In a nod to concerned neighbors, Bluffton's Planning Commission Wednesday recommended strict limits on how the owner of Mindstream Academy, a weight loss in-patient program for teens, can develop the rest of his 43-acre property.
The commission made the recommendation to Bluffton Town Council after about a dozen homeowners expressed concerns about the potential growth of the program on the Tulifinny property, located southeast of the S.C. 46-S.C. 170 roundabout in Pritchardville.
The commission recommended one residential unit per acre with no other development -- such as a gym or a dormitory -- permitted.
The property already houses a building and stables. About 20 acres remain undeveloped.
Neighbors reiterated early complaints that they were not informed until a final town council vote to annex the property into Bluffton in July. That move changed the site's zoning from a community preservation district to a planned unit development, which allowed the 32-bed treatment center to be located there.
Owner and Mindstream CEO Ray Travaglione had requested one residential unit per acre and up to 6,000 square feet of commercial development per acre. Those standards are the same as in surrounding Pritchardville, said architect Michael Kronimus, adding they were "watered down" because of residents' concerns.
Commissioners opted instead to recommend a scaled back version of the development. That still left some property owners dissatisfied, including David Nash. He contends property values in the area have already declined.
"Before this all happened, we as a community should have gotten together to decide what our community would look like," Nash said. "We were kept out of the loop."
Mindstream director of marketing Matt Bodie declined comment. He said the academy currently has no patients since the company is continuing work on land use, certification and other issues.
It has not outlined plans for expansion, Kronimus said.