35 Pepperhill families file lawsuits against Charleston-area government agencies after 3 years of flooding

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) — There have been several years of severe flooding in the Pepperhill community in North Charleston.

Now, 35 lawsuits are filed against the City of North Charleston, Charleston County, other state agencies including the Department of Transportation.

North Charleston Attorney Jerrel Wigger is representing the 35 plaintiffs.

He says in the lawsuit that the Pepperhill neighborhood, which has been around since the 1980’s, never flooded until the historic floods of 2015. A year later, many of the same homes flooded again due to Hurricane Matthew. Wigger says Tropical Storm Irma was the last straw.

“After the first storm, we were contacted by 4 or 5 people … The second storm came, and more and more people became involved,” Wigger said.

Planning for Palmetto Commerce Parkway began in 2006. That’s when Wigger says neighbors first spoke up.

“There were some meetings, and a lot of the residents at the meetings expressing concerns about flooding if the parkway was put into place. The parkway was built despite that,” Wigger said.

Palmetto Commerce Parkway’s Phase I and II are finished. Phase III will begin in 2021. The goal is to alleviate North Charleston traffic.

Wigger says marshlands connect to the Pepperhill neighborhood. Prior to the parkway, the marshlands collected the rain water. He says once Palmetto Commerce Parkway was built, it caused an effect similar to a dam.

“The place [the rainwater] goes is the lowest point, and unfortunately, the lowest point is Pepperhill,” Wigger said.

Wigger says damages differ among the families. Monetary repairs range from $10,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“Some actually had to move out of their houses while it was being repaired. Some of the folks are not able to make payments on their mortgage because they’re not living there, and they’re having to live somewhere else,” said Wigger.

A spokesperson from the North Charleston Mayor’s Office issued this statement:

The City is saddened by the flooding some experienced during the extreme weather events that have seemingly become more common in recent years.  Nature, particularly severe weather, is a force more powerful than any person or government. We hope that all involved had insured their homes properly in advance and that the attention drawn to flooding by these lawsuits reminds all those who have not yet obtained insurance of the necessity of doing so.

There will be a public meeting about Phase III of Palmetto Commerce Parkway on Tuesday, October 17 from 6:00 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Northside Baptist Church, 7800 Northside Dr. North Charleston.

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