Lolita Huckaby

Lowcountry Lowdown


By Lolita Huckaby

Tropeano introduces himself to County Council


Elvio Tropeano, formerly of Boston and now a resident of St. Helena Island, introduced himself Monday to the Beaufort County Council as the new owner of Pine Island Plantation off Dulamo Road.

Tropeano and his planners have been meeting with county planners and administrators for the past year to develop a gated community plus golf course plan for the 500 rural acres which neighbors, including Gov. Henry McMaster, have rallied to protect.

In his first public appearance, Tropeano started his comments by reminding those present his property “by right” could be developed with 165 residences and 80 docks.

Neither Tropeano, nor his lawyer A. Gibson Solomons of Hampton who introduced himself earlier in the afternoon to the county’s Community Services Committee, mentioned their newest plans, presented last week to the staff review team, which propose dividing the property into three separate land developments, each with an 6-hole golf course.

This newest plan would appear to comply with the current Cultural Protection Overlay District zoning which County Administrator Eric Greenway and staff argued needed to be rewritten to avoid lawsuits.

Tropeano’s public comments included praise for Greenway and the legal staff for their ability to work with developers.

Award-winning author adds voice against book bans

BEAUFORT – The board of education’s ongoing discussion of banned books has brought dozens, maybe hundreds to board meetings who might not normally have darkened the door of one of those meetings.

Concerned students and parents as well as community members, both for and against the bans, have filled the board’s twice monthly meetings since the process began last year.

At last week’s meeting, National Book Award winner Jason Mott was in attendance to express his concern for the book removals.

Mott, who makes appearances at Nevermore Books when he is in the area, said restricting books would never make the complexities of the world go away.

At the meeting, the board voted 7-3-1 not to change the committee review process from 10 books per month to five books which would have slowed review of the 97 questioned books even further.

To date, the board has voted to remove only two books from school library circulation.

The review committee process is expected to continue through the spring and into summer.

CORRECTION on Port Royal vote

PORT ROYAL – The 12-acre tract on Parris Island Gateway recently annexed into the town was NOT done unanimously, as reported in last week’s column.

Councilman Kevin Phillips was the only hold-out for the action, expressing concerns about residents of the 55 mobile homes who will probably be displaced as plans for development on the tract proceed.

Phillips, during last week’s council discussion of the annexation, noted the need for more affordable housing in the county and questioned if the annexation and rezoning were the right thing to do.

The newest property to join the town, which celebrated its 149th official birthday last week, could be developed for commercial use, according to the new zoning. Town stressed no specific plans for the property have been presented but the developers behind the property are known for their apartment projects.

Lolita Huckaby Watson is a community volunteer and newspaper columnist. In her former role as a reporter with The Beaufort Gazette, The Savannah Morning News, Bluffton Today and Beaufort Today, she prided herself in trying to stay neutral and unbiased. As a columnist, these are her opinions. Her goal is to be factual but opinionated, based on her own observations. Feel free to contact her at bftbay@gmail.com

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