North Charleston business owner wants city to fix drainage issues

Barry Johnson says this is what the parking lot outside his store looked like after a storm caused flooding along Northwoods Blvd.

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) — One North Charleston business owner has renovated his store four times due to flooding, and he feels the city is at fault.

“When you talk about the kind of water that backs up through the sewage and drains, it’s just disgusting,” said Barry Johnson, who owns Tuxedo Junction, located in a strip mall along Northwoods Boulevard in North Charleston.

He started working at the store as an employee in 2002. Shortly after that, he took over as owner.

Johnson leases the store site.

However, inheriting the store also means taking in its problems, which includes a lot of water.

The store flooded once in 2008, twice in 2015, then again last year during Hurricane Matthew.

Johnson has renovated the floors of his shop several times. Every time it floods, he has to dry clean almost 3,000 tuxedos that he keeps in-store.

Johnson says the problem is poor drainage in the area, and he wants the city to step in.

“Fix the drainage problem. I know it’s expensive, but these are businesses,” he said.

“I spoke to Mayor [Keith] Summey in 2008. He said it would take 5 years. That was 9 years ago,” Johnson said.

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey wouldn’t have an on-camera interview with the I-Team.

However, a city representative commented on the hold ups.

He said first, it took a long time to get the property owners in that area to agree to language in order to allow the work on their properties. Once the city developed its plans, Northwoods Mall owners had their own engineers look over them. That took additional time.  The city’s contracted engineers are now addressing some questions and comments. Once the property owners give their final approval, the city will finalize easements and start bidding for the improvement project.

Meanwhile, Johnson fears another Thousand-Year Flood could come sooner.

“In 2015, when it happened twice, I had to let three of our employees go. These people have families to feed, so its not just us being affected, it’s the entire community.,” said Johnson.

 

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