Greenbelt vote jeopardizes drainage plan

Greenbelt vote jeopardizes drainage plan
July 27 08:07 2018 Print This Article

Charleston County Council decided Tuesday to shift the land purchase balance for the “greenbelt” fund from 70% rural lands to 50%. The greenbelt funds come from 0.5% transportation sales taxes approved by voters in 2004 and 2016. The shift in funding is at the request of Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg and North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey who want to use the money to purchase city park space. The purchase shift will make it more difficult to find funding for the North Basin Reservoir north and west of Village Green. This reservoir is important to prevent storm water runoff from emptying into surrounding subdivisions.  Due to recent residential development, stormwater runoff has caused an increase in flooding events.  The reservoir was a top priority in the 2017 Church Creek Drainage Basin Study.  The land purchase will cost about $2 million. The land is currently undeveloped and located in unincorporated Charleston County.

The County Council members who voted for a more urban land purchase mix are Elliott Summey, Henry Darby, Teddie Prior, Brantley Moody and Chairman Vic Rawl. Rawl’s district includes most of the Church Creek Drainage Basin in West Ashley, which has experienced multiple flooding events since 2015.

Recommendations for greenbelt land purchases are made by the Charleston County Greenbelt Advisory Board, whose members are appointed by mayors and members of County Council. The land purchase decisions are made by County Council. There is about $30 million left in the fund from the 2004 transportation sales tax, $21 million of which will go to rural land purchases and could be used to purchase the North Reservoir Land.