While leaders of a group pushing for the construction of a dog park in Bluffton say the project is moving in the right direction, some residents who live near the proposed site are gearing up for a fight.
The facility, which has been in the planning stages for nearly a decade, would be built at Oscar Frazier Park.
But some neighbors in nearby Bluffton Park say that is the wrong location for such a project.
Pat Hancock, who lives in one neighborhood home and rents out two others, said Monday that a dog park could exacerbate traffic and parking issues around Oscar Frazier Park.
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"We already have so much congestion in that area whenever we have an event at the park," she said. "A new dog park would only make it worse."
Frank Knapp, who owns an Eighth Avenue property directly adjacent to the park, agreed.
"We're not opposed to dog parks; it's just a terrible location for it," he said.
Oscar Frazier Park "sits in the heart of a major neighborhood and parking around here can already be an issue at times," he said.
Hancock, a local real estate agent, said the potential for increased noise from barking pets could hurt neighborhood property values.
"Those of us in the real estate business know that if you are showing a property and there is a barking dog, it is very unlikely someone will buy or rent it," she said.
If not properly maintained, dog waste from the park has the potential to mix with storm runoff and contaminate the May River, Hancock added.
Knapp said a poll was mailed last year to Bluffton Park residents asking whether they support building a dog park at Oscar Frazier Park. Of the 104 residents who responded, 78 percent opposed the idea, he said.
The concerns from Bluffton Park property owners such as Knapp and Hancock echo those from residents of The Farm, a neighborhood near where the dog park was previously set to be built.
That proposed location -- inside Buckwalter Regional Park -- was scrapped early last year.
Despite planning setbacks and a 2013 embezzlement scandal that nearly derailed the project, local nonprofit group Friends of Bluffton Dog Parks has raised more than $50,000 toward the construction of the park.
Friends board president Deborah Karambelas said Monday she is aware of Bluffton Park resident concerns from past meetings with neighbors.
But many of those issues relating to noise, traffic and pollution are "town-related questions, not questions our organization can address," she said.
And despite the potential for pushback from neighbors, she is confident about the project.
"We are going to have a dog park."
The Friends board has submitted a draft resolution to the town that would spell out each party's responsibility for funding, building and maintaining the proposed park.
Town officials confirmed earlier this week that they have received the agreement.
Karambelas declined to provide specifics about the deal because members Bluffton Town Council have yet to review it.
Town officials have also remained mum about the details of the draft agreement.
Deputy town manager Scott Marshall said the council will likely consider the board's proposal in an upcoming strategic planning session.
"We do not anticipate there will be any additional information to share until that time," he said.
Karambelas said Bluffton Park neighbors will have more opportunities to have their concerns heard when the agreement makes its way through the council's approval process.
In the meantime, Karambelas said the Friends board will continue to advocate and raise money for the park. There is bowling fundraiser scheduled for next month and a concert planned for later in the spring, she said.
"There is nobody who wants this finished more than myself," she said. "But it is a long process. I would rather move forward slowly in the right way than rush into things the wrong way."
Follow reporter Lucas High on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Lucas.