Hilton Head officials walked out on this restaurant owner, but he got a win in court

A Beaufort County circuit judge handed native islander and restaurant owner Taiwan Scott a win against the Town of Hilton Head Island this week.

On Monday, Beaufort County Judge Marvin Dukes threw out a motion filed by the town in a three-year case over Scott’s Marshland Road property and food truck-style restaurant, Gullah Geechee Catering.

The motion could have allowed the town to force Scott to remove buildings within a mandated buffer zone on his property.

The judge’s dismissal comes one week after the mayor and Hilton Head Town Council members walked out of a public meeting where Scott signed up to speak about the issue.

He exceeded his time limit of three minutes when Mayor John McCann called a break.

Scott continued to speak, later calling the council members who walked out “totally disrespectful” and saying they were “trying to suppress the truth.”

Katherine Kokal The Island Packet

Throwing out the town’s motion means it will have to make a more complete case against Scott’s buildings when the parties return to court.

“My story hasn’t changed,” Scott said Wednesday. “I’m not going to stop doing my business. ... I have to feed my family.”

Scott said the issue at hand is a sign of racism against native islanders. Town officials disagree, citing improper business permit applications by Scott that didn’t include utilities like the plumbing and electric he installed.

“Everything would go away. All he’s got to do is move the buildings out of the buffer,” staff attorney Brian Hulbert told The Island Packet. “He’s just got to comply with the same rules everyone else does.”

Katherine Kokal moved to South Carolina in 2018 after graduating from the University of Missouri and loves everything about the Lowcountry that isn’t a Palmetto Bug. She has won South Carolina Press Association awards for in-depth and government beat reporting. On the weekends, you can find Kati doing yoga and hiking Pinckney Island.