A plan to build a Parker's convenience store in Beaufort has hit another speed bump, as city officials balk at county conditions for road access to the store.
A road to the store, planned at the intersection of Parris Island Gateway and U.S. 21, would cross the future route of the Spanish Moss Trail. The route is owned by the Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority, and Beaufort County controls roads that cross the trail.
At first, the county wanted Parker's to build a tunnel to take the trail under theproposed roadto Parker's. The tunnel would have prevented trail users and vehicles going to and from Parker's from getting in each other's way.
Parker's rejected that idea and on Monday, County Council dropped the tunnel plan but added several restrictions for the developer and city to meet.
City officials aren't pleased.
"I was a little alarmed at seeing this play out, as them directing the city to do something, when that land has been annexed into the city boundaries," City Councilman Mike Sutton said.
The county's conditions include the city accepting ownership of the future road, entering a development agreement with Parker's, providing a traffic analysis and taking responsibility for solving any traffic issues.
The crossing must also meet stringent design standards set by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
City manager Scott Dadson doesn't believe the conditions should be the city's responsibility.
"The developer needs to figure it out ... because you can't take that on as a city," Dadson said.
On Tuesday, City Council said it intends to respond to the county in writing, and it expects the developer to work out the issues before the city will accept ownership of the road.
Mayor Billy Keyserling said the city should reject the county's conditions and instead meet with Parker's to see what it is willing to do. He said the county is asking the city to take on too much of a burden.
"What they're asking us to do is kind of vague," he said. "So I think it's up to us to be more specific about the things we will do."
"(The county) put the onus on you, as the city," Dadson said. "You either accept the liability of these issues or pass on the liability to be cured through an agreement somehow with the owners."
- Beaufort County grants Parker's access, defers Bluffton Parkway intersection vote, March 25, 2013
- Proposed Beaufort gas station plans call for trail tunnel, March 10, 2013