It was a beautiful plan on paper: a neighborhood of large lots with plenty of green space, preserved 70-inch wide live oaks and a path for children to walk through an existing neighborhood to the nearby school.
But what residents of the next-door Legend Oaks neighborhood envisioned wasn't pretty: children, parents, golf carts and dogs tromping through their neighborhood in good weather to get to Beech Hill Elementary School and driving through their narrow streets in bad weather to evade the long car line at the school.
The Legend Oaks residents voiced their opposition to the 52-acre planned development on S.C. 61 adjacent to their neighborhood Monday at a Dorchester County Council committee meeting.
Committee members listened; they voted to recommend postponing approval of the new development and the full council unanimously concurred.
"It's wonderful to say 'kids are going to walk, ride their bikes.' In reality, it doesn't happen," said Legend Oaks resident Janette Chipas.
Besides the safety concerns of adding more cars and pedestrians to their streets, residents raised concerns about drainage.
Joe Alford said the homes in Legend Oaks sit three to four feet lower than the land proposed for development.
Already that undeveloped land floods in heavy rains, he said, and he questioned what would happen to his home once that land is developed.
Chris Donato, speaking for developer The Ryland Group, said the proposed walking path wasn't a "make or break" deal.
The developer would happily look at other options, he said.
As for drainage, he said, Ryland would be required to contain water on its land.
Nonetheless, committee members were troubled that the plan calls for only one road into the subdivision, and worried that buffering might not be sufficient.
Committee member Carroll Duncan asked for the postponement to give the developer, planning staff and neighbors a chance to work out a compromise.
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