News briefs for April 27th-May 3rd

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City releases new draft of codes

The city of Beaufort’s Planning Department has been working on an update to its Unified Development Ordinance, which was adopted in 2003. Now, an updated draft is available for public review.

From 2015 through 2017, the city hosted a number of public meetings to review drafts of the Beaufort Code. Comments heard during that time were incorporated into a draft that was released on Jan. 26. 

During the months of March and April, the Metropolitan Planning Commission met eight times in two- to three-hour work sessions to review the outstanding public comments on the Jan. 26 draft of the code. 

The Metropolitan Planning Commission has reviewed and discussed the more than 250 comments and proposed a specific recommendation for each. Their recommended changes have been incorporated into an updated version of the Beaufort Code dated April 24. 

An updated Regulating Plan accompanies the draft, both of which can be found at www.cityofbeaufort.org.

The Beaufort City Council began its review on April 25. It will meet in a special work session at 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 2, to work on the proposal.

Report: Local military impact reaches $2.2B

The South Carolina Military Base Task Force recently released an updated study, which reflects that the Beaufort region’s military presence boasts an annual economic impact of approximately $2.2 billion that is supported by 19,240 jobs and $993.8 million in generated labor income. 

The 2017 study was prepared by Dr. Joey Von Nessen of the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. 

The Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort accounts for $787 million in economic activity annually. The Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island accounts for $739.8 million in economic activity annually. The Naval Hospital Beaufort accounts for $217.4 million in economic activity annually. 

The South Carolina military community collectively creates an economic impact to the state of $24.1 billion. 

The Palmetto State is home to eight major military installations and numerous facilities, supporting 62,520 in Department of Defense (DoD) personnel with $2.6 billion in payroll. Additionally, $2.1 billion in DoD contracts are currently being executed among 752 firms within the state.

The 2017 study reports that the military community represents 8.4 percent of the South Carolina economy, composed of 181,847 jobs, or one of every 12 jobs in the state. The average compensation for jobs supported by the military community is $54,701 per year, 37 percent higher than the average job. 

“The significance of the military in Beaufort and Port Royal cannot be overstated,” said Blakely Williams, president & CEO of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce. “We are forever grateful for the service and economic engine of military men and women at our local bases and for both the Navy and Marine Corps’ continued engagement in our community.” 

“As the study indicates, our local installations are vital to not only our national defense but our state and local economies as well,” said Jim Wegmann, Military Enhancement Committee chairman. “The Military Enhancement Committee remains vigilant in their defense of our three military installations and dedicated to improving the quality and value of Beaufort’s installations.”

The full text of the 2017 report is available on the South Carolina Military Base Task Force website at www.scmilitarybases.com.

For more information, visit www.beaufortchamber.org or call 843-525-8500. 

Lady’s Island preservation meeting set for May 1

The Lady’s Island Community Preservation Committee will meet at 10 a.m. Monday, May 1, at the Lady’s Island Airport Conference Room, to review a proposed project which has been referred to it by the Beaufort County Planning Department. 

The nature of the project is a request to build an assisted living facility on the 9.5 undeveloped acres (presently advertised as being for sale) located on the right side of Lady’s Island Drive near the Meridian Road intersection. The meeting is open to the public.

In-person absentee voting is underway

In-person absentee voting for the town of Port Royal Special Election started April 24.

Absentee voting is taking place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Beaufort elections office at 15 John Galt Road in Beaufort. 

The last day of in-person absentee voting for the special election will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, May 15.

A sample ballot can be found at www.bcgov.net/vote.

The following precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for voting on Tuesday, May 16: Burton 1A (part) at Burton Wells Recreation Center at 1 Middleton Recreation Drive; Burton 2A (part) at Community Bible Church at 638 Parris Island Gateway; Burton 2B (part) at Love House Ministries at 423 Parris Island Gateway; and Port Royal 1 and 1 at Port Royal Town Hall at 700 Paris Ave.

Only voters residing within the town of Port Royal town limits may vote in the special election.

The filing period closed on March 20 for the Tuesday, May 16, election to fill the seat left by the passing of Port Royal Town Councilman Vernon DeLoach, who died on Feb. 20.

The four citizens who filed to run in the election are Patty Crower, Bob Ellis, Marjorie Lamb and Darryl Owens.

Meanwhile, the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce will host a Candidates Forum for the open Port Royal Town Council seat at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 2, at Port Royal Elementary School. 

Free legal clinics are being offered

The SC Bar Pro Bono Program will sponsor three free legal clinics in Beaufort County in May. 

• Friday, May 5: Family law issues, including divorce, custody, visitation and support, presented by Eric J. Erickson. The clinic will be held from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the St. Helena Senior Center at 44 Penn Center Road.

• Tuesday, May 9: Consumer law issues, including loans and credit cards, presented by Jannine M. Mutterer. The clinic will be held from 6-7 p.m. at the Hilton Head Island Branch Library at 11 Beach City Road, Hilton Head.

• Friday, May 26: Consumer law issues, including loans and credit cards, presented by Philip L. Fairbanks. The clinic will be held from 1-2:30 p.m. at the Burton Wells Senior Center at 1 Middleton Recreation Drive. 

These seminars are free for anyone who would like to attend. The format typically consists of an overview followed by a question-and-answer session. 

SC to open new welcome center

South Carolina is opening a new welcome center at I-95 northbound in Hardeeville.

Duane Parrish, director of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism, will join local leaders and industry officials for the grand opening of the new South Carolina welcome center at 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 2.

The center is located at 4968 Jasper Highway at the Georgia border.