LOWCOUNTRY LOWDOWN

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By Lolita Huckaby

Planners keep on planning, builders keep on building

LADY’S ISLAND – Beaufort County planners have opened the online comment period for seven road improvements to be funded by the 2018 penny sales tax. A zoom town hall meeting will take place Jan. 27 from 6 until 8 p.m., while comments are open through Feb. 14.

But while the planners plan and citizens comment, development keeps happening.

City planners revealed recently plans for the 55 townhouses on Miller Drive East have been filed by Logan Homes of Hilton Head. The basically wooded tract was annexed by the city last year despite objections from neighbors.

Johnson Development Associates of Spartanburg have plans for 445 residential units on Upper Cane Island, a planned unit development annexed into the city. Original owner of the property, Fred Trask, is also in the process of selling lots for 15 new homes off Island Causeway.

Marketing is under way for the 31 home sites on Whitehall after the city planning commissioners and developers reached an agreement reducing the residential units from 250 townhouses.

This most recent round of public-meetings-via-zoom will focus on road projects to be funded by the penny sales tax, including realignment of the entrance of Beaufort High School and the Lady’s Island Middle School entrance.

They will NOT include any ideas for the traffic improvement at the intersection of Meridian Road, which will be impacted by the development of Whitehall, or the added cars coming off Cat and Cane sslands at the foot of the McTeer Bridge.

Those traffic improvements are still under study.

Hold onto your hats, another election on the horizon

BEAUFORT – While Beaufort city inspectors are still dealing with leftover political signs from the November election, another campaign season is cranking up.

Banners and yard signs from the Presidential election can still be seen throughout town and inspectors have been paying house calls to tell residents that election is over.

Now we have the special March 2 city election to fill the unexpired council seat of Stephen Murray and three men have filed for that race.

Murray, who was elected mayor in November, had two years remaining on his council term.

As of Friday’s deadline, former City Councilman Mike McFee, high school assistant principal Brantley Wilson and realtor Fred White had submitted filing fees to be on the March ballot.

McFee, who has served on the City Council for 12 years, was the third highest vote-getter in November, behind newcomers Neil Lipsitz and Mitch Mitchell, with 92 votes less than Mitchell.

Wilson who is assistant principal at Hilton Head Island Middle School was also on the November ballot and received 706 votes.

White is a realtor with Keller-White Realty and McFee is a realtor with HomeTown Realty.

It probably goes without saying that only city residents can vote in the election.


City Historic Review Board says no

BEAUFORT – The city’s HRB, which has review jurisdiction over construction in the historic district, on a split 2-2 vote last week rejected plans – again– for eight townhouses on Prince Street.

The proposed townhouses are part of the project that includes the old county jail. Renovation of the jail structure into three apartments has not bothered the HRB; it’s the townhouses behind the jail that holding up the Charlotte, N.C., developers.

The townhouse portion was rejected last year by the board because of the presentation lacked certain architectural details.

But this time, the project, which has been opposed by the Historic Beaufort Foundation because of its inconsistencies with the surrounding neighborhood residences, couldn’t draw a majority vote with one member of the 5-member board absent.

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

Above: Ribbon-cutting ceremonies were held this week for apartments at 410/412 Ribaut Road, the latest addition to the city’s “affordable housing inventory.” Built by the Beaufort Housing Authority on property belonging to the city, the eight apartments are designed for young professionals and will rent for $825 per month. Unfortunately, there already is a waiting list. Photo by Lolita Huckaby.