BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) — You have a chance to weigh in on Beaufort County’s latest purchase, and latest plan to help deal with the workforce housing shortage.
“We are way behind. Housing in Beaufort County whether its market-rate housing or affordable housing there is no inventory there in any way shape or form,” explained Eric Greenway, Beaufort County Administrator.
The County is buying land next to the Technical College of the Lowcountry with the plan to make it into workforce housing.
TCL owns five parcels consisting approximately of 2.1 acres directly next to its campus. The County is purchasing the properties for the purpose of creating workforce housing and affordable housing. Total cost, is $1,215,000 plus closing costs for all five properties.
“With the properties being so close to TCL and to Beaufort Memorial Hospital, we think there’s some opportunity there for us to do some professional-type housing,” said Greenway.
The county has no solid plan for the 5 acres, spread across three residential properties near Ribaut Road.
Whether it will be townhomes, condos or other affordable homes, it wants the community to get involved.
A community that Greenway says needs to understand why this type of development is so necessary.
“It’s typically workers 60-80 of the median income of the area,” said Greenway. “They are teaching our children they are preparing our food in restaurants, they are serving our food in restaurants. They are giving us medication at the hospital, they are driving the ambulance to take us to the hospital. They are providing protection from a police standpoint. So they are providing a valuable service to the community.”
Funding for the project came from the General Fund and was approved on April 18, by Beaufort County Council.
This is one of two projects on the horizon, including a county-owned building on King street which has already taken bids to develop and house police officers, EMS workers and teachers.
Since the county will own both these tracts of land, it can decide how each is developed and at what price points.
“Everyone (local municipalities and towns) are trying to do their part with affordable housing separately,” explains Greenway. “We saw the TCL property as a chance for us to play a role here.”
A special meeting has been set up for public comment Thursday night at 6 p.m. at the Beaufort County Council Chambers on Ribaut road.
“The meeting is to explain our intent to provide workforce housing options, explain the unique nature of buying property from public entities such as TCL and the State of South Carolina, and finally, to get feedback from the community,” said Greenway. “However, we do not have any solidified plans for the property. We are in the conceptual part of the process.”