RIDGEVILLE, S.C. (WCBD)- Community members are asking Dorchester County Council to reconsider a proposal that would rezone land for commercial industrial use.
The 176-acre property, located near the heart of Ridgeville, borders Coburn Town, a historic African-American rural settlement community that was established in the late 1800s, following the emancipation of enslaved people after the Civil War.
Community members reached out to the Coastal Conservation League and expressed concern over the impacts this would have on their neighborhood. In addition to bordering residences, the complex would be located directly across the street from Clay Hill Elementary School, creating safety and environmental concerns.
Those concerns include higher levels of air, noise, and light pollution, and heavy truck and industrial activity.
Hazel Starkes, former Ridgeville mayor, has lived on Coburn Town Road her entire life and said residents are frustrated by the lack of communication from the county on the plans for the land.
“They’re not telling us what’s happening,” Starkes said. “We feel this will be a great impact,” she continued, “We are opposed because we are not understanding.”
The Coastal Conservation League and community members are asking county council members to work with community leaders to develop a plan for the land that promotes “desirable growth,” like restaurants, parks, a senior center, and more.
“What the community wants to see there is something that respects the character of the area and enhances what’s already there,” Project Manager for the CCL, Robby Maynor, said. “They want something that is a part of the community, not just something that uses the community as a location for moving items in and out.”
The Dorchester County Council Planning, Development, and Building Committee will hear public comments on the rezoning proposal Monday at 4:45 PM.
WCBD has reached out to Dorchester County Council for comment.