After months of discussion, it is unclear if a set of Land Management Ordinance amendments was approved by Hilton Head Town Council on Tuesday.
This comes after the amendments were divided at the request of council member David Ames, allowing a change to commercial parking lots to be discussed and voted on separately. The amendments as a whole were approved unanimously; those changes dealing with commercial parking lots were struck down.
However, because of the change, town manager Steve Riley said during and after the meeting he would need to research more to determine if the council’s unanimous approval of the amendments – except for changes to commercial parking lots – constituted final approval or if another reading is required.
Staff attorney Brian Hulbert said after the meeting he believes a second reading is required, and another attorney at the meeting agreed.
“By dividing the question and approving only part of what was presented, they have amended the ordinance on second reading,” attorney Chet Williams said after Tuesday’s meeting. “If you amend the ordinance on second reading, it needs to be approved again, in my opinion.”
The amendments would have, among other things, prevented the waiver that allowed two Heron Street homes to be connected – dubbed by critics as a “mini-hotel” – from happening in single-family residential districts again, which residents of the Forest Beach area have been pushing for months.
The connected properties on Heron Street have received criticism from residents who said it would turn their neighborhood into a resort and spur large, loud parties.
“Basically the saga drags on,” Renea Hushour, a resident who lives across from the Heron Street homes, said after Tuesday’s meeting.
Town officials said it was the first time the waiver had been used in a single-family residential district. The waiver is often used in commercial developments, such as businesses with shared parking spaces between buildings, officials said previously.
Residents appealed the town’s decision to waive setback and buffer requirements, and in August the town’s Board of Zoning Appeals ordered the removal of the deck connecting the homes.
The owner of the two homes, Shane Gould, filed an appeal to the BZA’s decision on Oct. 2 in Beaufort County Circuit Court.
The LMO amendment came at the direction of Mayor David Bennett, who asked that the waiver not be used in single-family residential districts again.