A bill to force the sale of the Port of Port Royal by 2015 was filed in the S.C. Senate on Thursday, two days after similar legislation was filed in the House.
The bill, introduced by Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, and Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Charleston, would require the S.C. Ports Authority to sell the 317-acre site by June 30, 2015, or sell it at auction.
It differs slightly from one introduced Tuesday by Rep. Shannon Erickson, R-Beaufort, in that:
- Davis' version requires the property to be sold for at least 80 percent of appraised value. Erickson's has no such restriction. The 80 percent threshold remains if the land goes to auction. If auction prices don't meet or exceed that floor, the General Services Division would put the port back on the market.
- Davis' bill allows more time than Erickson's for the Ports Authority to complete any sale that is pending on the June 30, 2015, deadline. Erickson's bill allows 90 days. Davis' allows about 120 days, which would be Dec. 31, 2015.
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Both bills would allow the property to be sold as one piece or in parts.
Both also would require new appraisals.
Davis said the bills' differences are intended "to force discussion, to force the legislature to take a hard look at this."
The legislature first ordered that the port be put up for sale in 2004. A town of Port Royal plan for the property calls for a mix of commercial and residential development, but at least three deals to sell the port and bring those plans to fruition have fallen through.
Port Royal Mayor Sam Murray said he supports both bills.
"We need anything that will get the process moving a little faster," he said.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.
- Legislation introduced to force sale of Port of Port Royal, March 5, 2014
- Santa Elena Foundation board member taking Ports Authority to task, March 1, 2014
- Foundation eyes Port of Port Royal for Santa Elena center, but authority balks, Feb. 16, 2014
- Port of Port Royal sale price raised to $22.5 million, March 19, 2013