RAVENEL, S.C. (WCBD) – Ravenel leaders discussed Tuesday night plans for a proposed development that has some community members upset.

The proposed development is the Preserve at Ravenel, and community members voiced their opinions on the development before town council voted on the first reading.

Ravenel neighbors gathered in front of Ravenel Town Hall prior to Tuesday’s council meeting to discuss the proposed Preserve at Ravenel development.

“It’s been a very confusing process to all of us as concerned citizens,” Ravenel resident Melissa Barfield said. “So, now we’re just trying to figure out exactly what is going to happen.”

Some residents worry that the 755-acre development that would be located on Davison Road, and include 350 dwelling units and 25 acres of commercial space, would overwhelm the town’s roads.

“It’s traffic,” Barfield said. “Its traffic is what it is, and that’s our concern. We travel this road every day, not just me, but everybody who lives off or on Davison Road travel it every day and we see the traffic we sit in every morning. And it’s just going to create more.”

For neighbors like Angela Brown who grew up in Ravenel, she fears this development could be the start of transforming her home into a place seemingly unrecognizable.

“We have a history there,” Brown said. “I want to know, ‘What’s in it for us?’ You’re coming through our village. This is our village, and you’re just wanting to force something down our throats. I’m very disappointed that this is happening.”

During the meeting, council voted on the project’s first reading, and it passed unanimously.

After residents received a letter from Ravenel Mayor Stephen Tumbleston early Tuesday stating they would not be allowed to comment on the development at the meeting, they were permitted to do so.

“I just think there’s so many little things that can be changed to make this more palatable to the community,” one Ravenel resident said. “And we would probably say, ‘Yes, okay,’ if some of those changes were implemented. Otherwise, I think it’s a terrible idea.”

Mayor Tumbleston says the town has seen steady growth through the years, and he’s confident if this development is approved, it will be a major benefit to the community.

“Dorchester County using 165 now as a beltway around has had a huge impact on the traffic in our town,” Tumbleston said. “So, why can’t we grow a little bit, too? To reap some of the benefits, where we’re not just a speed bump for everybody else traveling through.”

The second reading will be voted on at next Tuesday’s (3/28) town council meeting.