Wednesday morning the Town of Hilton Head Island Planning Commission kicked the can down the planning field and approved Land Management Ordinance amendments to allow lockouts in timeshare units in the South Forest Beach zoning areas — potentially doubling density there.
A 1.5-hour discussion preceded the vote. Jack Daly, head of the Forest Beach Owners Association; Charlie Miner, head of the Association of Sea Pines Plantation Property Owners; Mark Griffith, Sea Pines Community Services Associates board chairman; Kate Keep, former Town Councilwoman; and numerous other residents cited objections.
Objections included: increased traffic on the Sea Pines Circle (already in violation of the LMO), fire and safety risks, inadequate parking, damage to the Hilton Head Island brand, risk of criminal activity, and lack of personnel to enforce lock out safety standards.
Commissioner Jim Gant provided the rationale for “yes,” saying that the commission had to treat timeshares with the same consideration as condominiums. Both are multiple-dwelling units with a different ownership structure. Really? So double the density problem and let another local governmental body deal with the fallout?
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The decision is unacceptable in light of the island’s snowballing density, traffic and safety issues. Lockouts are dangerous. They undermine the quality of life and brand image of our island. Mayor David Bennett has stated the same. We should eliminate lockouts entirely on the south end of the island.
Adding to the insult, not one Planning Commission member resides on the south end. The Town Council is now charged with the next phase of consideration. Perhaps common sense will prevail.
Hilton Head Island