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That chain-link fence blocking the Hilton Head bike path? It’s supposed to be gone soon

Tips for safe bike riding on Hilton Head

Ron Knight, founder of Kickin' Asphalt Bicycle Club, talks about bike safety while riding on Hilton Head Island on Wednesday, June 1, 2016, on Hilton Head.
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Ron Knight, founder of Kickin' Asphalt Bicycle Club, talks about bike safety while riding on Hilton Head Island on Wednesday, June 1, 2016, on Hilton Head.

For the second time this month, the Town of Hilton Head is demanding removal of the controversial chain-link fence — which appeared unannounced overnight outside the island’s largest gated community just before July 4.

The owner of the Main Street Office Park, which built the fence, has until July 25 to take it down or the town will take “further action,” the town said in a Friday afternoon news release.

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A fence blocking bike traffic near the entrance to Hilton Head Plantation on July 3, 2019. A property owners association near the pathway put up the fence to avoid liability since it empties into a parking lot. Carol Pollard-Huester Special to The Island Packet

Main Street Office Park is directly outside the gates of Hilton Head Plantation, and for almost three decades its parking lot has been at the end of a Plantation-owned bike path. Before the July 4th holiday, the office park installed a fence to block bicyclists from riding through the parking lot — effectively pushing bike traffic into Whopping Crane Way and its busy traffic circle.

On July 10, The town told the property owner that he had five days to take the fence down. Instead of removing the fence, on the day of the deadline — June 15 — the owner filed an application to permit the fence.

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A fence blocking bike traffic near the entrance to Hilton Head Plantation was put up around July 3, 2019. A property owners association near the pathway put up the fence to avoid liability since it empties into a parking lot. Mandy Matney The Island Packet

The town agreed to review the application and allow the barrier to stay during that time.

On Friday, the town said it denied the request for three reasons:

▪ “The fence appears to be within the street buffer, a strip of vegetation. Fencing is not allowed in buffer areas and only 4-foot high fencing is allowed within building setback areas.

▪ “Chain-link fences are usually not permitted in commercial areas without approval.

▪ “The applicant failed to provide approval from the architectural review board governing the commercial area where the office campus is located.”

While the fence is still in place, the community’s POA “highly urge(s) (residents) against using the leisure path at the main gate as the safety options are very limited,” an email from Hilton Head Plantation general manager Peter Kristian to residents said Thursday.

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A bike pathway shown in purple on Whopping Crane Way in Hilton Head Plantation abruptly ends in the Main Street Office Park Parking lot. This week, the owner of the office park put up a fence to stop cyclists and pedestrians from using the path. Katherine Kokal Google Maps

Lana Ferguson has covered crime, police, and other news for The Island Packet & Beaufort Gazette since June 2018. Before coming to the Lowcountry, she worked for publications in her home state of Virginia and graduated from the University of Mississippi, where she was editor of the college’s daily newspaper.
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