Beaufort County Council delays Bluffton Parkway alignment vote

cconley@islandpacket.comApril 22, 2013 

Beaufort County Council Chairman Paul Sommerville recognizes county recycling coordinator Carol Murphy for the county's in-house recycling efforts, which raise about $10,000 a year toward the general fund. Councilman Tabor Vaux, center, looks on.

CASEY CONLEY — Staff photo Buy Photo

  • IN OTHER ACTION:

    • County Council gave the second of three required readings on 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone's request for $152,800 in additional funding through the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. Stone wants to hire new prosecutors and fill holes left by grants that recently expired. A final vote is expected next month.

    • County Council awarded a $271,600 contract to Andrews & Burgess for design work associated with a 2.1-mile section of the Spanish Moss Rail Trail that will extend the existing one-mile segment toward Parris Island Gateway from its current terminus at Depot Road. The money will come from county accommodations-tax funds.

    • County Council recommended using eminent domain to acquire 4.2 acres within the Grande Oaks development in greater Bluffton. The county wants the land to build a new road between Old Miller Road and Lake Point Drive, which currently dead-end within the development. Attempts to buy the land have not been successful so far.

Beaufort County Council has delayed a final vote on the proposed Bluffton Parkway realignment favored by the town of Bluffton.

Council Chairman Paul Sommerville asked that the item be removed from the agenda until final issues surrounding the revised route are resolved. The move follows last week's conditional endorsement of the realignment by a County Council subcommittee.

"We sent them a letter saying, 'Here are the issues' ... and we are waiting for a response," he said, noting that the Bluffton Town Council likely hasn't formally met since the April 15 subcommittee meeting.

"It's just that, this is a one-vote item, so we don't want to vote on it until we are satisfied that the concerns we have have been resolved," said Sommerville.

It's not clear when the proposal will come before council again, although Sommerville expected it would be soon.

The two local governments are trying to decide where a realigned Bluffton Parkway should meet with Buckwalter Parkway in Bluffton. County Council has already approved one version of the intersection, but Bluffton officials and landowner John Reed want the connection moved about 350 feet north to preserve development space. They argue the revised plan also would cost less.

The intersection is a relatively minor part of the estimated $20 million to $25 million parkway project, which calls for a straight 2.5-mile road to be built from Buck Island Road to Buckwalter Parkway, north of Pinecrest -- eliminating the so-called "dogleg" section of the Bluffton Parkway.

Although voters approved the project as part of the 2006 penny transportation sales tax, the county has no money to build it. It's not clear if or when funding will materialize.

Follow reporter Casey Conley at twitter.com/IPBG_Casey.

Related content:

Beaufort County mulls use of eminent domain for road connection, March 18, 2013

Intersection issue with Bluffton Parkway realignment up for debate, March 24, 2013

Revised Bluffton Parkway plan draws opposition, Feb. 21, 2013

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