Residents React to County Buyout - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/26/04

Residents React to County Buyout

A typical rainy day in Westlake. A typical rainy day in Westlake.

Imagine living in an area that floods almost every time it rains. That's what's happening in Chatham County's Westlake community. Now the county is buying out the neighborhood, meaning the residents have to pack up and move. Many of these residents have been living in the neighborhood for more than 20 years, and like it or not, they have no other choice but to leave.

"Once we get all the buildings out, our long-term goal is to build a storm water detention facility at this site, and that would help protect the remaining buildings in the area," said Bill Uhl with the Department of Engineering.

With the county offering fair market value for these properties, resident Mariah Davis says she and her neighbors have mixed emotions about moving. "To have another mortgage at this age and time, with six years left on my property...I felt like I was doing something and ready to settle in," she said. "Now I have to start all over again."

The good news is that she, along with her fellow residents, will no longer have to live with the fear of being flooded out every time it rains. This neighborhood floods so much and so often that neighbors put in a flood pole back in 1994 just to show how deep the water gets.

"I'm tired of cutting up carpet and tired of buying new furnishings," Davis told us. "At one time I had to have my house remodeled from ceiling to floor."

Even though moving will be difficult for some, Davis contends that the county buyout was by far the best solution to their flooding problem.

Chatham County hopes to have all properties purchased in the next couple of months so it can start construction on the retention pond.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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