News

19
Aug

AUGUST 20: 60 SECOND UPDATE

NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER WHITEHALL PURCHASE MONDAY AFTERNOON

The Natural Resouces Committee of the Beaufort County Council will meet today to consider plans to purchase part of the Whitehall property on Sea Island Parkway at the eastern end of the Woods Memorial Bridge. The meeting will be held in the Executive Conference Room of the County Administration building at 100 Ribaut Road in Beaufort at 2 p.m. today. The meeting is open to the public, and the committee’s agenda may be seen by clicking here.


If you wish to support the idea of a park at Whitehall,
Friends of Whitehall Park has sponsored a petition at
Change.org.  Click here to sign the petition. More than
3,000 signatures have been gathered as of Sunday


Discussions regarding purchase of a portion of Whitehall has been raging for the last month, triggered by the developer’s last-minute decision to sell part of the property. The Open Lands Trust has been negotiating a price for a proposed ten-acre park, with the expectation that funds will come from the County’s Rural & Critical Lands acquisition fund, possibly supplemented by outside dollars from private foundations.

It is not clear what the Natural Resources Committee will actually consider this afternoon, as the Rural & Critical Lands Preservation Board failed at its August 9 meeting to make any recommendation due to lack of a quorum. The Natural Resources Committee will undertake its deliberations in executive session, but a formal vote approving decisions regarding cost, timing etc. must be made in public session. The public vote on the matter will be the first time the public will know what the County Council will be asked to spend on the project, and the sources of acquisition funds. Click here to see the Committee agenda.

County Council is expected to take up the issue, and the recommendation of the Natural Resources Committee, if any, at its August 27 meeting in Hilton Head.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR PENNY SALES TAX REFERENDUM CAMPAIGN

The Sea Island Coalition, together with a number of other civic organizations from Beaufort, Bluffton and Hilton Head, is organizing a campaign to urge passage of a one-cent sales tax increase for road and bridge improvements in Beaufort County. Of the $120 million sought through the sales tax increase, $30 million is earmarked specifically for road and traffic improvements on Lady’s Island.

The tax is time-limited to four years, and all monies must be spent on identified road improvement projects.

The proposal will appear as a referendum question on the Nov. 6 ballot, and the Coalition is seeking volunteers to help in the effort. Volunteers will be involved in communicating the details of the referendum to Beaufort County residents and assisting in a get-out-the-vote initiative nearer the election. Learn more about the sales tax referendum issue here. If you are interested in getting involved, please e-mail the Coalition at volunteer@seaislandcoalition.com

If you are a member of an organization that would like to know more about the penny sales tax referendum and would consider hosting a 20-minute presentation on the subject, please let us know at mail@seaislandcoalition.com  Thank you in advance!

PORT ROYAL TIGHTENING DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS

Port Royal is considering amending its river buffer standards to be more closely aligned with the county and city’s regulations. As the county and its municipalities continue to grow, it is essential that developers are not incentivized to target specific jurisdictions because of weaker environmental standards. The existing Port Royal code contains undersized river buffers and setbacks; its most urban zones contained no setback or river buffer whatsoever. The proposed changes increase the width of the river buffer and setback in the less-developed rural zones and establish a 35-foot setback in the more urban zones. These buffers and setbacks are important because undisturbed vegetation serves as an essential buffer to storm surge. River buffers and setbacks also help ensure that pollutants are captured before they end up in our waterways

Work continues with the town to beef up its weak tree ordinance – expect to hear more on that soon!

IN OTHER DEVELOPMENT NEWS

  • In unusual move, Bluffton mayor and council deny permits for new homes.

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