Passengers praise emergency landing decision

Martha and Scott Busser and their two daughters, Cameron (left) and Allie, wait for a shuttle to Charleston International Airport. They spent the night at the Sheraton Hotel after their flight from Miami to Washington made an emergency landing Monday.

Drainage problems have been a high-profile issue on the Charleston peninsula, where the city is pursuing funding for a $146 million system of deep tunnels and massive pumps, but it's also an issue in rural areas of unincorporated Charleston County.

On Tuesday evening, Charleston County Council will hold a public hearing on those rural drainage concerns.

As in the downtown area, funding to fix rural drainage problems is a challenge.

And while rural drainage problems don't usually require complex systems of shafts, tunnels and pumps, there are other complications.

"Sometimes one end of a road or drainage ditch is publicly owned and the other end is private, which leads to confusion about whether or not the county can maintain it," Charleston County Public Works Director Jim Neal said. "We are continually researching these issues, because state law does not allow us to use county funds or equipment to work on private property."

He said county staff is computerizing an inventory of ditches, roads and drainage structures to determine where it is necessary to acquire public easements or ownership.

The hearing Tuesday will begin with a short presentation by county staff, and then the hearing will be opened up for public comments.

"I requested to have a hearing after receiving phone calls from my constituents who are concerned about drainage and ditch issues in their yards," said District 8 Councilman Curtis Inabinett. "This will allow all of council to hear if there are similar concerns from citizens in the rest of the County."

The hearing will be at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at the Public Services Building, 4045 Bridge View Drive, North Charleston.

For anyone wishing to make comments during the meeting, a sign-up sheet will be available beginning at 6 p.m.

For questions concerning the public hearing, contact the Charleston County Clerk of Council's Office at 958-4030.