Don't Let Burden Creek Become the Next Church Creek Basin

The Johns Island Community Association Board submitted the information below to Mayor Tecklenburg and the Charleston City Council on July 15, 2019.

The Johns Island Community Association has received preliminary information that the Council has received and will consider a request for annexation and rezoning of properties to a Planned Unit Development to be known as River Run totaling 126.95 acres. The property borders the Stono River to the East and is surrounded by smaller tidal creeks to the North and South.

Although the rezoning requests fall within existing zoning densities, this property lies within a major drainage basin for this portion of the island and is at significant risk of flooding. We know from previous storms and NOAA’s Coastal Flood Exposure mapper that the majority of this site is vulnerable to significant flooding during Category 1 and 2 hurricanes (see map). Because additional development in this location is potentially hazardous to the residents in and around the proposed development, Johns Island Community Association requests that Council require additional evaluations of this site prior to approval.

Based on NOAA’s Coastal Flood Exposure mapper, the majority of this site is vulnerable to significant flooding during Category 1 and 2 hurricanes

These evaluations should include assessments of the impacts of land use changes, as well as

impacts from fill, to stormwater runoff and flood storage capacity both on the site and within the drainage basin. These evaluations should include a range of rain events, storm surge, and sea level rise scenarios that are likely to occur now and into the future (i.e., 50 years from now). Specifically, these evaluations should assess:

  1. The impact of this project on the Burden Creek drainage under normal rainfall and tidal conditions.

  2. The impact of this project on the Burden Creek drainage in the event of a 15-inch and a 30-inch rain from a tropical storm.

  3. The impact of this project on the Burden Creek drainage under forecast changes of sea level rise, rainfall intensity / frequency, and storm surge during the next 50 years.

  4. The impact of this project on traffic on River Road and the Maybank Highway/River Road area. This should include considerations of previously approved developments both in the City and County (i.e., Kiawah River development).

  5. The impact of this project on automobile and aviation traffic, as increasing volume flights can be anticipated.

These evaluations will assure that City Council has adequate information to make a decision on this development that will be protective of the citizens of Johns Island both now and into the future. There is enough technical information available to the City of Charleston (i.e., Davis and Floyd’s Johns Island Flood Analysis and Risk Assessment, NOAA Coastal Flood Exposure tool, LiDAR and rainfall assessments by Dr. Phil Dustan) to suggest the need for critical assessment of development of this site: Anything less would be irresponsible of the City. As such, the Johns Island Community Association is opposed to any consideration or approval of this PUD until sufficient assessments have been completed.

We appreciate the Council’s dedication to funding studies to better understand flood risks on Johns Island. We now ask for your support in applying those studies and requesting additional evaluations from the developer to assure responsible growth to protect the residents of Johns Island, particularly in those areas that are most vulnerable to flooding.

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Johns Island Community Association

3202 Maybank Highway
Johns Island, SC 29455

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Johns Island Community Association