Graves zoning plan up for Beaufort County Planning Commission vote

cconley@islandpacket.comMarch 4, 2013 

Beaufort County's Planning Commission is expected to vote today on whether to allow development on a 113-acre tract along the Okatie River.

The proposed rezoning has been more than a decade in the making. The Graves family, which owns the land between the river and U.S. 278 in greater Bluffton, believes the latest rezoning proposal will succeed where two previous attempts in the past two years have fallen short.

The current proposal seeks greater density for the 65 acres toward the front of the parcel, and mixed commercial and residential uses on 48 acres toward the rear.

Current zoning allows for 57 houses and 5,000 square feet of commercial space on the parcel, according to the county.

Under the proposed change, there could be no more than 700,000 square feet of commercial development on the site, and buildings no larger than 75,000 square feet. There would be no more than 240 housing units allowed on the front portion of land.

The proposed residential and commercial density is less than the maximum amount allowed under the type of zoning the Graves seek.

Robert Graves has said he thinks the self-imposed limits on commercial space and building sizes in the current plan will be enough to secure approval. Past plans have been rejected amid concerns about unsightly big box stores and the impact on the impaired Okatie River.

The planning commission reviewed elements of the proposal at its February meeting. It meets at 6 p.m. today in the County Council Chambers, 100 Ribaut Road, Beaufort.

The commission's recommendation would go before County Council, which has the final say on the zoning change.

Check back tonight with The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette for an update after today's meeting. Follow reporter Casey Conley at

Related content:

Planning Commission agenda Graves family optimistic Okatie land tract rezoning will pass, Jan. 7, 2013 Planning Commission to consider Graves zoning plan Monday, Jan. 5, 2013 Graves family, county inch closer to deal on river land, Dec. 17, 2012 Not buying: Beaufort County rejects Graves' sale offer on Okatie land tract, Sept. 10, 2012

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