With June 12\’s statewide main looming, candidates for Beaufort County\’s a lot of fiercely contested council seat took stances on a host of hot-button concerns at a recent forum.They\’re competing for an opportunity to replace Tabor Vaux, Jr.( R), who announced previously this year he would not look for reelection for the District 9 seat representing Bluffton, Pritchardville and Daufuskie Island.For the Republicans, the pressure is on as the primary is just a couple of weeks away; McGinnis will get to kick back and see it unfold ahead of November\’s general election.But the stakes are high for all prospects, who were asked to take positions on, among other things, development, growth, local referendums– and Hilton Head National Golf Course.
Hilton Head National was, in fact, the first issue candidates needed to take on, as online forum mediator and chamber executive director Shellie West asked them if they agreed with county council\’s choice to deny the course\’s request to change its zoning. (The denial avoided course owners Scratch Golf LLC from turning Hilton Head National into hundreds of apartments and houses, and countless square feet of business space– but council\’s decision led to a lawsuit
the county\’s still combating.)The concern functioned as a primer for the rest of the forum, much of which concerned the balance of development, property rights and responsible growth.
\”I believe the county kind of backed themselves into a corner and didn\’t have a whole lot of choices at the point they needed to make their choice,\” stated Raymond, selected as the first respondent to the concern. The county\’s Neighborhood Advancement Code (CDC)– the file assisting development and building in the area, embraced in 2014– requires revamping to avoid future court fights, he said.Sterling, who typically
brings a print-out of the hundreds-pages-long CDC to project events, also blamed the file for the lawsuit. \”(County council)
should have said\’No \’to the zoning change, basically due to the fact that of exactly what that … would have permitted, and since all the strategies were conceptual (and not set in stone),\”Sterling stated. She later on called the CDC\”the greatest POA/HOA I didn\’t register for.\”While Lawson said the CDC wasn\’t ideal, he likewise stated the\”system really worked the correct way, \”as it forced a back-and-forth in between Scratch Golf and the county, and permitted council to make a choice after hearing public input.\” The system that out there today is exactly what we have,\”Lawson said,\”and exactly what we need to deal with.\” Boehme stated council \”stepped up and did the ideal thing, unconditionally \”thinking about issues about home and population density on the property.McGinnis said that while he would have liked to, in his heart, state \’No \’to Hilton Head National, he would have voted to permit the request presuming it was in line with code.All prospects voiced support the upcoming\” cent tax\” referendum that would increase sales tax from 6 to seven percent and fund infrastructure improvements– including those to Hilton Head Island\’s deteriorating bridges– in the county.All highlighted environmental concerns connected to continued growth and development.At the end of the forum, prospects pitched their platforms and backgrounds.McGinnis highlighted his Air Force and Air National Guard service and his\”Christian service, \”including that he and his other half had embraced 2 kids in addition to their biological children.Boehme, a relative beginner to the area, promoted his company background in healthcare sales and work with regional environmental initiatives.Lawson, a long time Bluffton local and business owner, promoted for maintaining\”lifestyle\” in the location by \”defending\”it
from\”bad development.\”Sterling, an accounting professional, touted her tax and organisation experience and said she– a Fairfax native and the only bona fide Lowcountry local– had the ability to work with neighboring counties and municipalities. And Raymond, chairman of the Bluffton Municipality Fire District board and a former Bluffton Town Council member, mentioned his working relationships with present county council members and previous experience modifying development codes.