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 No, for now, to Dunkin Donuts on Lady’s Island 

 LADY’S ISLAND – If you had the perseverance last Thursday night to watch more than three hours of development code debate between attorneys, you would know Graham Trask didn’t get permission to build a new building at 131 Sea Island Parkway. 

The Beaufort County Zoning Board of Appeals spent that much time considering the building plans which include a drive-through window and is rumored to be the future home of a Dunkin’ Donut franchise. 

It was tedious, yes, but the few that showed up for the meeting – including Chuck Newton of the Sea Island Coastal Coalition and two Lady’s Island residents – spoke against the project which would require at least three different variances from the county development codes. 

Trask, who has made his name in the past year with a running battle against Dick Stewart and 303 Associates’ plans for a downtown hotel and parking garage, told the county panel he found it “interesting” to appear before the appeals panel. 

“Usually I’m the one who’s working to make the county and city follow the rules,” he said. 

Newton said the special exception request for a drive-through business is most troublesome since the county is in the process of planning major traffic improvements in the area. 

After going around and around with legal talk, the board decided to hold off giving him his requested variance for a special use on the property and sent him back to the staff review team for some sort of technical clarification. 

Critics of the proposal noted residents attended numerous planning sessions to control development and concern about the traffic in the area was paramount. 

“Please listen,” said one island resident who spoke. “I’ve supported the county on every special tax referendum you’ve presented. It’s time for you to support us who live on Lady’s Island. Traffic is becoming a nightmare.”

She suggested the board members travel to Chick-Fil-A or the Dunkin’ Donuts in the early morning hours to see the impact on Boundary Street traffic.

“It’s the wrong project at the wrong place, … it’s 10 pounds of sugar in a 5-pound bag,” said Newton.

Even County Administrator Eric Greenway weighed in after three hours and said the project didn’t comply with the proposed intend of future development in the rapidly commercializing area.

“You’re compounding bad development with bad development. And you have the opportunity to start a change tonight,” he said.

Teenager charged in September’s fatal Sams Point Road accident

LADY’S ISLAND – Christopher “Trenton” Few, 18 was charged last week with two counts of reckless homicide which resulted in two fatalities on Sams Point Road on September 4.

Few, who lived in Beaufort but was living in Lancaster at the time of the accident, was identified as the driver of a Nissan which struck a sedan pulling from Attaway subdivision.

Killed in the accident was Rachell Poovey Navratil, 84, who was a passenger in the sedan driven by her husband, and Randon Broach Jr. of Lancaster, who was a passenger in Few’s vehicle.

According to S.C. Highway Patrolman Nick Pye, the case is still under investigation. Few could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine between $1,000 and $5,000.

Dominion Energy vs. the trees

JAMES ISLAND – Interesting news from this island municipality to our north in Charleston County – their town council has filed a lawsuit against Dominion Energy for its tree-cutting policies.

As in Beaufort earlier this year, citizens expressed dismay at the tree cutting, particularly the multitude of palmetto trees, the state’s official tree that were removed. But James Island council took action and voted to file a lawsuit against the utility, after warning the company they considered the tree-cutting procedures extreme.

The Charleston Post and Courier reported the town is seeking restitution for monitoring the tree-trimming and costs for repairing damaged trees. The town manager was quoted as saying she “would be surprised if the costs didn’t exceed $100,000.”

Eighty of Beaufort area’s palmettos were targeted for removal earlier this year, compared to 150 palmettos from the Charleston peninsula.

In Bluffton, 29 palmettos that had been planted 90 years ago to honor World War II veterans were cut.

Let’s see how that lawsuit does.

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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