A proposal to annex and rezone property into the town of Port Royal has some residents concerned that more traffic could mean more wrecks.
The proposal is to annex 5 and 7 Marina Blvd. and rezone those lots and the Wayside Mobile Home Park for commercial use. The property owners brought the requests to Port Royal, but have not proposed any projects, town planner Linda Bridges said.
The changes are consistent with the town's future land-use plans, she said. But they met some opposition last week when Port Royal planners forwarded the request to the Metropolitan Planning Commission.
Commission member Bob Semmler said the intersection of Marina Boulevard and Parris Island Gateway is already dangerous, and more businesses will exacerbate the problem.
"Someone is going to get killed," he said.
Semmler said he lived in the townhouses in the area for about six years and wants a traffic impact study done before any rezoning occurs.
Chris Caudle spoke at the commission meeting on behalf of business owners in nearby Bellevue Business Park and echoed Semmler's concerns about the traffic dangers.
"It's very dangerous, and there have been numerous wrecks there," he said.
Development and business growth are good, he said, but there is vacant office space in the business park, and more commercial zoning is not necessarily needed.
Beaufort County traffic engineer Colin Kinton said he has not heard many concerns about that intersection, but increased traffic could make it an issue.
Accidents have occurred in the area, including one in 2010 in which a motorcyclist was hit by a truck and died.
The commission recommended the zoning changes for the Marina Boulevard lots, but suggested the town ask for a traffic impact study.
The town's code only requires a study when a development plan is proposed and if the business brings in more than 50 cars an hour during peak hours, according to Bridges, the town planner. There is no precedent for requiring a traffic study for a rezoning request, she said.
The commission opposed rezoning Wayside Mobile Home Park. Commission member Jim Crower said businesses are fine along Parris Island Gateway, but he doesn't want to encourage commercial development farther from the road.
Port Royal Town Council will consider the changes in May.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/EyeOnPortRoyal.