Homeowners briefed on rail settlement

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) There were lots of questions, comments, and concerns about the controversial rail project in North Charleston Wednesday.

Mayor Keith Summey announced Tuesday that the city and state finally reached an agreement. Wednesday night, he met with homeowners in an open forum at City Hall, many of whom were concerned with the noise the proposed rail line could generate.

"Northwood Estates is negatively impacted by the same noise that we were fighting to downplay in that area of North Charleston," said one concerned homeowner.

Summey addressed those concerns before the large crowd in attendance, acknowledging the issue.

"We've got to find ways to enhance the way they move through the community -- they're constantly moving and not stopping and then we eliminate as much noise as possible," he said.

Other homeowners feared that a portion of the rail line near O'Hear and Saint Johns avenues could potentially block in some residents.

"We have no way to get emergency vehicles in there because those are our only way in and out of that property," said another homeowner.

Summey responded, saying that's where a major transportation study of both rail and traffic comes into play.

"The surface transportation study is to not only make it the best location for the rail in the movement of vehicles; it also has to understand the needs of the community as well," said the mayor.

The proposed rail line will begin at the parking lot of the old Navy Base, come down Spruill Avenue, through Noisette Creek and turn right onto Virginia Avenue, in turn, causing concern from some Park Circle homeowners.

"We have built homes, safe streets, beautiful marsh views," said one Park Circle resident.

During Wednesday's meeting, Summey promised to help make sure the rail line has as little impact as possible.

"(The proposed plan) actually will move ( the rail lines) further away from the homes in the current proposal that was already there," said Summey.

The president of the North Charleston Artist Guild also spoke Wednesday. Three of its venues that once sat on city property now belong to the state.

Summey said the city would like at finding a new facility for them.