LOWCOUNTRY LOWDOWN

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By LOLITA HUCKABY

It’s alive! Whitehall decision heads to court

BEAUFORT – While there was much rejoicing last month when the Whitehall development plan was rejected by the Beaufort-Port Royal Municipal Planning Commission, that may be a little premature.

Developers of Whitehall have filed an appeal of that decision which resulted in the denial of plans by a 4-2 vote. The majority felt like the developer had not presented a traffic plan to mitigate the increase in traffic expected to be created by the residential and commercial project.

MPC members who voted against the motion to deny development plans for the 10-acre parcel warned it would be appealed.

Is anyone surprised?

Where the action is

BEAUFORT – Absentee voting officially began Monday, Oct. 5 and county elections officials have been waving folks through the doors since then.

As of Friday, the first full week of absentee voting in person at one of three county elections offices, 5,897 ballots had been cast. Another 7,283 absentee ballots have already been received in the mail. These ballots do not get opened or counted until Election Day.

Election officers weren’t sure how many to expect but the lines have been consistent and orderly, according to reports. Observers have reported the lines “seem” not as long in the early afternoon, but it’s going to vary day-by-day, location-by-location.

Office hours are 9 a.m. to 4 pm., Monday through Friday and on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Registered voters can go to one of three locations in the county – the Voter Registration and Election office on John Galt Road; in Bluffton at the county satellite office, 61B Ulmer Road; or on Hilton Head Island at the satellite office, 539 William Hilton Parkway.

The last day for in-person absentee voting is Monday, Nov. 2 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Slow down, doggone it!

BEAUFORT – The Beaufort Police Department issued a welcome warning last week … they’re going to do their job even better.

In a Facebook post, the department announced, after receiving increased citizens’ complaints, they’re going to crack down on speeders and vehicles modified with things like those stupid purple lights under the chassis.

The post – available at BEAUFORT POLICE DEPARTMENT – goes on to say first-time violators would be given a warning, second – time, a citation for repeated violation. The post also includes segments of state law that define how vehicles – including those big trucks – can be modified.

The way some drivers are racing around the neighborhoods, over the bridges, you’d think the community is made up for frustrated NASCAR stars. The problem of speeding has particularly manifested itself in the downtown area where drivers headed to the islands are looking for short-cuts around Woods Bridge traffic. Face it, folks. There’s only two ways to get to those islands unless you’ve got a boat or are flying.

A check of the BPD Facebook posts gives an interesting reflection on the community thought-process, realizing that many DON’T express their opinions there. But as of Oct. 6, when the post went up, more than 214 comments have been made … and they’re about what you would expect.

Several commented about motorcycle noise, which the County Council was initially trying to address when they recently stiffened the county noise ordinance. But at the last reading, responding to motorcycle-riding voters, they removed motorcycles from that ordinance.

Let’s just hope drivers have their eyes on the road, not reading a FB post, and will slow down.

Paving paradise

BEAUFORT – This week’s prominent tree removal focuses on Robert Smalls Parkway, where wooded acreage has been cleared to make way for the area’s first Harbor Freight store.

The total 12.6 acres owned by Graham Trask has a name – Simba Farms – and there are plans to include a connector road from the Parkway to Burton Hill Road with Harbor Freight, the first project.

It’s located near Golden Corral so after shopping for tools, customers can wander over to the buffet without being hindered by woodlands.

Lolita Huckaby Watson is a community volunteer and a former reporter/editorial assistant/columnist with The Beaufort Gazette, The Savannah Morning News, Bluffton Today and Beaufort Today. She can be reached at bftbay@gmail.com.