The development agreement between the S.C. State Ports Authority and the town of Port Royal needs many changes.
All 10 acres set aside for a park should be used for a park.
The existing port building should not be demolished. It is large and well-built and could be used as a mall, with shops, a restaurant, theater and many other things. The use of the port building should create many jobs.
Nothing should be built east and south of 7th Street unless it is something that supports the port building and creates jobs.
The swap of land owned by the town for the existing shrimp dock should be done now. This would demonstrate good faith by the Ports Authority. Also, the town could look for grants and start planning to improve this facility.
The development agreement allows 480 dwelling units, 90,000 square feet of commercial space, rental, etc., and 14.7 acres of open space. It also allows a 400-slip marina, a 600-linear-foot large vessel portage dock, plus 600 linear feet beyond the existing port building. It also allows a dry-stack boat storage building and 48 accessory dwellings. As many as 528 homes, along with the other items listed above, are allowed on 36 acres, minus land required for roads, streets and sidewalks. This will seriously damage our quality of life in Port Royal. What are we doing to do with all that traffic?
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The following changes are recommended:
Cut the 400-slip marina to 200 slips.
Do not allow the large vessel dock to block the view of the water from the new park and existing boardwalk.
Cut the size or eliminate the dry-stack facility.
Boat storage and multifamily buildings should be no more than three stories and no more than 12 units per building.
Single-family attached buildings should not be allowed.
Accessory dwelling structures should be eliminated.
A traffic study should be required now to know what our needs will be.
No street should be narrower than standard.
All changes to the agreement should be made only after due process and a vote by the council.
Allowing employees to make these decisions is bad policy and could keep the public and council from knowing what is going on.
Making the necessary changes will take a lot of time and effort. Let's work together to make this development the best it can be. We can and must do better.
Vernon H. DeLoach is a member of the Port Royal Town Council