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LOWCOUNTRY LOWDOWN

5 mins read

Pair of significant issues on ballot for Nov. 2 

BEAUFORT – There’s a lot going on here in the Lowcountry as fall graces us with some tolerable weather and fall festivals are flourishing. 

But DON’T FORGET: there’s a county-wide vote Nov. 2 on two issues – a local option sales tax and a slight restructuring of county government structure, specifically, the treasurer and auditor’s office. 

Just to beat the drum a little longer, a few information bites about the L.O.S.T. which would be added to the six percent sales tax: 

The S.C. Department of Revenue projects the one percent local sales tax will raise approximately $49 million for the county. 

If passed by the voters, the local sales tax collection will begin May 1 and continue until voters decide to repeal it. 

71 percent of the money to be collected would return to residents in property tax credits. 

The question was on the ballot in 1990 and 1991 but was rejected by voters. 

In 2006, voters did support a one percent transportation sales tax with a six-year time limit. 

And if you want to know what the sales tax could mean to you, financially, the county provides a detailed explanation of the sales tax proposal and what it will mean to the individual property owner: https://www. beaufortcountysc.gov/topics/local-option-sales-tax/ index.html. 

There’s also that question about restructuring the county management team, in terms of making the treasurer and auditor – both currently elected positions – hires of the county administrator. 

And yes, early voting is allowed if you plan to be away from home on that date. 

DRB doesn’t give developers what they want 

BEAUFORT – It’s the city’s Historic Review Board which usually catches the public’s ire but more recently, the Design Review Board made the news by sidelining not only one but two projects deemed not suitable as proposed. 

The DRB put the skids last week on plans for WaterCrest apartments, a 504-unit development behind the Walmart Supercenter on S.C. 170. 

The members present felt the design for 21 three-story buildings was just too massive, especially for a wooded area that’s reportedly a popular camping place for homeless people. 

Representatives of Logan Homes, developers of the property, said the proposed rents would run around $1,500 to $2,000. 

City staff, as no surprise, told the board it met city code and recommended approval with 12 conditions. 

Although the 38-acre tract owned by the John Gray family is adjacent to Walmart and other amenities located in the Cross Creek Shopping Center such as a nail salon, Pet Smart and the new Big Lots, DRB members were concerned about walkability since the property is bordered by the thoroughfares of Parris Island Gateway and Broad River Boulevard. 

Also unusual was the fact that the project drew two letters of opposition prior to the board review, one from the Coastal Conservation League and the other from the city’s former planning director. 

AND, also unusual, Mayor Stephen Murray came to the meeting and said he didn’t think the project complied with the city code. 

While the DRB chairman proposed a flat-out rejection of the conceptual design, his two colleagues actually only deferred action on the application. 

The board also turned down a request for final approval from developers of a storage facility on the corner of Boundary Street and Parris Island Gateway. The Savannah-based development company was given, instead, preliminary approval with conditions to tweak their design. 

The board did give final approval to Enmarket, a new convenience store at 1200 Ribaut Road, on the corner of First Boulevard where a closed Shell station stands. 

P.S. If you’re a resident of Beaufort and interested in helping craft the future look of the city, you, too can be part of the DRB action. The city’s looking for two more volunteers to serve on the board. 

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

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