I-526 study predicts up to 40% decrease in home values

By Valencia

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A study released by the Coastal Conservation League predicts homeowners in the I-526 extension zone will see a 40 percent loss in property value if the proposal becomes a reality.

"The investment is certainly going backwards," said Joe Combs, who has lived in the Waterway South Condos in West Ashley for seven years. "We've already been hit with a recession that's took them backwards and here comes a highway in a few years."

The research was done by Wilkins Research Services. The company surveyed 485 people via telephone and web-based surveys. Fifty-six percent of the respondents were between the ages of 55-64 years old, and the median household income was $90,000.

The targeted individuals lived within the zip code areas affected by the construction of the proposed parkway: 29407, 29412, 29414, 29449, 29455, and 29487.

Many of those who responded say they expected a 25-to-40 percent property value discount on homes within 1,000 feet of the proposed extension.{}

"I'm not happy about it at all and we've fought it for years," said Combs.

Robert Haley has lived in the Battery Haig neighborhood for two years.

"I'm appalled by it," said Haley. "One, I'm not sure that I-526 is necessary. I don't think it's necessary at all. And then, the economic impact on the people that live here is going to be devastating."

Haley says the extension would force folks in his neighborhood to live with the direct impacts.

"We wouldn't be able to sell because we could never get back what we put into the house," Haley said.

Many who live alongside Haley agree with his views. They feel the extension is unnecessary.

"It's just a highway to nowhere is what I feel about it," said Combs. "It's going out to a dead end. We're not really traveling that way to get to any destination."

Instead, Haley says Charleston County ought to spend money on a mass transit system.

"What they are talking about is shoving more and more people into a smaller space. That's not development, that's rape," said Haley.

ABC News 4 reached out to Charleston County Council. Council chairman Teddie Pryor said they would not make comment until their legal team has a chance to review the research.