Mar
17

Thousand-home Development Planned Near Okatie to be Discussed Today

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Thousand-home development planned near Okatie to be discussed today

By MICHAEL WELLES SHAPIRO
mshapiro@islandpacket.com

March 17, 2008

Beaufort County Council members will weigh in this afternoon on a zoning proposal that allows owners of three Okatie properties to build more than 1,000 homes near Okatie Elementary School.

Okatie Village, a mixed use community along S.C. 170, would include 1,252 homes, a grocery store and other commercial space, a public riverside park, and inter-connected roads and walking paths.

Depending on the outcome of the vote by the council’s Land Management

Committee, the proposal could head to the full council where three separate readings and votes would be necessary to approve the plan.

The developers — Hilton Head Island architect Jim Robinson and Winston-Salem-based La Casa Real Estate Development — and area home owners who oppose the plans have already sparred at several lengthy public meetings this year.

PROS

Proponents of the plan, notably the developers and the county’s planning department, argue the following:

• By adhering to “smart growth” standards, the new community would have less effect on county infrastructure than past development. For instance, residents would be more inclined to walk and bike to their local grocery store and elementary school than get onto already crowded county roads.

• Area residents who have septic tanks beside the Okatie River could connect to the developments’ water and sewer lines, which would help the environment.

• Growth is inevitable in the southern part of the county, so the county should jump at the chance to plan new developments differently.

• The development would add to the affordable housing stock in the county because one of the two developers is working with the county to ensure such homes would be available in the proposed community.

CONS

Opponents, notably property owners on Cherry Point Road and the county’s planning commission, respond:

• Development would spoil the quiet way of life of those living along the Okatie River.

• Southern Beaufort County is already over-developed and needs time to build the infrastructure to support grow from the last decade.

• More residential growth would add to those infrastructure costs for roads, schools, libraries, etc.

BLOG NOTE

The Beaufort County Council committee postponed discussion of the Okatie Village projects at the request of the developers.

MBD

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