No. First, the tentatively-selected plan has a number of low-income or minority community neighborhoods on the peninsula that are inside the plan’s primary structural measure, the perimeter storm surge wall. Among these are the public housing communities of Cooper River Court, Meeting Street Manor, Gadsden Green, and Robert Mills Manor. In addition, entire peninsula neighborhoods which are more than 50% minority or low income are encompassed within the storm surge wall.
Second, the recommendation of nonstructural measures rather than construction of a storm surge wall in the Rosemont and Bridgeview Village communities is primarily driven by topography and other constraints, not economic value.
In the case of Rosemont, construction of the wall in tidal areas would result in large and permanent wetland impacts that would also require costly mitigation. This is an environmental impact that USACE has sought to minimize to the extent practicable throughout the study area. Upland construction of the wall to avoid wetlands would require involuntary buyouts and removal of homes in order to accommodate the footprint of the wall — something USACE has sought to avoid throughout the study area, including Rosemont. Elsewhere on the peninsula where a barrier is otherwise appropriate, the wall will be constructed on city-owned lands so as to avoid involuntary removal of citizens from their homes. This option is not available in Rosemont. Topographically, the natural tie-in for the storm surge wall is located on the eastward side of I-26 which would essentially encapsulate this community inside the wall. Given the lack of subsurface drainage throughout Rosemount, the wall would create a significant bathtub effect that would need to be mitigated by large pump stations at the end of most streets, which would in turn require significant real estate acquisition. For these reasons, the USACE currently believes non-structural solutions, such as elevating homes, are a better approach to reduce the coastal storm surge risk up to 12 ft NAVD88 faced by the residents of Rosemont.
Regarding Bridgeview Village, ground elevation and the surrounding wetland and cemetery are the overriding factors for the selection of non-structural alternatives for this community. The ground elevation in this area is already at an elevation of 9 ft NAVD88 or above, so the wall would only be around three feet above the surface to reach the 12 ft NAVD88 project elevation. In the Bridgeview Village area, construction would have to be on both uplands and wetlands, which would require buyouts and involuntary removal of citizens from their homes and impacts to surrounding wetlands. In addition, the historic Magnolia cemetery borders Bridgeview Village on one side, further complicating the constructability of a storm surge wall. Rather than impact these resources, the USACE currently believes non-structural solutions, such as flood-proofing, are a better approach to reduce the coastal storm surge risk faced by the residents of Bridgeview Village.
Finally, the Rosemont and Bridgeview Village communities (all structures) are part of the overall plan to address coastal storm surge on the peninsula. All non-structural costs are part of the overall cost estimate and will be cost-shared 65% (Federal) and 35% (City of Charleston). No funding will be needed by the residents of these communities to be part of the overall plan. Final details of the process and timeline will be identified in the pre-construction, engineering and design (PED) phase.