Wednesday, July 19, 2023 Background

July 2023 South Coast Newsletter: Beaufort County Council Shows Resolve for St. Helena

by Lily Abromeit

On June 26th, the Beaufort County Council voted 8-2 to deny an amendment to remove the over 500-acre Pine Island property from the Cultural Protection Overlay zone on St. Helena Island to facilitate a luxury, gated golf resort. But the battle is not won yet — two lawsuits have been filed in connection with the development denials. 

Pine Island Property Holdings, LLC and Pine Island GC, LLC filed two lawsuits early this month: an administrative appeal of the denial of plans for three (3) 6-hole golf courses on the property as well as a civil complaint challenging the CPO and seeking damages against the county, both filed with the Beaufort County Circuit Court of Appeals. 

The administrative appeal seeks to overturn the Beaufort County Planning Commission’s denial of plans for three 6-hole courses on the property and the civil complaint alleges mistreatment by Beaufort County and questions the validity of the CPO.

Over the past six months, the Conservation League’s South Coast office has worked with St. Helena residents, Gullah/Geechee community leaders, and a coalition of historic preservation and conservation groups to encourage County Council to follow their own law and deny a special exception from the CPO. This exception would have allowed a luxury, gated golf resort to be built on Pine Island. The Council reaffirmed what the CPO has stated plainly since 1999: golf, resorts, and gated communities are not allowed on St. Helena Island.

The Conservation League supports Beaufort County in their decision to uphold longstanding protections in place since 1999, designed by and for the community to safeguard Gullah/Geechee culture and St. Helena’s rural lands, working farms, and rich maritime heritage. We stand prepared to continue to defend the CPO and the Planning Commission and Council’s decisions.

Read the full July 2023 newsletter here.

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