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. Disproportionately high and adverse impacts to Ferndale, Highland Terrace, Liberty Park, and Russelldale were unavoidable in each of the reasonable alternatives for the project. 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.
Since the 2020 public hearing and 2021 community outreach, additional items have been added to increase the quality of life and provide opportunities to increase the generational wealth of the impacted communities. These are identified as NEW or an UPDATED throughout this website to show how your feedback has made a difference.
Four important elements to building or rebuilding a sustainable community are cohesion, enhancement, preservation, and revitalization. The EJ outreach efforts and the EJ Community Mitigation Plan were both framed around these four pillars, with the goal of developing mitigation measures that address each aspect of sustainability.
- See the latest EJ Community Mitigation Plan schedule here.
- View maps showing the potential property impacts here.
- Want the Community Mitigation Plan highlights? Check out this handout ENG | ESP.
- View the boards for the Summer 2022 Engagements here
- Proposed Final EJ Community Mitigation Plan ENG.
- View the boards for the Fall 2020 Community Drop-in meetings here.
- See the results from the EJ Community Mitigation Survey here.
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!
Get to know your Community Advisory Council
CAC Meeting Materials and Resources
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.
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.
Merge into the Conversation
Want to meet the Community Liaisons and Resource Specialists at your I-526 Project Office? Get to know them here!
Want to openly share your concerns about mitigation plan and bounce ideas off your neighbors? Interact with them here!Join Forum