After months of lobbying, residents of The Cypress of Hilton Head might finally see Wave Runner rentals at a nearby dock shut down.
The Town of Hilton Head Island's Planning & Development Standards Committee voted 3-0 Wednesday to deny recommending a zoning request allowing Wave Runner tours and other watercraft activities off Salty Fare Landing. The landing is adjacent to The Cypress, a community in Hilton Head Plantation.
Sally Fare Landing owner Kittredge Collins had asked the town to allow his waterfront property to offer the rentals full time.
But residents who attended Wednesday's meeting said noise from the Jet Skis disturbed the calm and quiet of their waterfront neighborhood. They also feared that rezoning Salty Fare could devalue their property.
"I'm afraid rezoning will open the door to unlimited development," resident Barbara Smith said.
Collins said the small size of his dock would limit the kind of development that concerned residents.
"This is just a case of a private community using its political power to deny someone else's private property," Collins said.
Collins leases the dock on his nearly 10-acre Salty Fare property for $500 a month to Michael Moy's watersports company, On the Water Hilton Head, he said.
In February, Moy began renting six Wave Runners from the dock after securing a license from the town.
But when another vendor sought a license for a parasailing operation at Salty Fare, town officials realized they had granted Moy his license in error. The property needed to be rezoned, town staff said.
In June, the town's Planning Commission voted unanimously to postpone a decision on Collins' rezoning request.
Soon after, Moy invited Cypress residents to a demonstration of the Wave Runners. He believed he assuaged their fears.
"We're by the dock for ten minutes," he said in an interview before Wednesday's meeting. "Five minutes to go out, five minutes to come back." He said the noise was minimal.
On August 7, the commission voted 6-1 to recommend the dock rezoning.
But Curtis Coltrane, an attorney for The Cypress Homeowners' Association, told the committee Wednesday that since Moy shouldn't have been granted a license in the first place, the rezoning request is moot.
"What we'd be doing is turning an illegal use into a legal one," Coltrane said.
The rezoning request now heads to the Town Council on September 17.
If it's denied, Moy could lose his business license.
"I might go from having a business to not having a business overnight," he said.
Follow reporter Dan Burley on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Dan.