A few days ago, Pat Conroy, one of the Lowcountry’s more notable characters spoke out against unchecked development. He said, “I think southern Beaufort County is both lost and ruined.” Pretty tough words. For sure, the area is radically changed from Conroy’s youth, as is the rest of America. But for the newcomers fleeing a cold, gray, North, Hilton Head and Bluffton are the embodiment of that paradisical vision Conroy so longs for.
And it appears the place still has some fight in her. The Town of Hilton head is in battle with the Adventure Inn, over that property’s desire to build fire pits, bathrooms and other structures (look, tiki bars!) on the extreme beachside line of their land. I’m for the town in this. Stay the hell back from the dunes.
According to the Island Packet story, the inn’s owners say the town is incorrectly identifying the property as dunes and that environmental officials have said there are no dunes on the property.
Original redevelopment plans the inn submitted in January called for a building and other construction right up to the state setback line, which could have made the inn the closest development toward the ocean on that part of the island. That plan showed dunes in the area, a description the inn’s owners later said was made in error.
How’s that for some outside the Beltway spin?
I can actually sympathize with the property owners here, but only to a degree. They want to provide the ultimate island experience for their guests. No one can argue that’s not their right as operators, but I will argue that a different vision can be shared with visitors. The hotel could turn their negative into a positive by educating guests on the hotel’s sound design principals and embrace of ecotourism. Be proud of the fact that development is kept respectfully back, in honor of common sense and the stunning magnitude and power of the sea.