Ending resort-style developments in Bradley Circle is one vote away by the Hilton Head Town Council from taking effect, but not everyone is happy about it.
The council on Tuesday voted unanimously to change the north-side neighborhood’s zoning from resort development back to residential after Councilwoman Kim Likins convinced fellow Council members to amend the proposed ordinance to include three parcels previously excluded from rezoning by the town Planning Commission. Before the area can be rezoned, the ordinance must be approved by the Council at a second reading.
“All I could think about was, if I lived there or if I was visiting there, my boys would be throwing a football in that road, right around the corner from a road someone would be coming in on and not see them,” Likins said before the vote. “The idea of safety immediately came to mind.”
Likins said she was on the Land Management Ordinance Committee in 2014 when the zoning was changed to resort development; looking back, she thinks the committee made a mistake.
“It doesn’t fit into the character that the neighborhood has been for all these years. I just will be honest and say I believe we made a mistake,” Likins said. “I think at this point the best thing to do is to correct that mistake.”
But six residents spoke at the meeting asking Council members to not move forward with rezoning the three parcels.
“Keep mine resort development because it was resort development way before they changed the other parcels,” said Robert Singleton, a native islander who owns one of the parcels in question.
Walter Nester, an attorney representing some property owners in Bradley Circle, said the area should not be rezoned because the purpose of changing it to resort development in 2014 was to encourage the type of development that the area is now seeing.
Three 75-foot-tall houses being constructed near Chaplin Community Park are what sparked residents to request their zoning be changed back to residential. A restriction on the height of buildings in the area was changed from 75 feet to 45 feet after a land-management ordinance amendment was approved in May 2016, Nicole Dixon, the town’s development review administrator, said previously.
The issue now is not necessarily the height but what types of developments could be permitted under resort development zoning, residents have said.
Changing the area back to residential would not allow offices, resort accommodations and most other commercial services, Dixon said earlier this month.
In an interview last month, Christopher Abreu, a Connecticut resident and owner of two of the three resort-style houses, said he needed to build homes big enough for his family to stay in part of the year. The homes likely will be rented when his family is not using them, he said.
Charles Cousins, town director of community development, said last month the staff’s original recommendation included the three outlying lots because allowing them to remain zoned for resort development would exacerbate traffic in the area. He also said those lots conformed better with residential zoning.
“If you don’t (include the three parcels), the mistake made on the right end of the circle coming in will be duplicated on the other side,” Tamara Becker, a resident in favor of rezoning the area back to residential, said during Tuesday’s meeting. “Our pedestrians, our bike riders, our visitors are all in danger by the development under the (resort development) designation.”