CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- The Town of Ravenel, SC is located at the Southern entrance of Charleston County. Some refer to it’s 12.6 square miles of land as “the gateway to the Lowcountry.”
As data shows potential economic and population growth, members of the community want to plan for the town’s future. However, many residents are concerned that change will happen too quickly.
They fear losing the historic structures, open spaces and family-centered culture. On the other hand, there are many problems that cannot be solved without making changes.
Currently, many residents don’t have access to high-speed internet. Ravenel also does not a have a doctor within the town; only a dentist.
The town hired Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments (BCDCOG) to help create a vision for the future of Ravenel. They began having meetings and collecting data on population growth, housing and other demographics of the town.
They recently held a meeting that asked residents to complete a survey to try and gauge what the general population felt was needed most.
Town Councilman Harold Dukes has lived in Ravenel for over 60 years. He believes what the town needs is “slow but smart growth.”
“In some of our two-lane communities with small streets, people don’t really need a lot more or want a lot of growth in those areas,” he says.
However, development in Ravenel could potentially address the increase in traffic that also effects residents in West Ashley and Charleston.
“Traffic is terrible in Ravenel,” says Dukes. “With US-17 being major corridor between the city of Charleston and I-95, traffic is just increasing.”
The town has already implemented a few new turn lanes to help residents get off the highway more safely. They hope that adding more turning lanes could help divert traffic flow.
At their meeting tonight town leaders, including representatives from BCDCOG, gathered to discuss the new comprehensive land-use plan.
This was the first time residents were able to see a completed draft with data and proposed ideas on how to best utilize the land.
“We’re going to finalize and tweak the land-use plan,” says Dukes. “We’re also going to look at our zoning ordinances and bring them up to date.”
The last time the town updated their zoning ordinances was around the year 2000. According to Dukes, this update could help residents that may be want to develop their land or give a piece of it to a family member.
“We want to keep it family,” says Dukes. “We want Ravenel to be a family community neighborhood.”
The town plans to meet again with BCDCOG and hopes to have even more residents in attendance so every voice can be heard.
It’s family that matters the most to the residents of Ravenel. Amidst potential growth and change, they want community values to stay the same.