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Like the weather, local political races getting warmer

BEAUFORT – Summer’s dragging on, and the virus is still with us, but we have local politics to distract our attentions.

City Councilman Mike McFee has announced he will be running for a fourth time for his council seat. There was speculation that McFee might run for the mayor’s post but the local real estate broker has opted to run for City Council.

He will face retired Bay Street businessman Neil Lipsitz, Mitch Mitchell, who organized the March for Justice event last month, and musician Scott Gibbs for one of the two council seats on the November ballot. Incumbent Nan Sutton has not yet announced whether she will seek re-election.

The deadline for filing is noon Aug. 14.

The mayoral race, since Billy Keyserling is not running again, stands with current Councilman Stephen Murray set to face former Councilman Mike Sutton.

It appeared there might be a contested race for the County Council District 3 seat now held by York Glover. But a petition candidate seeking to challenge Glover did not have enough signatures for his petition by the July 20 deadline to get on the November ballot.

Glover’s District 3 includes much of St. Helena, parts of Lady’s Island and even a bit of downtown Beaufort.

School board candidates have until Aug. 17 to file. The only seat in northern Beaufort County up for election is District 1, now held by Earl Campbell who has filed for re-election. He has opposition from Jevona Armstrong.

Touring golf carts closer to reality

BEAUFORT – City Council members unanimously approved the ordinance change last week to allow multi-passenger electric golf carts to the local touring option.

At least two business owners, one of which operates a tour van company, approached the city about changing the touring ordinance. The Council plans to have a special meeting Aug. 4 to give final approval to the ordinance change, giving the green flag to start those engines.

The multi-passenger cart tour operators would have to adhere to basically the same rules as the van and bus operations, including participation in a rotation system that limits the number of tour vehicles on the roads at one time.

Whitehall, Salem Road developments reviewed

BEAUFORT – If we build it, they will come.

The Pulte Group, Atlanta-based home builders, last week outlined their plans for another 350-home subdivision on 94 wooded acres on Salem Road.

The Metropolitan Planning Commission gave their blessing to the development after some discussion of traffic impact on the two-lane road that services Battery Point subdivision and its neighbors.

The new subdivision, which has some waterfront property along Battery Creek, will include two new entrances onto Salem Road.

On the other side of town, Whitehall developers were sent back to the drawing board, or rather, the streets, to come back with another traffic plan to satisfy the MPC.

The citizens group took another look at the latest plans for the property at the foot of the Woods Bridge on Lady’s Island and didn’t care for what they saw.

The initial motion was to deny the request to subdivide the 10 acres to be developed (minus the acres purchased by the county for a park). But after considering denial would send the developers to court for an appeal, the Commissioners opted to ask for another traffic plan, one which wouldn’t impact the already busy Sea Island Parkway.

Lolita Huckaby Watson is a community volunteer, I-95 and U.S. 17 voyager and works for an online news service covering local government. She is 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.

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