The town of Bluffton is considering annexing 18 acres between May River Road and a cove on the nearby river, so the land's owner can build homes for his children.
The 18.79 acres on J.C.'s Cove are within the Beaufort County May River Community Preservation zone, which limits owner Jim Saba to two homes on a 13-acre parcel he hopes to divide into four lots, according to town principal planner Kendra Lelie.
Lelie presented the annexation plan to Bluffton Town Council, which unanimously approved it on first reading Aug. 12. The proposal moves next to a Planning Commission workshop.
Saba, who was not at the Aug. 12 meeting, filed the annexation petition in May to create a planned unit development that would allow him to build the homes. Saba has twice made a similar request to the county, in July 2010 and March 2012, but county rules prohibit dividing the land into more than two lots, according to the report submitted to Town Council.
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Saba said Monday he wanted to change the land's zoning category to build homes on his property for his grown children, a plan he has had in place since he bought the property about 10 years ago. He also offered to extend water and sewer lines to his property, lining up with the town's goal to transition from septic tanks to sewer systems in the May River watershed.
"The county changed it dramatically," Saba said of the current zoning. "I could have built 20 homes on the land before the zoning change, but that was never my intention. That's how drastically it's changed since then."
Saba's land is bordered by the river on the south and would be bordered by unincorporated Beaufort County on its east and west ends if it is annexed. It would only connect to the town across May River Road at its northern end, which would satisfy requirements that annexed land be contiguous to town limits, Lelie said.
The 13 acres where Saba hopes to build four homes is at the center of the land, west of J.C's Cove Road. Office space is planned for a 1.5-acre parcel on May River Road. Saba's home is on three acres at the southern tip of his property. Another home on an acre of the property sits just north of Saba's home.
Although the annexation plan received Town Council's unanimous approval, it still faces a process that includes a recommendation from the Planning Commission, a Town Council public hearing and a final council vote, Lelie said. Saba said he expects the process to be completed within a few months.
Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.
- Bluffton Town Council votes to annex land for new school, Jan. 22, 2014