Personal-watercraft tours likely docked for good at Salty Fare Landing

dburley@islandpacket.comJune 24, 2014 

After losing a fight to run personal-watercraft tours at Salty Fare Landing on Hilton Head Island, the dock's owner is moving forward with plans to sell the property to a company that intends to build a retirement community.

Kittredge Collins of San Francisco said Tuesday he has tentatively agreed to sell the 10 acres off Skull Creek to Bayshore Retirement Living of Tampa, Fla. The deal is contingent on the Tampa developer getting the proper zoning from the town, Collins said.

"The island has hung its hat on retirees, so I think this is a good project that fits a need," he said.

No date has been set to complete the deal. Collins declined to disclose financial details.

Attempts to reach representatives from Bayshore were unsuccessful.

Collins decided to sell the property during a yearlong battle with the town and some residents over a watersports company that operated from his dock, he said.

Some homeowners at The Cypress, a retirement community adjacent to the landing, lobbied for months to shut down the company, which offered personal-watercraft tours at Salty Fare. The residents said the noise from the fleet of Sea-Doos disturbed the calm of their waterfront neighborhood.

The town had a different complaint. Staff members said the business license for the company, On the Water Hilton Head, was issued in error because personal watercraft were not a permitted use at the dock. It let the license lapse Dec. 31.

The town Board of Zoning Appeals denied Collins' appeal Monday."Historically, (Salty Fare) was used as a point of embarkation" to Daufuskie Island, board vice chairman Glenn Stanford said Tuesday. "It really turned on what (embarkation) meant. The board found the appellant's intended use on its business license did not fit with the permitted use of embarkation."

Collins said it's unlikely he will appeal in circuit court.

He said he went to the board of appeals because he wanted to have another option if the deal to sell Salty Fare to the retirement-community developers fell through.

On the Water's owner, Michael Moy, has already sold the fleet of seven Sea-Doos, he said.

"We would have liked to have got a fairer shake from the town," Collins said. "I'm not one for sour grapes, but in this case, the town has really thrown a wrench into people's ability to enjoy Skull Creek from the dock. It's unfortunate."

Follow reporter Dan Burley at twitter.com/IPBG_Dan.

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