In 2010, there were 56,886 calls to Berkeley County’s 911 Dispatch Center. By 2015, the number had jumped to 80,103. Last year, it swelled to 119,100.
Boom & Balance
An occasional series exploring the challenges ahead and the solutions being tested as rapid growth and development continue to outpace expectations and reshape the tri-county Charleston metro area.
The scorching-hot residential real estate market has been reminiscent of the peak years of the housing bubble.
A collaboration that includes "citizen science" is meant to help address impacts of the State Ports Authority's new Hugh K. Leatherman container shipping terminal on nearby neighborhoods. The danger of particulate matter found in diesel emissions is just one of several issues.
As development spreads to the outer reaches of Dorchester County, tiny Harleyville looks to maintain its small-town, community atmosphere.
The Summerville area over the last couple of years has slowly become a development hub with more houses rising up in the area. The challenge now is pinpointing spaces where low-income families can afford to stay.
In a noticeable contrast, upscale and luxury-style dwellings sit beside working-class and low-income neighborhoods, where many who've long lived in the city can't afford to live in the newer apartments.
Local residents are working together to combine a White cemetery and African American graveyard to better protect them even as a new neighborhood is built in close proximity.
Dorchester Road runs for nearly 20 miles and is filled with connections to housing developments, businesses, Joint Base Charleston and the Ashley River. Those who want to avoid Interstate 26 often end up on the parallel road.
The New Hope community is trying to push back against the Berkeley Charleston Tradeport, an industrial warehouse complex off Jedburg Road.
A large new development on the former Navy base in North Charleston could be transformational for that part of the city.
“It’s kind of our front porch," said Michael Lisle, Summerville's economic developer on the I-26 corridor. “It sets the tone of our community."
Goose Creek has evolved from a small, rural town with strong military ties into a young, vibrant, diverse community. The city is celebrating its 60-year anniversary.
As city officials and and community leaders work to improve the quality of life in Charleston Farms, which has struggled with crime over the years, they don't want to see the area become unaffordable to North Charleston residents.
As Summerville has grown from a small village to a major town with traffic concerns, neighboring Ridgeville residents raise concerns about being next in line for growth.
Officials are trying more than ever to collaborate with local people affected by infrastructure upgrades, but some residents say that engagement, while appreciated, comes too late.
The Five Forks bedroom community east of Greenville features three of the top 10 most affluent census tracts in South Carolina. But residents say traffic, the lack of parks and rapid development are ruining their quality of life.
Flooding hasn't been an issue for North Charleston residents around Filbin Creek in recent years. But residents fear plans for new development could bring back the problem to neighborhoods around the waterway.
As luxury apartment complexes continue to spring up on the Charleston peninsula, city officials plan to increase the fees they levy against developers who refuse to incorporate affordable housing into their projects.
The city of Charleston and a multitude of partners are building more than 400 affordable apartments on the peninsula.
Goose Creek is one of the fastest-growing cities in the state, making the city's 10-year comprehensive plan the most important one in the city's history.
Mount Pleasant's Comprehensive Plan is the latest in a series of Town Council efforts to restrict density, limit multifamily housing, and prohibit tall buildings in most areas.
Pockets of unincorporated spaces are scattered throughout the city of North Charleston, despite its rapid growth over the years.
"Dorchester this is it, this is sand country," said Waylon Ulmer, a welder and Dorchester County resident who lives near three sand mines.
Plans to build more than 200 townhomes have raised fear among dozens of residents who worry about the project's impact on the surrounding communities.
South Carolina's Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office estimates that, over the next 15 years, the state's population will grow by 1,009,715 — a more than 19 percent increase from the current 5.2 million residents.
A proposed 240-unit apartment development off Interstate 26 at S.C. Highway 27 in Pringletown on the western edge of Berkeley County could soon help transform this rural community about a mile north of the $220 million Walmart distribution center under construction in Dorchester County and about a mile west of the Volvo Cars manufacturing plant.
The history of the Cainhoy Peninsula is older than Charleston because Native Americans settled the area 8,000 years ago. Is there any way to preserve that history with all the development in the area?
With more road projects being discussed in Summerville, the town is split on what to do about a solution.
Rapid population growth is spreading to towns and cities across South Carolina, bringing challenges and opportunities.
Goose Creek demographics have changed over the past decade. The Berkeley County city has become younger, more affluent, better educated and more diverse.
Charleston County's $106 million Airport Connector Road project will aim to accommodate existing and future travel demands at Charleston International Airport and address increased traffic congestion as the region continues to develop. But it will also force a handful of people to find somewhere else to live and some companies a new place to do business.
Highlighted in the town's comprehensive plan for the next 15 to 20 years is a goal to strategically revitalize the Brownsville community.
When finally completed, Cainhoy Plantation could have as many as 30,000 residents along Clements Ferry Road. What will the mega-development mean for people already living in the area?
The controversy over expanding S.C. Highway 41 through the Phillips community has garnered a lot of attention. It's far from the first time a road project has impacted a Black neighborhood.
The faith community is playing a key role in regional efforts to address the affordability crisis, using its influence to bring awareness to the issue and formulating partnerships with cities and businesses to develop properties that have been vacant or dilapidated for years.
The influx of new students over the past decade has led to classrooms in trailers, overcrowded hallways, jam-packed cafeterias and teachers left with no space to call their own.
The city of Hanahan has issued almost as many demolition permits since the beginning of the year as in the past three years combined.
Summerville officials are looking to be strategic with bringing in pockets of unincorporated Dorchester County called "doughnut holes" into the town’s limits. The problem is that filling up these spaces means convincing businesses and homeowners to voluntarily join Summerville through annexation.
The number of potential Charleston-area beachgoers increases every year, limited only by the available parking — a point of conflict between island residents and non-residents who want to enjoy the ocean.
Moncks Corner is the fourth-fastest-growing town in South Carolina, with a 25 percent population increase in the past five years, according to town figures. Maintaining the feel of the "Lowcountry's Hometown" amid the growth isn't easy.
Over the past few decades, Summerville has grown from a small retirement and vacation hub to a development hot spot.
Long Savannah, a massive development initially seen as strengthening conservation in the Charleston region, is now being challenged by environmental groups. Though it's been in the works for around 15 years, the more than 3,000-acre project is still in the relatively early stages of getting approval for disturbing sensitive wetlands.
Johns Islanders have grown accustomed to hours of traffic backups and neighborhoods flooding. It wasn't always like this and there may be some relief ahead.
At the heart of Berkeley County's growth, there are three major developments: Cane Bay, Carnes Crossroads and Nexton. All together, including all the land acquired by those companies, there are more than 27,000 residences planned.
A $77 million environmental cleanup along the Ashley River is ongoing, preparing a 133-acre site for the largest development ever on the Charleston peninsula.
Lowcountry residents were shocked when a study warned the Charleston area's population could soar to nearly 800,000 by 2030.
Then all that growth arrived by 2019.
The exit at mile marker 189 will provide direct access to Camp Hall Commerce Park. It will also redirect traffic away from the current two-lane access roads through the tiny Pringletown community
As development marches up the Charleston peninsula, new plans for a 175-acre former landfill are being created.