Community Commitments

Our Commitment to You: Environmental Justice Community Mitigation Plan

Every effort was made to avoid and minimize impacts to your community during the development of the project alternatives. The close proximity of several communities, such as Ferndale, Highland Terrace, Liberty Park, and Russelldale to the existing interstate, with significant community impacts were unavoidable in all reasonable alternatives and would require community mitigation. When anticipated impacts are disproportionate, extreme avoidance and minimization measures are explored such as realigning the interstate or tunneling the interstate in order to reconnect the community. The areas surrounding the I-526 corridor are densely developed with the Airport and Joint Base Charleston to the west of the community and many other residential developments to the east of the corridor which are also primarily low income. Re-aligning the interstate in this area would create greater impacts to the community as a whole including significantly greater impacts to Environmental Justice (EJ) communities. Tunneling the interstate was also eliminated as a feasible option since the areas of disproportionate impacts are surrounding the I-526/ I-26 interchange. The accommodation of all the necessary ramping for the interchange would not be feasible in a tunneling scenario. Potential impacts of the project, requiring mitigation, include:

  • The need for SCDOT to purchase properties, including many homes or strips of land. This would result in less affordable housing in the area.
  • The removal of the Russelldale Community Center and changes to the Highland Terrace-Liberty Park Community Center.
  • The increase in traffic noise levels.
  • Temporary noise and dust during construction of the highways and the replacement community and recreation centers.

SCDOT also recognizes that when I-26 and I-526 were originally constructed, these same communities experienced many of the same impacts. Many residents and businesses had to move to make room for these improvements. Further, affordable housing in the area is already being reduced by other new commercial developments and transportation projects.

These suggested mitigation measures are identified in the EJ Community Mitigation Plan below.

The EJ Community Mitigation Plan below will be published later this year as part of the Final Environmental Impact Statement and incorporates your input and experiences.

Learn more

  • View maps showing the potential property impacts here (as of September 2021).
  • Want the Community Mitigation Plan highlights? Check out this infographic ENG.
  • EJ Community Mitigation Plan ENG | ESP.
  • View the boards for the Fall 2020 Community Drop-in meetings here.
  • See the results from the EJ Community Mitigation Survey here.

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I-526 LCC WEST Community Advisory Council (CAC)

The Community Advisory Council, or “CAC,” is a group of locals who represent the Environmental Justice neighborhoods potentially impacted by the I-526 LCC WEST project. The CAC holds monthly meetings to discuss project-related issues and provide feedback to the project team. This resident-led group plays an important role in sharing the latest information with the community, so residents remain engaged in the mitigation development process. They are charged with informing the project team about potential community impacts associated with the proposed project alternatives and ideas on how to minimize those potential impacts.

The CAC’s membership includes homeowners, tenants, business owners, property owners, and religious leaders, from various backgrounds, to represent the community’s history and future goals. The project team contacted churches, schools, and other community organizations to identify residents of the potentially impacted neighborhoods who might be interested in participating in the CAC.

A Project Oversight Committee (POC) tasked with overseeing the implementation of the various EJ mitigation commitments will be initiated. The POC will be a group of EJ neighborhood residents, various Agency representatives, and other stakeholders that will meet during the implementation of the EJ Community Mitigation Plan to discuss mitigation-related schedule, issues, and concerns. CAC members, additional EJ neighborhood residents, and stakeholders who are interested in the project and/or local leaders involved in the affected communities offer the POC firsthand, community knowledge and experience.

If you are interested in getting involved or have questions, call or email us!

The Community Advisory Council (CAC) was established in September 2019 to serve the following roles during the project development process:
  • Share individual knowledge and perspectives with the project team;
  • Provide input on project-related impacts and proposed mitigation;
  • Serve as a voice for the EJ neighborhood residents; and,
  • Share project-related information.
CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE SCDOT will support the CAC by providing the necessary training to help them transition to a Project Oversight Committee.

Get to know your Community Advisory Council

Ferndale

Tina Baxley

Michael Halls, Sr.

Charlynne Smith

Gilbert Reeves

Larenda Baxley

Geneva Swett

Highland Terrace

Ruth Mae Whitney

Nathaniel Bryant

Liberty Park

Carolyn Varner

Doris Twiggs

Jeanaris Bannister

Cynthia Anderson

Russelldale

Tony Grasso

Angela Anderson

Joppa Way

Prayonda Cooper

Community faith-based organizations
Ferndale – Harvest Pointe Church

Rev. David L. Johnson

Muhammad Mosque – south of Ferndale

Brother DeAndre Muhammad
Brother Earl Muhammad

CAC Meeting Materials and Resources

2019
2020
Jan 4: Presentation | Summary
Feb 8: Presentation | Summary
Mar 7: Presentation | Packet | Summary
Apr 18: Packet | Summary
May 2: Packet | Summary
Jun 6: Packet | Summary
Jul 11: Packet | Summary
Aug 29: Packet | Summary
Sep 19: Packet | Summary
Oct 3: Packet | Summary
Nov 7: Packet | Summary
2021
Jan 9: Packet | Summary
Mar 6: Packet | Summary
Apr 17: Packet | Minutes (Coming Soon)
Sep 18: Packet | Minutes (Coming Soon)

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What is Environmental Justice and What does that Mean to You?

Environmental Justice (EJ) is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin or income, with respect t the development, implementation or enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.

☞ Fair Treatment
No group of people should bear an unfair share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, governmental and commercial operations or policies.
☞ Meaningful Engagement
Decision-makers seek to encourage the involvement of potentially affected communities so they can participate in the process. This input may help identify community concerns and influence decisions about activities that may affect their environment and health.

EJ policies began under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and have since been expanded. These policies ensure no one is excluded from participation in, denied the benefit of, or subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal funds. This is important because it helps to guarantee full and fair participation by potentially affected communities in every phase of the transportation decision-making process.

For the I-526 Lowcountry Corridor WEST (I-526 LCC WEST) project, a study was made to identify if the proposed alternatives would cause minority and low-income populations to bear the brunt of the impacts from the project, and if so, identify ways to achieve an equitable distribution of benefits and burdens. As a result, a Community Advisory Council was formed to help identify potential impacts and ways these impacts could be avoided, minimized and/or mitigated.

Learn more

  • What is Environmental Justice (PDF) ENG | ESP

Advancing Environmental Justice through the National Environmental Policy Act

Learn more about Promising Practices

The Road to Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice

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