Sanford tours Irma damage in West Ashley, Isle of Palms

Sanford tours Irma damage in West Ashley, Isle of Palms

Days after the effects of Tropical Storm Irma were felt in South Carolina, Congressman Mark Sanford got a firsthand glimpse of the damage.

He toured flooded out homes in the West Ashley subdivision of Bridgepointe and looked at storm ravaged homes on Isle of Palms.

Perhaps the most frustration came from residents in Bridgepointe, some of whom have dealt with flooding for several years.

Angela Dinenna eventually decided to walk away from her home in the neighborhood that backs up to Shadowmoss.

The worst flooding she experienced was in October of 2015.

"I've been flooded five times within the past couple of years," she said. "I didn't want to live through it again, so I just moved out."

Her house was spared this time, thanks to quick cleaning initiatives by neighbors, but it remains vacant.

She, along with William Hilburn, hope the City of Charleston will buy them out.

"We just can't live here," she said. "We can't keep going through this. It's impossible to live like this. It's stressful. There's a lot of elderly that live here. It's just so sad to see them have to leave right now, stay at a hotel until their house is fixed again. I'm not young myself, and it's really taken a toll."

Hilburn has lived in the area his whole life and said he believes the problem is because the city has allowed Bees Ferry to be overdeveloped.

"The city has let people fill in the wetlands on Bees Ferry Road," he said. "We have become a retention pond for all the infrastructure that has been built here."

He said he believes it's a city issue now, not a FEMA issue.

"It needs to be fixed immediately before any more repairs are done and before anyone loses their life or health over it," he said.

Sanford agreed with the point that something needs to be done considering so much money has been shelled out for repairs already.

Right now, though, he said in terms of mitigation grants, Bridgepointe is on the low end of the totem pole.

Federal emergency grants will first be allocated to victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Because two category four storms hit at essentially the same time, money is stretched thin, according to Sanford.

Still, he realizes the need and why emotions are raw.

He also wishes people would be understanding of Mayor Tecklenburg.

"In fairness to the mayor this is something that precedes his time in office," Sanford said. "There were zoning decisions in terms of density out in this part of the city that have real implications in terms of water flow and runoff and saturation."

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