Voices of the community: Lady’s Island residents on development
Plans to improve your commute and ease congestion on fast-growing Lady’s Island should include new roads, a walkable central district and annexation limits, a report rolled out this month says.
The Beaufort County community, between the city of Beaufort and St. Helena Island, could see enough additional homes and apartments to more than double its current population. Another 2.3 million square feet of commercial space is possible.
Planning officials and consultants spent months developing what they say is a first-of-its-kind plan to solve expected traffic and growth issues. The draft was scheduled to be presented in a public meeting Thursday, weather permitting.
“There is no switch that can be flipped to stop growth,” the report said. “There is no single easy fix.”
Among the report’s recommendations:
- New roads, turn lanes and traffic lights.
A 2017 traffic study recommended nine projects to include new connector roads, improved access to nearby Beaufort High School and Lady’s Island Middle School and intersection improvements to ease the burden where the highly traveled Sea Island Parkway, Lady’s Island Drive and Sams Point Road converge.
The new report suggests building those projects, which could be funded by voters via $30 million from a sales tax referendum in November. Additional suggestions include creating walkable areas at each corner of the major intersection, new biking and walking paths and requiring new roads and connections with major developments.
- Avoid a third bridge.
A third crossing connecting to northern Lady’s Island has been discussed for decades, but the exorbitant cost relative to the perceived need has been a barrier. A 2010 master plan envisioned the possibility of a third bridge, with an estimated price tag of $216 million.
The project could overwhelm what is slated to remain a rural area and could also negatively affect Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, the recent report said. But if development is left unchecked, the bridge could eventually be needed, officials added.
- Limit Beaufort’s reach. The report recommends scaling back established boundaries to limit areas the city of Beaufort could eventually annex. The new lines would ensure the northern and eastern areas of Lady’s Island remain more rural.
A subcommittee of Beaufort County planning officials would be responsible for implementing the Lady’s Island plan as part of a larger plan for northern Beaufort County. The plan would require adoption by the city and county and endorsement by town of Port Royal.
If you go
What: Northern Regional Plan Implementation Committee meeting, including discussion of Lady’s Island Area Plan.
When: 9:30 a.m. Thursday., weather permitting.
Where: Executive conference room; Beaufort County administration building; 100 Ribaut Rd. Beaufort.