Months of research by dozens of city leaders, local and Dutch engineers, as well as community groups and local college professors will culminate Friday with a special two-hour presentation on Charleston's flooding issues.
As the Dutch Dialogues — a research and design program that started in the United States after Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans in 2005 — continue to play out, there are frequent signs that flooding and sea level rise remains a top issue on residents' minds.
On Monday, West Ashley's Crosstowne Church filled with a standing-room-only crowd as nearly 200 people listened to Dutch leaders discuss their approach to flooding and sea level rise. Residents and city leaders poured over topographical maps of the Church Creek basin, Johns Island, medical district on the peninsula and the Market Creek area as well.
On Tuesday, City Council heard from residents opposed to a Johns Island annexation, including flooding activists dressed in shirts that read, "I Flood and I Vote" and a banner that read "The United Flooded States of America."
During that same meeting, City Council considered a plan to put a new freeboard requirement to a citywide vote in November — deciding if voters should advise City Council on whether it should require homeowners to raise their homes two feet above the current Federal Emergency Management Agency standard. Council members are expected to decide next week if they want it on the Nov. 5 ballot.
Another crowd came out Wednesday night to learn about the Dutch Dialogues' progress on studying four of the city's most floodprone areas. On Friday, a preliminary report will be delivered at 10 a.m. to noon at the Cigar Factory's Clemson Design Center, 701 East Bay St.
Though a final report won't be released until late September, Charleston's Chief Resilience Officer Mark Wilbert said he's hopes project will provide a set of overarching principles the city can rely on moving forward.
"If you're going to develop in this type of topography or this type of area, these are some of the principles that certainly should be applied," he said. "I think that is a great starting point for us to begin to move forward."