Neighbors Concerned About Proposed Development - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

04/11/06

Neighbors Concerned About Proposed Development

One resident says the land, off Skidaway Road, isn't safe to build on. One resident says the land, off Skidaway Road, isn't safe to build on.

Developers want to build some low-income housing near the Bacon Park neighborhood, off Skidaway Road. But some neighbors aren't happy about it. It's not just what they want to build, it's also in part what they want to build on.

People living in the area are up in arms. A low-income development where some 500 people can live may be coming to their neighborhood.

"It's real easy for someone on the other side of town to make a judgment call, but this is my home and it has been for 36 years," said Elizabeth Scott, executive director of the Bacon Park Neighborhood Association.

She and others in the area are concerned that the new development will bring an increase in crime and a decrease in property value.

But what they're most concerned about is that no one told them about it. "There's never been a sign, there's never been a letter," said Scott. "The only phone call they got was from me."

Robert Helmly has lived in this neighborhood for the past 42 years. He took us on a tour of where the homes will go and how close they will be to some neighbors.

Helmly says, even if the city approves the developers' building here, it's not necessarily the safest thing because of what's under the ground. "I know there's methane gas out here," he said. "These houses won't be stable. I know what's out there. I know where the sinkholes are."

Helmly says this area used to be a pond, then a landfill. Now it's cleaned up, but he says all that was in the landfill is now buried underground.

"I can tell you this, it's not suitable to be lived on," said Helmly.

We tried calling city leaders, but they didn't return our calls. Tonight they'll meet with developers at the Alee Temple on Skidaway Road to talk about the plans one more time.

Reported by: Christy Hutchings, chutchings@wtoc.com

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