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Some residents unhappy with ‘ultimate compromise’ for this Hilton Head neighborhood

Follow the guidelines, not your emotions: Bradley Circle resident pleads to Hilton Head town council ahead of zoning vote

Ronda Carper, a Bradley Circle resident, asks Hilton Head Town Council members to follow town regulations and not their emotions when deciding the fate of Bradley Circle’s zoning.
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Ronda Carper, a Bradley Circle resident, asks Hilton Head Town Council members to follow town regulations and not their emotions when deciding the fate of Bradley Circle’s zoning.

Some Bradley Circle residents aren’t happy that part of their north Hilton Head Island neighborhood wasn’t rezoned with the rest of it.

The Town Council on Tuesday voted 4-3 to rezone all but three parcels from resort development to residential. After the decision, arguments could be heard in the hallway outside of council chambers, as those for and against rezoning the three parcels filed out of the room.

Rezoning supporters say the three parcels in question should be rezoned to residential for the safety of the area. The overall rezoning request stemmed from the recent development of three resort-style houses, which critics contend, among other things, is out of character with their quiet neighborhood. The three parcels excluded from rezoning are not those houses but have sparked a debate about native islander rights.

The three parcels excluded from zoning were initially excluded by the town’s Planning Commission because Robert Singleton, a native islander who owns one of the parcels, did not want his zoning to change.

“In our minds it was an ultimate compromise,” said Alex Brown, the Planning Commission chairman, when addressing the Town Council at Tuesday’s meeting. “We talk about unity; we talk about working together. If you complete that compromise, maybe this community will be better than it is right now, because there’s a definite divide in that community, and it’s sad to see.”

Nearly 20 individuals addressed Town Council, speaking for or against rezoning the area and the three parcels in question.

“What I’m asking you to do is not be intimidated by the power,” Cheri Gould told council members. “I want you to listen to what Rob Singleton is saying, and that is ‘leave me alone.’ We haven’t been listening to what (native islanders are) saying. And it is a racial issue for them.”

Others didn’t see it that way.

“This rezoning is purely a land management issue; it’s not a race issue,” said Russell Patterson, an attorney who said he represents 15 Bradley Circle property owners.

The neighborhood was rezoned from residential to resort development in 2014, though some residents contend they were unaware of the change.

James Kaiser, a Bradley Circle resident, told Town Council on Tuesday he would ask Patterson to “pursue every legal avenue,” including restraining orders and checking the validity of the 2014 rezoning if council members do not vote to change the three parcels in question back to residential.

At the Aug. 1 Town Council meeting, councilwoman Kim Likins amended the proposed ordinance to include the three parcels that the Planning Commission had earlier excluded. At the time, Likins said the town “made a mistake” when the area was rezoned to resort development in 2014.

At the Sept. 19 meeting, council member Marc Grant moved to remove the three parcels in question from rezoning, which was approved.

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