Beaufort News

Trenchards Island dock proposal draws environmental fire

Environmental advocates are fighting a request to build a lengthy dock from a small island in northern Beaufort County.

The application proposes a 590-foot walkway extending south from Trenchards Island to the Story River to a ramp and 12-by-35-foot floating dock.

The dock would be used for private recreation, according to the application submitted April 15 by Trenchards Island Inc.

Trenchards is near St. Helena Island and accessible only by boat, according to county records. It appears to be about 0.7 acres. It's not clear if any structures are on the island, but county officials issued a zoning permit for a cabin in 2006.

Attempts Thursday and Friday to reach Mark Roseneau, registered agent for the applicant, were unsuccessful.

The nonprofit Coastal Conservation League opposed the dock in a letter to regulators, saying there is a shorter alternative that would do less harm to the marsh and better comply with state law.

League officials say it appears the applicant could reach Trenchards Inlet, west of the island, with a walkway of about 150 feet.

They cite state regulations that stipulate docks must be limited to a reasonable size, should use the least environmentally damaging alternative and must extend to the first navigable creek.

They are puzzled why the applicant wouldn't pursue the shorter design since it would be significantly less expensive.

"It doesn't make any sense to me," said Reed Armstrong, a league project manager.