Large crowd attends first West Ashley planning session.

April 24 20:35 2017 Print This Article

The first of four citizen input workshops for the West Ashley Master Plan process took place at John Wesley United Methodist Church Monday. A capacity crowd of more than 200 gathered around about two dozen tables to brainstorm and share ideas for improving West Ashley’s future.

West Ashley Revitalization Commission Chair, Charleston City Councilman Peter Shahid, opened the meeting by stating, “We’ve waited a long time for this, right? This is the citizens’ opportunity to plan West Ashley’s future.”

Victor Dover with planning consulting firm Dover Kohl told the audience that his staff would listen to citizen input and collect data at all of the planning sessions. There were several easels around the church gym with questions such as “What is your top priority for the future of West Ashley?” and “What do you like most about West Ashley?” People can make record their responses with markers.

Attendees were able to answer some background questions using remote control devices. For example, 26% of participants have lived in West Ashley for less than 5 years, while 35% have lived there for more than 20 years. 90% of respondents use cars as their primary source of transportation. It was revealed that 84% of the commuters in West Ashley work outside of the region. A solution suggested was building more office space in the area.

Some of the overall planning goals were discussed. Civil engineer Jon Ford is the consultant working on the plan to improve the drainage system. He said that improving parking lot designs with more trees and and absorbent plants would reduce the runoff. He will also take a look at the preventive maintenance systems in place and come up with recommendations to improve them.

At the end of the presentations, which covered more than one hour of the three-hour planning session, people gathered around the tables marked up maps of the area to make recommendations and list their “Big Ideas” for the West Ashley Master Plan. Spokesmen for each table reported their ideas.

The next planning session is Tues., Apr. 25 from 6-9 pm at West Ashley Middle School, 1776 William Kennerty Dr. The remaining workshops will be held Sat., May 6, from 9 to noon at Bees Landing Recreation Center and from 2-5 pm at West Ashley High School. Residents and business leaders can also answer survey questions and post comments here: https://www.planwestashley.com/engage