Residents object to development plans at Tulifinny

Homeowners near the 43-acre Tulifinny property annexed into Bluffton in July are complaining the development there will erode their neighborhood's character and property values.

They turned out in force at a Bluffton Planning Commission workshop Wednesday to repeat concerns initially voiced in July about how much building would be allowed per acre on the land.

When the property southeast of the roundabout at S.C. 46 and S.C. 170 was annexed, its zoning changed, allowing the Tulifinny Recovery Management Center for Women to open. The center was intended to treat teenage girls struggling with drug abuse and eating disorders.

The center has since closed, according to an employee of Tulifinny LLC, who asked not to be identified. CEO Ray Travaglione could not be reached for comment.

And now, nearby residents are concerned about what will occupy the property next.

"It just seems like there's a lot of questions that haven't been answered," said Tom Trout, who lives on Trotters Lane. "We're not anti-business ... but we don't want a commercial interest in our backyard."

The homeowners also wondered what security measures would be in place if a new rehab center replaces the former one. Others cited drainage issues and asked whether the county or the town would be responsible for maintaining the lone road, Meadow Drive, that leads to the property.

Planning Commission members told residents their comments would be considered when architect Michael Kronimus submits his revised plans for use of the land next month. The Planning Commission in July voted to allow up to 6,000 square feet of commercial space per acre and limited residential properties to one single-family home or three multi-family homes per acre.

Chairman Andrew Colvin told the homeowners he had been surprised that none of them showed up at that meeting. But David Nash, who owns land on Lake Lane, said he and his neighbors were informed only of the Town Council meeting where final annexation was approved.

Colvin said the commission would try to restrict how many residential or commercial buildings are allowed per acre, in keeping with the pastoral nature of Pritchardville.

Council member Emmett McCracken expressed sympathy for the residents who are worried about their tranquil neighborhood.

"Other than the name Tulifinny, there's little to nothing that is the same in this plan when we recommended annexation," he said. "This thing has just turned on its head."

Both council members said they want to further restrict the number of residential and commercial properties per acre when they hear the revised application at their next meeting Oct. 27.

Kronimus, who helped organize a Sept. 15 meeting with the property's neighbors, said any decisions on what will be built on the land won't be made until he has approval from the Planning Commission and Town Council on land use and density.