding problems already faced by the communities of Downtown, West Ashley and James Island. The plan, which destroys 180 acres of pristine wetlands, is playing a key role in protecting communities from floods and storms that have become more common over the past decade. The city of Charleston is considering building a multi-billion dollar seawall around its downtown peninsula for resilience. Allowing developers to simultaneously build nearly half of the Cainhoy project in wetlands and floodplains elsewhere in the city is counterproductive to these resilience efforts.
Nestled between the historic Jack Plymouth Community and the Francis Marion National Forest, the Kaynoi Peninsula boasts a unique ecological asset as well as a historic African-American settlement community and cultural resources. The proposed development not only provides critical habitat for endangered species and other wildlife, but is also a buffer zone for national forests. Charleston cannot afford to disrupt or replace these resources.
We are also particularly concerned that the plans will threaten historic communities such as Jack Plymouth and Huger. These gala communities feel strongly that they should be isolated from the damage associated with the extensive suburban development in their neighbourhood. This includes the damage caused by thousands of additional vehicles passing through a vast area more than twice his size on Daniel Island.
Clements Ferry Road, South Carolina Highway 41, and Interstate 526 are struggling to cope with current traffic congestion. The proposed development will have an even greater impact on traffic and roads in the area. These are the types of impacts often considered in environmental impact statements and are the gold standard for environmental reviews. However, Cainhoy’s development did not receive the level of scrutiny normally required for a project of this magnitude.
Conservation leaders have invested significant time and resources to demonstrate how to build mixed-use developments on the Cainhoy Peninsula while avoiding the most severe environmental impacts. , showed that a much less harmful alternative is available that provides the same number of houses, but fills much less wetlands and places fewer houses on the floodplain.
Conservation leaders are also urging governments to conduct the highest level of review required under the law so that communities have a meaningful opportunity to understand and inform the final proposals. to
For all these reasons, we challenged the inappropriate federal permit for Cainhoy development. With rising sea levels and the danger of more intense storms, striking a balance between growing wisely, protecting the environment and protecting communities is critical. Cainhoy’s development plan is unsustainable. We can and should grow in smarter and safer ways.
face rivers james Secretary General of the Coastal Conservation Federation, Chris Descherer I am the SC Office Director of the Southern Environmental Law Center. This commentary is also signed. Andrew WanderleyExecutive Director and Waterkeeper of Charleston Waterkeepers, and Sarah GreenSecretary General of the SC Wildlife Federation.