The Beaufort County Council seat for District 9, covering Bluffton, Pritchardville and Daufuskie Island, is up for grabs in the primary election on Tuesday.
Last year, Bluffton’s biggest battle was stopping the redevelopment of Hilton Head National from a golf course to what many called a “mini city.” More than 4,000 signatures behind a community petition revealed the small town wanted to stay small.
With its county council seat open, rapid growth is possibly the most important issue to be addressed by the candidates.
“Hilton Head National, the system worked like it was supposed to,” said Candidate Mark Lawson. “The council got together and looked at it, and they were asking for way too much for what that property should have, and especially was going to cripple us with traffic… that’s the kind of thing that needs to keep happening. The council needs to get together, work as a team, to make things happen like they should.”
“Hilton Head National is my neighbor. I live on Foreman Hill Rd. Three and a half years ago it as not a paved an open road,” said Candidate Laura Sterling. “The Community Development Code book…I know it in and out. I can tell you there is not another person on council today sitting there who knows that book like I do because it has affected me–my ability to open businesses, my lifestyle, the nature of my neighborhood…. we’ve got to fix it.”
“The Hilton Head National Project got everybody looking at all of the amounts of development that our ordinances would allow,” said Candidate Mike Raymond. “I worked for two years with the planning commission and professional staff in Bluffton to rewrite all of the ordinances, the zoning ordinances, and we’re gonna have to take a deep dive into our county ordinances and make some amendments there.”
“The way that we’re going to handle it is some type of taxation or impact fees,” said Candidate Randy Boehme. “So that as we tear our forests and trees down, as we touch our great salt marshes, that we replenish them, so that the developers of the land that take the forests down and force the birds out, would put trees back up again.”
For more information on the four candidates, click here.
There are eight polling locations in Bluffton and one on Daufuskie Island, click here to find yours.