News briefs

Suspects arrested in armed robbery

Four teens have been arrested in connection with an assault and armed robbery that occurred Friday, Sept. 27.

Geoni Najee Clark, 16, of Dale was arrested yesterday afternoon and is being charged as an adult with Armed Robbery and 1st degree Assault and Battery by Mob. Clark’s co-defendants, two 15-year-old males and a 14-year-old male, were also arrested and have been transported to the Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia. They will face the same charges as Clark, however, will be tried as juveniles through Family Court.

All four teens were identified as the suspects who attacked a 57-year-old male as he was walking home at Seabrook Mobile Home Park on the night of September 27.

The victim reported that he was walking to his home on Martin Lane when the suspects, one of whom was armed with a handgun, approached him. The suspects demanded money, but when the victim told them he did not have any, they punched him in the face, knocking him to the ground. The suspects continued to punch and kick the victim several times before taking his EBT card and cigarette lighters. The suspects then fled the area.


New Tax Equalization Board to hear appeals

The Beaufort County Tax Equalization Board is set to resume conferences with taxpayers challenging their assessed property values.

In February, conferences with Beaufort County taxpayers were suspended due to administrative staffing changes of the prior board. Since this time, county officials sought to improve the efficiency of the appeal process and solicited new members to serve on the Tax Equalization Board to increase the total number of board members. The new board consists of 15 members from across the county whereas the prior board was made up of 7 members. The new board will also be able to split into multiple conference panels to maximize the number of cases that can be heard in any given month.

“The restructuring of the board is going to significantly expedite the process of conducting these conferences,” said County Attorney Josh Gruber.

The conferences will take place in Beaufort Council Chambers and at the Hilton Head Beaufort Government Center South on October 30 to accommodate taxpayers who live both North and South of the Broad River.


Historic District earns national recognition

Beaufort’s well-preserved and well-protected National Landmark Historic District earned another distinction: The American Planning Association named it one of “10 Great Neighborhoods.”

The planning organization’s Great Places exemplify exceptional character and highlight the role planning and planners play in adding value to communities, including fostering economic growth and jobs, according to APA Chief Executive Officer Paul Farmer, FAICP.

Beaufort’s 304-acre historic district was recognized for its well-preserved architecture, sustainable design, natural features and focus on planning. The neighborhood’s beauty and history engender a strong sense of place — and even stronger sense of community.

“For more than 300 years, Beaufort has maintained a remarkable and renowned ‘hometown’ feeling and character that have always been anchored in the Historic District,” Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling said. “For a lot of those years I think many who live here have taken it for granted. It wasn’t until the 1970s that a small group of determined people took a stand to protect Beaufort’s history.

“Today, their hard work, and the hard work of hundreds of others since then, is paying off. Not only is the Beaufort Historic District a ‘Top 10 Great Neighborhood,’ but it’s also an essential part of what keeps Beaufort living and growing. It’s not a museum, it’s a living neighborhood and functioning community,” he said.

Defining the Beaufort Historic District neighborhood are not only scenic vistas and outstanding architecture, some of which dates to Colonial times, but also important planning principles. These principals include precedents that defined the district upon its inception in 1711, and contemporary practices such as form-based zoning, the APA noted.

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