• Good News for the Historic Ashley River Road

    November 8, 2019

    We are very pleased to report that thanks to more than 450 public comments, the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) has revised its plans to improve a portion of the historic Ashley River Road in Dorchester County, South Carolina.

    In October 2019, we asked you to submit comments on SCDOT’s original proposed designs, which included two alternatives that would have likely negatively impacted the historic and natural character of the Ashley River Road and larger Ashley River Historic District with the removal of 283 or 58 trees. The National Trust’s comments are available here.

    In response to the majority of the public comments opposing the plans, SCDOT announced last week that it has developed a refined design that will improve safety through the combination of more sensitive changes (repaving the road, paving a 3-foot shoulder, adding rumble strips, adding wider and brighter pavement markings, etc.), increased traffic enforcement, and a lower speed limit—all with no trees impacted. SCDOT’s statement on the refined plan is available here.

    Thank you to everyone that submitted comments to help protect the iconic cultural landscape of this National Treasure!

  • Ashley River Road needs your comments by October 9

    October 2, 2019

    The magnificent, oak draped Ashley River Road that we have all known and loved is now threatened with a South Carolina Department of Transportation resurfacing and widening plan for the Dorchester County portion of the road that may forever change its rural and historic character. Both the Ashley River Road and the broader Ashley River Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

    Click below to see SCDOT’s plans and make your comments heard to save this iconic area. Please help us to preserve the historic character of the Ashley River Road by submitting comments to SCDOT by October 9, 2019.

    See the SCDOT’s plans and submit comments here or email your comments directly to jonesbl@scdot.org.

  • Public Hearing on Proposed Improvements to the Historic Ashley River Road

    September 20, 2019

    The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) has proposed structural improvements to a 6.5-mile stretch of Ashley River Road in Dorchester County that could destroy the scenic highway’s iconic tree canopy.

    Please attend a public hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 24, to speak out against the aggressive plans. Let the SCDOT know it’s possible both to improve safety on the heavily traveled road and to preserve this culturally and environmentally significant corridor, which has been designated a National and State Scenic Byway; is listed individually on the National Register of Historic Places and as part of the Ashley River Historic District; and was designated a National Treasure by the National Trust. You can learn more about the plans here.

    What: SCDOT Public Hearing
    When: Tuesday, Sept. 24, 5 to 7 p.m.
    Where: Ashley Ridge High School Cafeteria, 9800 Delemar Highway, Summerville

    The plans include widening the 5.1-mile stretch from Cooke Crossroads to just north of Middleton Place, a National Historic Landmark. That portion of the road would have 12-foot travel lanes and 10-foot shoulders. All trees in the way of widening would be removed.

    Plans for the second stretch—1.4 miles from north of Middleton Place to the Charleston County line—include more selective tree-cutting. One of the proposals would remove 283 trees, and another would remove 58 trees.

    In recent years, the road has deteriorated with large cracks and potholes. At the same time, traffic congestion has increased as new developments were built around Summerville. The corridor has become increasingly dangerous for drivers, but safety could be improved by properly maintaining the road and enforcing speed limits.

    We need to carefully consider how many and which trees we remove and take down as few as possible. Let’s protect the identity and sense of place that makes Ashley River Historic District so unique and special.

    Be sure to attend the public meeting next week and demand that the SCDOT’s safety improvements are achieved without destroying the iconic canopy.

  • Good news for the Ashley River Historic District!

    April 24, 2019

    More than 100 acres of marsh land along the Ashley River, including 4,600 feet of frontage across from Drayton Hall, a National Historic Landmark and a National Trust Historic Site, is now permanently protected!

    The National Trust placed a conservation easement on the land and conveyed it to the Lowcountry Land Trust, making the acreage now part of a larger mitigation project that will both restore its natural ecosystem and restrict development of the land itself. This is a significant milestone in on our ongoing work with local partners to protect the integrity of the historic and cultural character of the Ashley River Historic District. The viewshed from Drayton Hall is now forever protected!

    This is a welcome turn of events, as in March, a circuit court judge issued an order in the lawsuit we filed jointly with the City of Charleston that challenged North Charleston's proposed annexation of a parcel of land located across and just down the road from Drayton Hall. The Court found that neither the National Trust nor the City of Charleston had legal standing to challenge the annexation, leaving the historically significant parcel facing an uncertain future. The court ruling did state, however, that if we did have legal standing, our claim would be legitimate.

    We are currently evaluating our next legal steps, but know that our efforts to encourage responsible land use and thoughtful development within the Ashley River Historic District will continue. This work is made possible by supporters like you.

  • Update on Ashley River Annexation Litigation

    March 7, 2019

    On March 1, 2019, Judge Eugene Griffith in the Court of Common Pleas, Ninth Judicial Circuit of South Carolina, issued an order in the lawsuit National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States and the City of Charleston v. City of North Charleston challenging the proposed annexation by North Charleston of a one-acre parcel of land that is located across and just down the road from Drayton Hall, a National Trust Historic Site, and within the Ashley River Historic District. The Court found that the National Trust and the City of Charleston did not have standing to challenge the annexation, but also held that, if the standing is overturned, the one-acre annexation was invalid. The Court also did not grant the National Trust’s motions to dismiss the counterclaims filed by the Whitfield Company against the National Trust. The National Trust is considering its options at this time.

All 5 updates

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