Citizens question new school location

  • Thursday, May 9, 2013

Seven citizens spoke out against a new elementary school planned for the Hanahan area at the Berkeley County School Board meeting on April 23.
Citizens were limited to three minutes of public comments.
David Pellether said he was speaking for those in the Ibis Glade area. “Most of us have serious concerns about the heavily-wooded area behind the houses,” Pellether said. “One of the major concerns is soil sampling.”
He said over the years he walked through what he calls a waterlogged area where the school is being planned. “I don’t think it’s good for a structure,” he said.
Ricky Greg said he is also an Ibis Glade resident. He said the proposed site is a wildlife preservation area and asked how that zoning could be changed to build a school.
“I’m not against the school, just the location,” Greg said. “I’m curious to see the decision-making that goes into it. We’ve had numerous traffic issues in that area. It’s become more and more populated as that area has been developed.”
“I live right behind where the school is going to be built,” Linda Liberotore said.
The land behind her house started to deteriorate and she had to pay about $4,000 to have her land shored up, she said.
“If a school’s going to go there what’s going to happen to our taxpayer dollars if we’re going to have to shore up this land?” she asked.
The site of the proposed school is also the Goose Creek Reservoir overflow area, Liberotore said. “Being by the water with little children. Oh my gosh. You never know what’s going to happen. What if one of them drowns by that water?”
“The area around Foster Creek Road and Tanner Ford Boulevard now is a very difficult situation in the morning,” Jim Rowan said. “Foster Creek Road is about three miles in length. There are neighborhoods on both sides of the road with thousands of people. The only way out is the end where Tanner Ford Boulevard is – which is already bad.”
He said the new school is planned to be built on the other end of Tanner Ford Boulevard, which would create a traffic nightmare on both sides of Foster Creek Road.
Robert Jones he wants to make sure the district does not harm one of its currently high-performing schools, Hanahan Elementary.
“The new elementary school is going to be built in the Tanner Plantation neighborhood,” he said. “Based on the way the proposed attendance lines are drawn now it appears the higher-income, higher-achieving students are being pulled out of the current Hanahan Elementary School and are being clustered together in a new and separate school.”
He asked the board to monitor the matter to make sure there are no disparities.
Greg Geddinger said there is a historical marker celebrating the African-American community off Williams Lane. The community dates back to the 1870s.
He said the area has gone from about 30 families to 4,000 in the last decade or so as the wildlife was driven down to his neighborhood, which has a dead-end road.
In November the residents of the area received a letter from BCSD Capital Projects Manager Connie Myers asking if the land was for sale.
“Our neighbors are terrified of a school being located on their road,” he said. “It could be an end to Williams Lane as a dead end road. All of a sudden we’ll go from 50 cars to 2,000 cars a day. There’s a little bit of anger in that community the way the property was developed in Tanner Plantation. We were all excluded from the improvements granted in that neighborhood.
“We didn't get sewage . . . were begrudgingly given water. There’s a lot of underprivileged people back there.”
Al Calafiore said the proposed school would be built right behind his Ibis Glade home, which was sold to him at an extra charge because he was told no one would ever build there. He asked the board to create a larger buffer than 50 feet.
BCSD Superintendent Rodney Thompson responded by saying the board does not do zoning changes for Hanahan, but rather its city council does.
“Before we can apply for a zoning change on the property we need a traffic study,” Thompson said. “It will take about six to eight weeks to get the traffic study results back. We’ll review those results.”

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