The developer of Palmetto Bluff will limit the number of homes it builds near the May River, but will be allowed to build substantially more houses in other, less environmentally-sensitive parts of the upscale community or in other parts of Bluffton.
On Tuesday, Bluffton Town Council and Crescent Resources LLC, developer of the community off S.C.. 46, agreed to limit the number of futures homes by at least 1,300 and as much as 2,064.
The developer will also donate six acres the town will use to build a stormwater pond to limit runoff that would otherwise end up in the river.
In exchange, town leaders agreed to increase the number of homes Crescent Resources can build to 4,000 as long as they are built in other parts of the community or in other parts of town. Until Tuesday, Crescent Resources was limited to 2,920 homes.
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"It provides us with flexibility going forward," said Gerrit Albert, Palmetto Bluff's general manager who attended Tuesday's meeting. He said it would take many years to reach the 4,000 home limit. He said the goal remains to create a low-density community.
Palmetto Bluff is undergoing a building boom with 46 homes currently under construction -- more than at any time since building began in 2003.
Town Council's decision drew mixed reactions.
Reed Armstrong of the Coastal Conservation League applauded the decision as a way to manage stormwater that will help restore the river's watershed and prevent further degradation.
"We can hope these actions will serve as examples for other projects in the watershed," he said.
But Lim Matthews, a Palmetto Bluff resident, worried about the loss of trees and other greenspace in the 20,000-acre community and thinks Crescent Resources plans lack specifics.
"We property owners chose to live in Palmetto Bluff because of the natural environment and the preservation and conservation commitments," Matthews told Town Council. "Allowing an unrestricted 1,080 units to be placed anywhere will significantly alter (natural spaces.)"
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http://www.lowcountrynewspapers.net/archive/2012/09/18/story/palmetto-bl... " target="_blank">Palmetto Bluff to build fewer homes along May River. Sept. 18, 2012.