Hilton Head Island

Town OKs Sea Pines beach club plans; appeal looming

Resident says plans don't allow for sufficient parking for beachgoers

bheffernan@islandpacket.comJune 14, 2013 

An artist’s rendering of the Sea PInes Beach Club as viewed from North Sea Pines Drive on Hilton Head Island. SUBMITTED RENDERING

A group of Sea Pines residents has vowed to fight plans for a new $10 million beach club, which were approved by a Town of Hilton Head Island design board this week.

The plans include a two-story building to replace the Sea Pines Beach Club but not enough parking spaces to accommodate those going to the beach, some residents say.

Karl Engelman said he and some of his neighbors are ready to appeal to the town's Board of Zoning Appeals if Sea Pines Resort doesn't agree to provide more than the 158 parking spaces planned at the club, which is 20 fewer than at the existing beach club off North Sea Pines Drive.

And if they lose the appeal, Engelman said he'll sue.

The plans won unanimous approval Tuesday from the town's Design Review Board, which reviews design aesthetics. However, final approval from town staff would not come until later this month, according to town director of community development Charles Cousins.

Town staff is still reviewing the development plan for the project and might apply the parking requirements of an "active park," which would allow the resort to submit for review the number of spaces it believes the club needs, Cousins said.

Engelman said the club should instead be treated like a restaurant or bar, which face more stringent rules about the amount of parking they provide.

The 15,000-square-foot club would include two dining areas, a private event space, retail and office space, showers, bathrooms, and changing rooms.

"They are trying to push a quarter into a dime-sized space ... because it's all about profit," Engelman said.

Resort officials say they recognize that parking is a problem at the beach club, especially in the summer.

It proposes to triple the number of bicycle parking spots at the beach club, create overflow parking at the nearby Plantation Golf Club, offer a van to shuttle guests from the Inn at Harbour Town, and provide off-site employee parking, according to Sea Pines Resort president Steve Birdwell.

Construction could begin this fall, according to town officials.

Follow reporter Brian Heffernan at twitter.com/IPBG_Brian.

Related content:

Hilton Head design board approves Sea Pines Beach Club plans, April 23, 2013

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