Editor’s note: The organizers of this forum have changed the date from Jan. 12 to Feb. 23. More information is available here.
As Walmart churns closer to completion, another grocery store giant prepares to break ground, and new homes and gas stations pop up on Lady’s Island, the northern Beaufort County community wants to form a vision for the future.
A group of environmentalists, urban planning experts and concerned residents will explore possible next steps during a Feb. 23 forum at Lady’s Island Elementary School. The event is hosted by the Coastal Conservation League and grassroots Sea Island Corridor Coalition, formed in response to concerns about development like the Walmart and a planned Taco Bell along Sea Island Parkway.
An interactive map, panel presentation, question session and open idea exchange will be part of the program.
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Former Bluffton town manager Josh Martin, a planning consultant and adviser to Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, will be one of the keynote presenters.
A planner from Dover, Kohl and Partners also is expected to help lead the discussion. The firm has worked in Port Royal and on Beaufort’s Boundary Street plan.
Coastal Conservation League’s invitation to the event notes that the city and county recently worked together to complete a traffic study along Sea Island Parkway and that county and city planners are addressing Lady’s Island.
“But your voice is missing!” The Conservation League wrote in promoting the forum. “This forum is your opportunity to shape these plans from the citizens’ perspectives.”
In recent weeks in email blasts from the Sea Island Corridor Coalition promoting the forum, Lady’s Island residents have shared reasons they feel the discussion is important.
Sandy Stephan said she’s lived on Lady’s Island since 1999, and “I’m concerned our once semi-rural island is now ‘under construction,’ ” she wrote. “And without proper care and feeding, we’ll be left with an annexed suburbia.”
“You may not see it all yet, but it is happening right in front of us,” Stephan wrote. “And while growth cannot be controlled, it can be managed if we choose to manage. Each of us who lives here has a stake in how this island moves forward, and we all need to be a part of how that will happen.”