Residents Fear Drainage Solution Worse Than Problem - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

04/21/06

Residents Fear Drainage Solution Worse Than Problem

Residents meet with developers. Residents meet with developers.

When the rain comes, so does the water. Residents in one Isle of Hope neighborhood want a solution for their drainage problems. This morning, they met with the county's contractors. But they fear Chatham County's plans for a solution could create even more difficulties.

It's easy to see Isle of Hope's enchantment. The birds sing, and beautiful old oak trees reach to the sky, forming a canopy over the roads, like Cramer Street.

Keeping it that way is the concern now. Cramer Street, for all its charm, doesn't drain very well. Chatham County officials are proposing paving it over.

That's what they discussed with residents Friday morning. But it's something residents are not eager to do.

Contractors are proposing paving the road ten feet across with a two-foot curb. That would cut into some residents' property. And they would have to dig at least a foot down to install drainage pipes, which bothers many residents, like Julie Wilde.

"We don't want to harm the roots of the oak trees," she said. "We don't really want this road paved. We really don't want to affect the charm of the area and all the reasons we live out here."

Residents are also concerned that if the road is paved, it could cut into the root system of these trees, creating a huge problem if there's a storm.

"In a big hurricane, the tree's liable to blow over," noted Polly Cooper.

County commissioner Helen Stone said she's not willing to move forward with any plan residents don't want. "It is not the intent of the county to take property, to destroy trees or ruin the quality of life for our citizens, so this is something very important that needs to be addressed."

"This is why Isle of Hope is so well known and well loved," said Cooper.

Stone says they'll work with residents to try to find another solution to their drainage problems.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

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