By JIM PARKER

The Post and Courier

Perhaps the neighborhood’s name, Fox Hollow, is a clue that developers would work to design a place where homeowners and critters can coexist.

In any case, a countrywide group devoted to protecting lands for animals and plants has endorsed the new James Island community while crediting the designers with steps they’ve taken to preserve the environment.

The National Wildlife Federation designated nine-lot Fox Hollow as a “certified wildlife habitat,” according to locally based developer New Leaf Builders.

To gain the designation, New Leaf had to show the property would be preserved and maintained for the effective cohabitation of wildlife, the venture notes.

“One of the core values at New Leaf Builders is to maintain the natural integrity of any area where we build,” says Adam Baslow, co-owner, builder and developer for New Leaf Builders. “It was important to us to demonstrate that commitment through the National Wildlife Federation’s Certified Wildlife Habitat designation,” he says.

Fox Hollow, located off Woodland Shores Road near Riverland Drive, is one of the few low impact developments in greater Charleston, according to New Leaf.

The community is planned out to combine James Island’s rural-like livability with the “charm” of upgraded and modernized bungalow-style homes, the company says. Floor plans are available for top-end Craftsman-type dwellings, similar in style to residences in Byrnes Downs west of the Ashley, and starting in price at $325,000, the builders say.

Engineers took strides to tailor the community as eco-friendly long before the first lot was shaped.

“As a low impact development, Fox Hollow is designed to work with — not against — the land itself, and to go above and beyond the typical measures of sustainability,” says Josh Robinson of Robinson Design Engineers, New Leaf’s engineering partner for Fox Hollow.

“The primary goal is to modify the land as little as possible, so that a natural, healthy ecosystem remains intact,” he says.

The first step was to research site features and characteristics such as trees, wetlands, topography and the existing flora and fauna habitat including a natural live oak canopy, New Leaf says.

From there, the builders developed house plans that allow valuable resources such as the local soil, trees and foliage to stay. They cleared only enough land for the houses and roadway while crafting lots with a mature landscape for future homeowners, according New Leaf.

Further, the developers designed a “bio-retention” area, in which storm water is captured in natural swales and allowed to infiltrate the soil through specially selected plants and grasses. In April, Clemson Extension Center installed a monitoring well within the bio-retention area to measure ground water infiltration onsite and gauge how well the system works from a water quality perspective.

According to New Leaf, the bio-swales and bio-retention area should clean the storm water before the water enters the natural ecosystem.

For more information, visit www.foxhollowsc.com or www.newleafsc.com.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com