Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bluffton a "State of Mind" !!

What is the character of Bluffton? That is what the town has been trying to wrestle with over the past few years. A number of years ago we would see bumper stickers proclaiming Bluffton "State of Mind", and I for one was never sure what that state of mind was. The characters that I knew in Bluffton often had altered state's of mind!! I don't think that is what they had in mind when they made the bumper stickers.

These bumper stickers were all over the place in the early 80's. While at USC there was one Irmo "State of Mind" Irmo is a little town near Lake Norman outside of Columbia, very similar to Bluffton.

Both towns had a mix of eclectic characters ranging from the very wealthy to homeless. You might see the two of them having coffee together, it made no difference where you were in life's cycle. That State of Mind is still in Bluffton, but in 2008 almost 30 years later, it is being commercialized and the town is trying to define it.

So, what is the Bluffton Character? Their is no one answer, but I am sure that the Boudreaux Group will be able to help establish the essence of what is needed today in Bluffton. The residents of Bluffton will need to understand that it is going to cost money to transform the town into the new image that they want. It is not the developers responsibility to foot every brick that residents want to see. Obviously, the developers will need to pay their fair and proportionate share of impact fees, but to revitalize the Historic District to a new image is not the developers responsibility.

The town should have implemented a TIFF program a number of years ago to revitalize the down town area, or implemented a hospitality sales tax or other means to pay for the new "State of Mind"

I for one am understanding and look forward to what becomes of the new character for Bluffton.

Property of Charlie B Fraser 2008
Below is the article from the Island Packet

Draft report on Bluffton's 'character' expected in mid-December
By RENEE DUDLEYrdudley@islandpacket.com843-706-8138
Published Wednesday, November 12, 2008

With two hearings Tuesday, Bluffton residents had their final public opportunity to help define the elusive characteristics that make the town unique.
For several months, the town's planning department has held consultant-led workshops to gather opinions on what development should look like as the town continues to expand.
In the past, officials from the Historic Preservation Commission -- the group that approves new development in old town -- and from the Planning Commission have told builders that their structures must have "Bluffton character." Often, those officials are unable to specifically define the term. It is that lack of clarity that leaves developers frustrated.
Now, the Boudreaux Group, led by consultant Irene Tyson, will compile a report based on all the comments from a series of three meetings about town character. Two of those meetings were held Tuesday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
Town officials could use the report to point to examples of acceptable
architecture in new developments.
Some attendees at Tuesday's
afternoon session said they were concerned the town might try to enforce a rigid set of guidelines that would limit the diversity of new construction.
As Tyson showed the group pictures of "acceptable" examples of Bluffton character submitted by staff and
residents, those in attendance, including Wallace Milling of the Historic Preservation Commission, said not every new structure needs to resemble a Calhoun Street cottage.
Others agreed, saying Bluffton's old town character includes a mix of residential and commercial uses, and its architecture includes a variety of styles and materials.
Many in the group, which included several architects, said they wanted to see "timeless" architecture and the addition of high-quality parks.
They said they don't want the town to be "overly-landscaped." They also said they don't want to see architectural elements, such as dormers and false shutters, added to buildings just because they're perceived to be Bluffton's style.
The draft report, which will include photographs, will be presented to the town by mid-December, Tyson said. The final report will be completed by the end of January, she said.
The town is paying Tyson's group about $18,200 to lead the study.

What's with Beaufort County !

I'm not one to believe in conspiracies, but it it is getting ridiculous what Beaufort County has been doing to the Roller family. Today I read that the county had a judge put a cease and hold on paving their parking lot. Hence Sea Trawlers restaurant cannot open, because they cannot get a Certificate of Occupancy until their parking lot is completed.

Apparently Mr. Roller paved a strip of land that has been in dispute with the county over ownership. Mr. Roller contends he owns the land where the Buckingham landing is and the county thinks they own it. The case will be heard in January and the judge has ruled that Mr. Roller cannot do any paving until that suit is settled.

Why keep him from finishing his parking lot? Why is the county fighting tooth and nail every step of the way on this project? The county planners are mad that Mr. Roller was able to build the restaurant, and have done everything they can to make him pay. If this is not a conspiracy then I don't know what is.

The county needs to be held accountable to their actions and conduct. We are the citizens of this county and the county government works for us, they are not supposed to work against us. The project was approved, and all the necessary permits, etc have been paid. So why is the county still charging up the hill to try and block this project?

I for one am looking forward to being able to take my boat over for lunch or diner. I personally think the restaurant will be a plus for the neighborhood. It is not going to undermine the prices of Buckingham Landing. When will people see that commercial and residential zoning mixed together are good for the overall neighborhood.

Call your County Representative and tell them you are opposed to this kind of abuse by county staff.
Property of Charlie B Fraser 2008

Below is the article from the Island Packet
County order halts paving work at Sea Trawler Restaurant
By MICHAEL WELLES SHAPIROmshapiro@islandpacket.com843-706-8142
Published Wednesday, November 12, 2008
The chef at the future Sea Trawler Restaurant at Buckingham Landing said he's stopped trying to predict when the seafood restaurant along Mackays Creek will open. A series of delays and legal disputes with Beaufort County have made previous guesses that it would open in July of this year wrong.
"I play tennis on Hilton Head, and everybody's always asking me when's it going to open," Chef Stephen Carmines said Tuesday, standing outside the pagoda-shaped restaurant near the bridges to Hilton Head Island.
But with legal disputes between restaurant owner Wilbert Roller Jr. and Beaufort County still under way,
Carmines is not making any more statements about opening dates.
In the latest legal dustup, the county got a court order Oct. 29 to stop Roller from paving the Buckingham Landing Boat Landing. Roller paved an asphalt strip on the landing, the width of a car, while paving the parking lot.
The county and Roller both claim ownership of the boat landing. County codes enforcement officer Audra Antonacci said a circuit court judge ruled that paving had to stop until the court determines ownership. That hearing is scheduled for January.
Roller and the county also are suing over two other issues:
• Roller alleges he's been treated unfairly by the county's zoning office while trying to get his restaurant off the ground.
• The county is challenging Roller's right to build a 350-foot dock off his property into Mackays Creek.
Meanwhile, Carmines, the brother of Hudson's on the Docks Seafood restaurant owner Brian Carmines, said he's eager to start serving patrons and said the restaurant will be a boon to the area during a tough economy by creating jobs and increasing business for the local seafood industry.
As much as possible, Carmines said, "we're going to serve local shrimp, local oysters and local fish."
That eat-local approach combined with the restaurant's waterfront view could bring success even as many restaurants are struggling, said Anne-Marie Adams-Arrington, executive director of the Hilton Head Area Hospitality Association.
"Their location's going to be a big positive for them," she said.