From serious sports injuries causing tissue damage to bone issues and stiffness that comes with age, living with pain is, well, a pain. But it's more than that - it's a stressful, often upsetting way to get through your day, month, and year. Have you ever tried to get out of bed with sore, stiff knees? Most folks would rather just get back in bed. Think you might try exercising with plantar fasciitis? Don't plan on running far or doing cardio for very long. Torn rotator cuff? Without proper treatment, your life might not ever be the same.
Living with pain and the inevitable issues that come with age can seriously affect your wellbeing and happiness. Sure, you could wake up every morning and rely on addicting medications to help you move. Or, you could risk further injury and damage with invasive surgeries that require long periods of recovery and downtime. But those can't be the only two options for treatment, can they?
Fortunately, a new, natural, non-invasive treatment for pain is revolutionizing the medical industry and transforming people's lives. It's giving athletes, average folks, and people of a certain age a reason to be hopeful. It's called Softwave therapy, and unlike many fly-by-night medications and sketchy treatments, it's backed by science and provided by Elite Healthcare Physical Medicine.
If you're barely making it through the day suffering from chronic pain, this FDA-approved drug-free treatment may be for you. Softwave therapy has already been used by thousands of people around the country living with issues like shoulder pain, knee pain, and plantar fasciitis. You could be next.
Though its popularity has only grown in recent years, Softwave therapy - also known as shockwave therapy - has been around for years. In fact, the first systematic study into the benefits of shockwave therapy took place way back in 1950. So, what is Softwave therapy?
Softwave therapy is a method of treatment that works incredibly well for mobility rehab, pain relief, and full-body recovery, usually from chronic pain or injuries. Softwave therapy uses a device emitting low-energy soundwaves that target a patient's injured area. These low-intensity waves boost blood flow and kickstart your body's natural healing processes, relieving long-term pain and helping your body to heal a wide range of injuries and conditions.
The main targets in the body include bones, tendons, and other soft tissues, which are encouraged to regenerate and repair via the shockwaves. Often, shockwave therapy is used in conjunction with other non-invasive treatments like chiropractic care, which we offer at Elite Healthcare Physical Medicine. The results are often incredible, leaving patients wondering why they never tried Softwave therapy before.
Softwave therapy works especially well for:
Better Blood Flow
Kickstarting cell growth and healing factors
Breaking down build-ups of calcium
With FDA clearance, little-to-no side effects, and quick application time, Softwave therapy is a welcome alternative for people suffering from pain. Who wants to spend weeks or months recovering from a surgery that might not even work? Likewise, who would want to become dependent on over-the-counter or, even worse, prescription pain meds? Living a life of addiction is a road nobody wants to go down.
Softwave therapy represents a revolution in non-invasive pain treatment; best of all, it's highly effective. Independent studies prove that shockwave therapy helps with pain. 65-91% of patients using shockwave therapy experienced real-deal improvements in damaged muscle and bone tissue, solving their mobility problems and drastically reducing pain. It almost sounds too good to be true, but as many patients at Elite Healthcare Physical Medicine will tell you - it isn't.Book Appointment
Some of the most common conditions that Softwave therapy treats include:
When you get up in the morning and go to the bathroom to brush your teeth, do you notice a stabbing, sharp pain near your heel? Does the pain go away once you have a chance to walk around? If so, you could have plantar fasciitis. According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, this painful condition is quite common. About two million people suffer from plantar fasciitis every year, and almost 10% of all people will experience the condition at least once in their life.
This common foot issue happens when the plantar fascia - a fan-shaped tissue near your heel - gets inflamed. The plantar fascia is a thick strip of connective tissue that links your toes to your heel bone, helping to preserve the arch of your foot. When this band is strained, it causes intensely sharp pain, usually in the morning when you wake up and plant your feet on the floor.
Most folks ignore plantar fasciitis because the pain eventually goes away throughout the day. However, if left untreated, plantar fasciitis can lead to weakness and chronic pain, which may affect daily walking.
Some causes of plantar fasciitis include:
The short answer to this question is not really. Patients with plantar fasciitis will ice the affected area with little-to-no relief since they spend so much time on their feet. It's hard to rest an achy heel if you've got a job that requires you to be on your feet. Anti-inflammatory meds like Advil don't work all that well, either. They may provide temporary pain relief, but in terms of a long-term solution, taking these drugs will cause major side effects.Book Appointment
When more conservative treatment options like ice and over-the-counter meds don't work, most doctors turn to ultra-expensive orthotics, steroid injections, or invasive surgery. For the average person, those options fail on all fronts, as they carry risks for side effects and may even cause the issue to worsen.
Instead of going under the knife or changing their daily routines, many people suffering from plantar fasciitis are turning to Softwave therapy for relief.
During a shockwave therapy session, our expert providers use a special probe to deliver pressure waves to inflamed tissue. These waves trigger natural healing processes causing new blood vessels to form. In turn, oxygen is supplied to the affected area, reducing inflammation and causing healthy cells to regenerate. Shockwave therapy also produces collagen, which is crucial for connective tissue health.
With just a few visits, many patients find long-term relief from plantar fasciitis without relying on strange drugs or harmful surgeries.
Living with knee pain is just miserable. From knee tendonitis to osteoarthritis, knee pain can prevent you from enjoying activities and affect your day-to-day life. Your knee is a joint comprised of cartilage, bone, ligaments, and fluids. Tendons and muscles within the knee help the joint move. When one of these crucial knee structures is hurt or compromised, it results in knee pain and long-lasting knee problems. This, in turn, leads to difficulty walking at best and debilitating knee issues at worse.
If you're an active person or somebody who plays sports often, you're probably all too familiar with knee pain - especially common conditions like patellar tendinopathy. Also called "jumpers knee," this issue happens at the patellar tendon, which is found on the front of the knee just under the knee cap. When living with this condition, most patients experience pain around the kneecap or lower down on the leg around the tibia.
In addition to injuries and issues like jumper's knee, everyday wear and tear will cause knee pain over time. With time, this knee pain can develop into arthritis. If your knees are swollen, painful, or stiff, you may have arthritis in your knees. Regardless of the kind of knee pain you're experiencing, treatment options have been limited to agonizing surgeries and addicting pain medications. But that all changes with shockwave therapy for knee pain in John's Island, SC.
Though no two knee pain problems are exactly the same, shockwave therapy has been shown to be highly effective for knee pain. In fact, many patients at Elite Healthcare Physical Medicine find relief after just one session. Many times, sessions can be completed in as little as 30 minutes. So if you want to find relief for knee pain on your lunch break, that's definitely possible.
As is the case with plantar fasciitis, Softwave therapy works by sending sound wave and low-energy impulses to the affected area of your knee. These pulses stimulate your body's healing factors, which can help regenerate and repair damaged tendons and tissues. Softwave therapy for knee pain is especially promising for people who have tried other treatments - like surgery and pain meds - with disappointing results.
Several studies and reviews prove that Softwave therapy can be very beneficial for people suffering from knee pain problems like jumper's knee. A study involving 66 patients with knee pain found that they enjoyed a significant improvement in their reported pain levels with Softwave therapy. In fact, knee pain was reduced by nearly 50% after a single month. When combined with other regenerative and physical therapy treatments at Elite Healthcare Physical Medicine, your days of living with knee pain are numbered.Book Appointment
Here's a fact for you to consider: Every joint that you have in your body plays a part in your day-to-day life. But when we think of joint issues, we typically jump to knee issues. However, your knees aren't the only joints in your body to go through wear and tear. Your shoulders experience just as much, if not more, wear and tear than your knees. We put a strain on our shoulders just about every time we use or move our arms. Our shoulders play a pivotal part in living a normal life. When they begin to deteriorate over time due to age or overuse, it creates a litany of painful problems.
There are many causes of shoulder pain, like deterioration, inflammation, and trauma. Of the many painful shoulder conditions affecting Americans yearly, rotator cuff tendonitis and arthritis are very common. Also called calcific tendinitis, rotator cuff pain is caused by built-up calcium deposits on the shoulder's tendons, which connect your rotator cuff to nearby muscles and bones. This painful condition is usually linked to sports, like basketball and volleyball, or in professions requiring repetitive movements, like in the plumbing industry.
Some common symptoms of shoulder pain and rotator cuff tendinitis include:
Though strengthening exercises and some medications provide temporary relief for shoulder pain, they're not meant as long-term solutions. Luckily, Softwave therapy for rotator cuff pain in John's Island, SC, can help.
Shockwave therapy has been shown to work wonders for shoulder pain. Low-intensity shockwaves break up calcium deposits and jumpstart your body's healing processes, stimulating blood flow and healthy cell growth. Shockwave treatment is especially effective for long-term shoulder pain since it releases stem cells, sends growth factors to the affected area, and boosts capillary production. Shockwave therapy has also been shown to break down scar tissue and eliminate trigger points, all of which decrease shoulder pain. This relief is most often long-lasting, unlike other treatments like medications and injections.
Many studies support the efficacy of Softwave therapy for shoulder conditions like rotator cuff pain and calcific tendonitis of the shoulder. In a study of 84 patients living with long-term rotator cuff tendonitis, participants in the treatment group saw a significant decrease in the intensity of their shoulder pain. Another study related to shockwave therapy for calcific tendonitis found that 86.6% of patients experienced fewer calcifications.
If you're having to live with rotator cuff pain or another type of shoulder issue, choosing Softwave therapy may be your best course of action.Book Appointment
Whether you're sick of living with intense heel pain from plantar fasciitis, the mobility issues associated with knee pain, or the day-to-day struggles of rotator cuff degeneration, you'll find hope at Elite Healthcare Physical Medicine. Unlike some medical clinics, our team of doctors and specialists focus on an integrative, multidisciplinary approach to healing. Instead of relying on addictive medications and invasive surgeries, we prefer to address the underlying causes that our patients face.
We combine several all-natural pain relief therapies so that your shoulder pain, knee pain, joint pain, and foot pain go away for good. We resolve pain by using healing treatments that restore function and improve mobility for the long term. Our state-of-the-art regenerative medicine treatments, used hand-in-hand with proven chiropractic techniques, will stimulate your body's healing power from within. If your pain is related to muscles, nerves, and bones, our doctors can help you overcome discomfort, injury, or medical conditions affecting these systems.
If you've been unable to resolve your pain or have become dependent on painkillers to cope, Softwave therapy may be the natural solution you need. It all starts with a quick call to our office, so we can begin to understand your needs. When you come for your first visit, our doctors will find the personalized treatment you need so that you can manage your pain in a non-invasive and drug-free environment manner.Book Appointment
The South Carolina Environmental Law Project is urging people to request a public hearing for a potential bridge to be built over Pennys Creek.Published: Tue Mar 07 2023JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Environmental Law Project is urging people to request a public hearing for a potential bridge to be built over Pennys Creek.Pennys Creek separates a portion of land from Johns Island between the creek and the Stono River. The two-lane bridge would be 33-feet-wide by 570-feet-long.Conservationists say t...
The South Carolina Environmental Law Project is urging people to request a public hearing for a potential bridge to be built over Pennys Creek.
Published: Tue Mar 07 2023
JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Environmental Law Project is urging people to request a public hearing for a potential bridge to be built over Pennys Creek.
Pennys Creek separates a portion of land from Johns Island between the creek and the Stono River. The two-lane bridge would be 33-feet-wide by 570-feet-long.
Conservationists say that kind of construction work would affect the water quality and health of the salt marsh ecosystem. Betsy LaForce is with the Coastal Conservation League.
“We’re thinking about- runoff from cars and stormwater runoff that would go right into the marsh, but also just some of the shading and then the impacts from the piling,” she says.
The applicant is Mike Blanchard of Charles Blanchard Construction Corporation. The proposed name for the bridge is the Blanchard Family Bridge. The application is to build at Fenwick Plantation Road and St. Paul’s Parish Lane. That intersection sits inside a quiet Johns Island neighborhood. According to DHEC’s public notice, the purpose is to provide car access to private property where “access to public roadways is otherwise infeasible.”
South Carolina Environmental Law Project is concerned that the bridge will impact the estuarine ecosystem including some marsh habitat. The organization is also submitting a letter on behalf of the Coastal Conservation League. While the private bridge would access private property, the project argues that the negative impacts to the public waterway and ecosystem held entrust by the state are not worth it.
LaForce says there are a lot of questions about this bridge.
“There are kind of more questions than answers that have been provided in the application in the letter of intent as to why the applicant really needs this bridge to this island that’s already been under the same ownership for quite a long time and access via a separate bridge hasn’t been needed to date,” LaForce says. “So that’s part of the reason why this public hearing will be so important…to ask them to ask the applicant to provide a little bit more background on why this access is needed to the tip of this marsh island.”
The letter argues that there already is access to the land via Rushland Road. “The applicant does not appear to have detailed why this is an infeasible route for access” and that “their proposed access is not a necessity,” according to the letter. The applicant says he has been denied access through that avenue.
In a statement, the applicant explains his family has owned the land since the 40′s and sold off most of it reserving six remaining acres for their grandchildren to use. He says there used to be more bridges and causeways that fell into disrepair and have not been replaced. He says they have secured a permit in the past, but let it expire before being able to build.
Part of the statement reads:
“This property is landlocked and the only available access is by a bridge. We tried for 50 years to get access through the neighboring land between our property and Rushland Landing Road to no avail. We have met all of the regulations and were granted a bridge permit 3 times. If we can’t build a bridge, we cannot access our land.”
LaForce says they are also worried about development pressure.
“Some of the infrastructure that’s being proposed for such a sensitive ecosystem…so on our Sea Islands, we want to be really cognizant of these piecemeal kind of applications that are being considered whether it’s for new roadways, new bridges, and sort of the cumulative impacts that each of those individual budgets has on the bigger picture,” LaForce.
South Carolina Environmental Law Project urges people to submit a request for a public hearing to learn more about the reason for the bridge and potential impact to the environment. Neighbors say they are confident they will meet the 20-request requirement for a public hearing.
Public comments end on March 8th. For more information, click here.
Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.
JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – Some Johns Island neighbors like the new traffic light, and some say it’s causing traffic issues on the island, but city officials say they’re working to make sure this new light doesn’t become a problem for drivers moving forward.The new traffic light at the intersection of Maybank Highway and Fenwick Hall Allee is causing quite a controversy a...
JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – Some Johns Island neighbors like the new traffic light, and some say it’s causing traffic issues on the island, but city officials say they’re working to make sure this new light doesn’t become a problem for drivers moving forward.
The new traffic light at the intersection of Maybank Highway and Fenwick Hall Allee is causing quite a controversy amongst Johns Island neighbors. Some are appreciative of the addition.
“This light I feel like it does help a lot,” Johns Island resident Liz Jannetta said, “especially for this community.”
Some believe it’s the cause of increased commute times across the island.
“Little bit of a negative coming back because it starts to bottleneck,” Johns Island resident Marek Pawulski said. “People coming onto Johns Island and leaving Johns Island.”
But Charleston City officials say because the new light has only been in operation for a week, no one can definitely say it’s the reason for the congestion.
“I would say it’s speculation,” Robert Somerville, director of traffic and transportation for the City of Charleston, said. “We really need to get some data collected.”
Somerville says Charleston County has already begun the process of gathering that data.
“They have counters placed on Maybank so we can look at the volumes,” he said, “and compare it to pre-installation of the signal to the volumes that we’re seeing now.”
With more than 80 accidents at the intersection, including multiple fatalities, neighbors in the Fenwick Plantation subdivision would like others to see why this new light is needed.
“I have three teenage kids,” Jannetta said, “two who both drive now and putting them, before this light came, having them make lefts out of this neighborhood it was gut-wrenching. I don’t even know what else to say.”
And though some people see the new light as a main cause for backups on the island, they understand it was installed for everyone’s safety.
“If this light came in for the purpose to prevent accidents and save lives then I think it’s a good thing,” Pawulski said. “But like you said, I think they need to set up the timing a little bit better so it doesn’t bottle up towards Headquarters or way past River Road.”
Charleston City officials say they will continue working on the timing of the light, and they’re urging all drivers to be patient during that process.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
The South Carolina Office of Resilience has announced they will be giving several million dollars to the City of Charleston to improve drainage on Johns Island.Published: Mon Mar 20 2023JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Office of Resilience has announced they will be giving several million dollars to the City of Charleston to improve drainage issues affecting around 500 acres of Johns Island.Stormwater Management Director Matthew Fountain said Monday the city is trying to build a naturalized area and a new s...
The South Carolina Office of Resilience has announced they will be giving several million dollars to the City of Charleston to improve drainage on Johns Island.
Published: Mon Mar 20 2023
JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Office of Resilience has announced they will be giving several million dollars to the City of Charleston to improve drainage issues affecting around 500 acres of Johns Island.
Stormwater Management Director Matthew Fountain said Monday the city is trying to build a naturalized area and a new stream near the homes of the Barberry Woods neighborhood off Maybank Highway to reduce flooding.
“Getting this grant in helps close the funding gap,” Fountain said. “We’ve seen some huge cost increases over the last three to four years as everybody knows in construction, especially.”
Fountain said the $4.6 million grant from the state will cover about half of the project’s $10 million price tag. He added the city has invested a couple million dollars alone buying up nearby vacant properties.
Neighbors also shared videos of how extreme the flooding was during Hurricane Ian in Barberry Woods, with one neighbor who could be seen taking his children on a kayak ride along the street.
Fountain said the state’s grant money will help cover some of the construction costs, including tree clearing, digging out soil and reshaping the land. The project also calls for a 20-to-25-acre area complete with walking trails.
“The water can basically act like in a natural wetland system over the top of the stream banks and hold in the wetland areas instead of being in people’s roads and streets,” Fountain said.
A few years ago, the city, in conjunction with the Dutch embassy, brought over experts from the Netherlands, Europe and across the country to recommend ways to address flooding. Fountain said this project was one of those recommendations.
“How do you restore the ability of the land to handle the water like it used before you basically did all this development in the area,” Fountain said. “This project is directly looking at how do we take land that could be developed into something – commercial or homes – and basically convert it back into wetlands and streams like it would have been hundreds of years ago potentially to help manage the flooding challenges that are currently affecting the developed properties around it.”
Neighbors like Brian Mack said they are glad a potential solution is underway.
“We get a lot of the drainage from neighborhoods up the road, and it tends to pool down here in the middle of the road and come out toward our house and the back of the neighborhood,” Mack said.
Mack said his neighbors have to prepare in case of heavy rain, so they’re not stuck.
“Some cars have to park in the front and either walk barefoot through or put galoshes on just to get to their homes,” Mack said.
Fountain said he expects to receive these state funds in the next month or so, and they’re on track to start construction in about a year to a year and a half.
“It’ll take a little bit of time, but upon completion of the project, one of the advantages of something like this is you’ll see immediate improvements,” Fountain said.
Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.
A new elementary school planned for Johns Island is making its way through the approval process with the City of Charleston.Published: Mon Feb 06 2023CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A new elementary school planned for Johns Island is making its way through the approval process with the City of Charleston.The construction plan went before the design review board for the second of its three times, on Monday. It’s a standard, but lengthy, process any builders go through with big projects in the city.Executive Directo...
A new elementary school planned for Johns Island is making its way through the approval process with the City of Charleston.
Published: Mon Feb 06 2023
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A new elementary school planned for Johns Island is making its way through the approval process with the City of Charleston.
The construction plan went before the design review board for the second of its three times, on Monday. It’s a standard, but lengthy, process any builders go through with big projects in the city.
Executive Director of Capital Programs Jasmeen Shaw explains the school is going to be state of the art and offer STEAM – science, technology, engineering, arts and math – education.
“The island truly deserves a brand-new school and we’re able to bring them a brand-new school which as well as alleviates some of the overcrowding that’s been caused by growth in the area – which is a great thing,” Shaw says.
The elementary school will be off of River Road. It is planned to be two stories and serve 700 2nd through 5th graders.
During community meetings last year – some people expressed concern about traffic. Part of the construction also includes building a roundabout on River Road to enter the school property. The project also includes adding a left turn lane from River Road to Brownswood Road and adding a right turn lane from Brownswood Road onto River Road.
“We’re going to bring several road improvements to the area, which is not only going to benefit the school which operates Monday through Friday for the most part, but even on weekends and as a whole, this particular school is going to be an asset to the entire community,” Shaw says.
Stephanie Yesil and her husband live in a neighborhood off River Road.
“Maybe it will help with the development of River Road and turning it into a safer place. Maybe adding some sidewalks, maybe adding some additional controls, maybe some new lights, maybe some new signs to make it even more family friendly. So, this could be a really good thing if it’s done well,” Yesil says.
She is a former education who says she doesn’t have kids yet, but supports investing in education.
“My husband and I hopefully one day will be parents but for now, I mean, we love our neighbors and almost every single one of them have new children and it would be really nice to make sure that this is more of a community-oriented place rather than having a bus kids all over the place,” Yesil says.
The elementary school is meant to help with the crowding at the Angel Oak Elementary, which is operating at 129% capacity over operating ability. The $53.5 million dollar brand new school will offer STEAM programs. Then, the Angel Oak Elementary building will be converted to serve as a head start and 1st grade center, so all levels are included. The goal open date for the school is the start of the 2024-2025 school year.
“I think education is always a great idea. I think there’s always going to be a need for it. I can’t speak to other city planning. I can’t necessarily speak to any other kinds of businesses that we should have over here. But you’ll always get a yes vote for me when it comes to bringing in good teachers, good people and giving more and more space for kids to go to places to learn,” Yesil says.
Monday, the design review board approved the conceptual plans and submitted the information to staff for a further focused review. The board made some aesthetic suggestions to the plans like more fencing around the back of the building, but overall supported the designs. Charleston County Schools says the project is on track and they expect to start site prep work in March.
Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.
Nearly 200 historic trees on Johns Island were on the chopping block at a Charleston Board of Zoning Appeals meeting Dec. 7, and the debate surrounding their removal is stirring up questions about preserving the island’s natural habitat while planning for booming population growth at the city’s outer edges.Developers requested permission to cut down 193 “grand” trees across two developments in cases heard before the board, which reviews projects that need special exceptions to city ordinances.The grand c...
Nearly 200 historic trees on Johns Island were on the chopping block at a Charleston Board of Zoning Appeals meeting Dec. 7, and the debate surrounding their removal is stirring up questions about preserving the island’s natural habitat while planning for booming population growth at the city’s outer edges.
Developers requested permission to cut down 193 “grand” trees across two developments in cases heard before the board, which reviews projects that need special exceptions to city ordinances.
The grand classification means the trees are more than 24 inches in diameter, likely indicating that they are well over 100 years old. As a result, they are protected by city ordinance. Not only are the trees considered an aesthetic trademark of the once entirely rural island but they are also a key component of the area’s ecosystem and a natural flood prevention tool.
“The trees help us for resilience, absorbing water, supplying shade and wildlife habitat,” John Zlogar, chair of the community group Johns Island Task Force, told The Post and Courier. He is one of nearly 30 residents who submitted comments to the zoning board in favor of saving as many trees as possible amid development.
The board ultimately approved both tree removal plans with some caveats.
Developers of the first project, a 71-home planned community near Fenwick Hall Plantation, requested permission to cut down 21 trees. The zoning appeals board reduced that to 15. They also stipulated that the developers of the property must hire an arborist to create a protection plan for the remaining trees and plant 151 new native trees with at least a 2½-inch diameter.
The developers argued that after having an arborist evaluate the trees on the property, the ones slated for removal were already in poor health.
“We designed the proposed concept plan which ultimately preserves 36 grand trees and impacts grand trees only with a health grade ‘D’ or lower,” wrote Jenna Nelson in a letter to the zoning board. Nelson leads the development’s engineering team, Bowman Consulting Group.
If those trees fell naturally, however, they would have returned organic matter to the ecosystem, promoting other forms of plant life that provide food for animals and insects, said Philip Dustan, an ecology professor at the College of Charleston.
“When (the tree) falls down. it slowly rots and releases its nutrients,” he said.
Tree removals at the second project on Johns Island, called Wooddale, were also approved by the board. Instead of removing 172 trees as originally requested, the developers revised the plan to remove 124. They must also develop a protection plan for the remaining trees and plant about 500 native 2½-inch or wider trees. They also have plans to establish a conservation easement along the southern portion of the property, meaning it will be protected from development moving forward.
“Multiple layout alternatives have been explored by following the natural contours of the site by placing most of the density in the highest area to minimize the cut and fill needed as well as minimize the tree and environmental impacts,” wrote Jason Hutchinson, an engineer for the development with firm Thomas & Hutton.
The Wooddale project has been in the works since 2013 because of a lawsuit that hinged on disagreements between the city and the developer about how to zone the development. As proposed, it includes single-family homes, offices, an assisted-living facility and other amenities, according to site plans. Because it is south of the island’s urban growth boundary, it is subject to stricter limitations than the northern tip of the island. The boundary was established decades ago as a way to preserve the island’s rural origins.
The Woodale tract sits not too far away from Charleston Executive Airport where conservationists secured a win earlier this year. The Charleston County Aviation Authority signed off on a deal to place just under 100 acres in a legally binding conservation easement. An agreement with Lowcountry Land Trust will keep 94 acres from ever being developed there.
As growth continues within the boundary’s limits, some residents are trying to advocate for developments with as little ecological impact as possible on the southern side of the boundary line.
Dustan, who lives near Wooddale, is not pleased with the upcoming development. The most ecologically sensitive solution, he said, would be to build elevated homes on pilings and keep all the existing trees intact.
By removing the native trees, the surrounding area is robbed of parts of a centuries-old root network, which can affect the health of surrounding trees.
“A lot of the trees that you see are actually related to each other,” he said.
Although the development follows the city’s storm water standards, Dustan is concerned that runoff created by the new development will overflow nearby Burden Creek during major ran events.
After hurricane Ian came through in September, water was about a foot below breaching the banks of the creek, he said.
“The curious thing is ... if we keep building like this, we might start flooding the new communities, too,” he said.
Johns Island is seeing a massive influx of growth in ways that is not possible in more developed areas of the city. As a result, the island is seeing a patchwork of new developments separated by stretches of farmland and forests. Longtime residents want to see the city use modern planning tools to lessen the impact of new development on the environment and flooding.
“The area inside the urban growth boundary is only 20 percent of the island, let’s contain the growth in that 20 percent to make sure it’s smart,” Zlogar said.
A citywide water plan, which is currently in the works, will look at the city as a whole to see what types of flood mitigation are needed most and where they would have the most impact. Instead of tackling flood concerns on a project-by-project basis, the city is looking at ways to stop development that increases flooding and identify which flood projects need to be prioritized first.
Instead of trying to drain water as quickly as possible, the city’s main strategy is shifting toward effectively storing floodwater, such as in detention basins, and letting it slowly disperse. One advantage of this approach is that it helps prevent a sinking effect called subsidence. Shifting ground levels due to the movement of groundwater threaten buildings’ foundations and worsen flood risk. Forrest are a natural asset in this type of flood prevention, Dustan said.
“The best way to solve a problem is preventing it from happening in the first place,” he said.
The water plan will be worked into a new citywide zoning ordinance that Charleston officials are also currently drafting.
In the new version, officials want the zoning maps — the guide for what can get built where — to be based on elevation. High ground near major roadways will be fair game for high-density development, in most cases. Low-lying areas and wetlands will be restricted to little or no use at all. The ground rules for development will vary in each area of town. It’s an opportunity to set the framework for how Johns Island can grow in a sustainable way.
As these changes come down the pipeline, Johns Island residents will also have a new advocate in City Hall.
From 2010 to 2020, census data shows the island’s population within Charleston city limits doubled from nearly 5,300 residents to almost 12,000. As a result, in recently approved City Council redistricting maps, Johns Island will get its own council member for the first time in 2024.
How the city approaches tree preservation will need to be tailored to Johns Island, too, Zlogar said. The existing tree ordinance was designed with more developed areas of the city, such as the peninsula, in mind. There, developers are typically requesting to remove one or two trees in an already built-out neighborhood. But on Johns Island, developers are purchasing lots with upwards of 100 acres of land.
“We have a tree ordinance but to my knowledge there is no forest ordinance and that is the problem,” Zlogar said.
Every tree removed affects the overall ecosystem of a forest. And replanting smaller trees, even of the same variety, doesn’t have the same ecological benefit.
“It’s the equivalent of tearing down an apartment building and putting up a woodshed,” he said.
The other concern from Dustan and other community members is that the tree ordinance does not take a holistic view of the island. Saving contiguous swaths of forest is more effective strategy than saving groups of trees on a lot-by-lot basis. Having interrupted clusters of forest reduces storm water absorption and splits up wildlife habitats as well.
“We’re not seeing the forest for the trees,” Dustan said.