Beaufort News

Here we go again: Developers eye possible resort at remote Beaufort Co. island

In 2016, Bay Point Island trustee talked about plans for the island’s development

Beaufort attorney Ned Tupper, Bay Point Island's manager and trustee, describes, on Sept. 22, 2016, the kind of infrastructure that Six Senses Hotels Resort Spas plans to put in place to turn the uninhabited 347-acre island across Port Royal Sound
Up Next
Beaufort attorney Ned Tupper, Bay Point Island's manager and trustee, describes, on Sept. 22, 2016, the kind of infrastructure that Six Senses Hotels Resort Spas plans to put in place to turn the uninhabited 347-acre island across Port Royal Sound

Developers are again working on plans to bring a resort to a mostly vacant barrier island in Beaufort County.

Beaufort County officials expect a new proposal soon for developing Bay Point Island, a 347-acre property off the south end of St. Helena Island at the mouth of Port Royal Sound.

The owner of Bay Point and a development representative met last week with County Councilman York Glover to talk about some of their plans, Glover said Wednesday. Glover plans to host a public meeting for the developers to share plans at the St. Helena Island library Sept. 3 at 6 p.m.

Glover said he was told during the meeting last week that the project would be aimed at high-end customers in a resort setting. He said developers indicated plans to use solar energy and encroach on trees and the beach as little as possible.

“I told them what I would do is have a public meeting and invite them as a guest so they can tell the citizens of the community what their plans are,” Glover said.

While no formal plans have been submitted, county planners said this week they have a general idea of the proposal as a boutique hotel or resort with resort amenities and accommodations.

Attempts to reach a Bay Point representative by phone and email Wednesday and Thursday were unsuccessful.

The remote beaches of Bay Point have long been a day destination for local boaters. A single beach cottage without utilities was the only structure on the property when development plans were last considered in 2016.

Environmentalists say the private island is at times home to thousands of migrating shorebirds that rely on the ecosystem for their journeys.

Under current zoning rules for the property, development plans would have to receive special approval as an “ecotourism” project, county Community Development Director Eric Greenway said.

Projects approved as ecotourism must meet a set of county guidelines that incorporate buildings in a natural way and activities such as environmental education and wildlife viewing opportunities. Cabins, small hotels and inns are allowed as ecotourism, with hotels limited to two stories and eight rooms per building.

Ecotourism projects require a public hearing and vote by the county zoning board.

“There’s many steps that have to take place between where we are right now and that point,” Greenway said.

Plans would also be considered during a public meeting of the county Staff Review Team.

During a staff meeting Monday, county employees from various departments talked about what developing the island would mean for the environment and public safety needs. The property is accessible only by boat or air.

Developers had previously sought to annex Bay Point into the town of Port Royal and later Hilton Head Island in 2016. The proposal at the time was for a $100 million five-star resort run by Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas out of Bangkok, Thailand.

Hilton Head initially approved annexing the island before plans were abandoned. Environmental groups and others raised concerns about building on the barrier island.

Bay Point meeting

What: Public meeting to discuss plans for developing Bay Point, with County Councilman York Glover, representatives of Bay Point Island and other county officials

Where: Beaufort County Library St. Helena Branch; 6355 Jonathan Francis Sr. Road

When: 6 p.m. Sept. 3.

  Comments