Last week, the town of Bluffton showed extraordinary care and consideration for the future of our imperiled waterways and limited financial resources by tabling the Graves tract annexation request.
The Coastal Conservation League has taken a particular interest in this annexation application, as it would result in an increase of housing and commercial units on the headwaters (the most sensitive location) of the long-suffering Okatie River.
Studies show that annexation nearly always costs residents far more than the resulting development produces for tax coffers. Bluffton has demonstrated a sincere concern regarding just such potential costs. The mayor, town manager and the majority of the council also stood up for water quality by standing firm on several conditions, including a minimum 150-foot buffer requirement for the Okatie River.
Mayor Lisa Sulka's leadership on this issue exemplifies a profound concern for the welfare of both the taxpayers and for the people who enjoy the Okatie River.
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Indeed, there is no urgency for this or any other annexation. As the mayor stated, the town's plate is full with finding solutions to our impaired rivers and accommodating already approved development. The vote to table this annexation, the refusal to rush this through, is evidence of the town's commitment to responsible planning and growth.
So thank you , Mayor Sulka and Town Council. We look forward to working with all elected officials, residents and land owners to devise an effective and equitable policy that will protect our rivers and quality of life.
Andrea Malloy, interim director
South Coast Office
Coastal Conservation League