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Festival reminds us to enjoy life

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By Cherimie Crane Weatherford

In present society where the definition of social has morphed into one-sided conversations with a photo and a screen, our sleepy little town reminds us of the joys of face-to-face, value in congregation and powerful pull of the sea.  

Few occasions show human nature, soul simplicity and signs of a gentler time more than when a city celebrates as one. 

One of those rare wrinkles in time belongs to none other than the Beaufort Water Festival. If you question the power of a social contagion, or the beauty of human nature, pack up your pessimism, sit back and absorb the enigma that is our beloved annual festival.

Watch stress-drained men trade in the business suits for the lighter weight of board shorts, well-meaning moms trade in fabric stitched in obligation and patterned in responsibility for skin-baring bikinis that replace years with youth and vitality. 

Even if just for a few hours, maybe a few days, the shrimper, the crabber, the lawyer and the preacher become simply Beaufortonians. The shackles of roles and responsibility merge into rivers of freedom, folly and wardrobe faux pas. 

Greetings change from the required and rote “How are you?” to an enthusiastic “Happy Water Festival!” Days turn to nights, nights turn to stories and those stories turn into folklore.

Time clocks and time sheets become a bit more forgiving. Differences disperse as the winds of well-wishes blow forth. Blue collar, white collar inevitably becomes no collar as the Water Festival is the great equalizer. 

The only division is whether your chicken is a six piece and your swimsuit a two. The worry over current events, the weight of a world longing for laughter and the reality that tomorrow brings battles of varying degree all take reprieve on a blanket in the park. 

A couple in their 60s will shag under the stars toe-to-toe with a pair at 16. Long love, new love, renewed love finds itself along the water’s edge.

Visitors question their own way of life as they observe with envy the sweet, slow summer nights that lead to warm mornings full of events and celebration that showcase that which can’t be simulated, only experienced. Music echoes off our shores as life happens under the stars. 

Land-locked laments fade as toes and woes submerge in saltwater and sand. Focus on troubles take second place to focus on tides. Desk chairs empty and deck chairs fill. Quiet souls who hide behind societal norms unite on the sandbar to shine like polished pennies. 

Monday morning will come soon enough. There will be plenty of time to excuse away momentary mishaps and questionable quandaries. 

For now, let your hair down, lift your spirits, ditch the shoes, lose the shirt, tap dance through the day, shag through the night, and douse the day-to-day dread with real life, real moments and real smiles. It’s time to celebrate all that we are and all that we love. 

Happy Water Festival Beaufort South Carolina from my family to yours!

Cherimie Crane Weatherford, owner of SugarBelle boutique, real estate broker and observer of all things momentous and mundane, lives on Lady’s Island with her golfing husband, dancing toddler and lounging dogs.

How to be a great mother-in-law

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The funeral service for my mother-in-law, Peggy Sanford Peyton, was held last week.

I’m certain there are a lot of guys who in their private-most thoughts have been good with seeing their mothers-in-law put 6-feet under, especially in those cases where in her later years the mother-in-law had moved in.

I’m not one of them.

In the course of the recent services and receptions and other gatherings since Peg’s (we called her “Peg”) passing, I’ve been asked about how it was to live with her.

Here’s the secret to her success. 

Peg spent a couple of years as a single woman in New York at the Juilliard School during World War II, and four years as a single American woman completing her schooling in Paris in the years immediately after World War II. She didn’t speak much about those years, but I suspect she saw a lot of life at a crucial time in her life then. Being a sophisticated person means a lot more than knowing which dress or necktie to wear, when to pick up which fork, the difference between prosecco and rococo and Chopin and Cezanne. It also means having seen situations that look good go bad, and finding to your surprise things that start badly that end up well.

That was Peg. A sophisticated woman, she had seen too much to be caught off-base. She was devotedly non-judgmental.

What she wanted from life was just, well … life. Peg loved parties because she loved action. That’s what brought the glint to the eye. 

There’s more.

As a grandmother, she understood that her children and their spouses were already fully-baked. So she concentrated on her grandchildren, of which as her years increased she had many. In this pursuit Peg had one speed only: full blast positive. In her eyes her grandchildren could do no wrong. One sobbing in wet pants and diapers, the other caked in mud and spitting mad, these were the very best children in the firmament.

There’s more.

Peg pitched in. Even when you knew she hurt (and she would never say she did) she would clear tables, fold laundry, put things right. It was easy to say to her with utter sincerity that she’d put in her time raising four children, that now it was time for her to rest and for the children and the grandchildren to pick up the slack. It didn’t matter. If there was something to be done, Peg was on it. But she never kept score the way some people — especially children — do. It was never “Well I just emptied the dishwasher, so how about you feed the dogs.”

Not once.

Then there was the piano. When it comes to live-in grandparents, war heroes should occasionally tell war stories, ballplayers should when the time’s right play ball with the kids, great cooks should from time to time show the uninitiated around the kitchen, and musicians should in moderation play their favorite music. A concert pianist, Peg could knock out Chopin, Bach, Mozart and Rachmaninoff tunes right up to the end. If her memory sometimes let her down, her piano never did.

We’re the worse for your leaving us, Peg. But there’s a coming home party and a bunch of your long-lost pals awaiting you where you’re going. 

Bill Rauch was the mayor of Beaufort from 1999-2008. Email Bill at TheRauchReport@gmail.com.

Who needs crosswords puzzles to stay sharp?

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By Lee Scott

There are numerous reports out today stating that seniors can stimulate their brains by completing crossword puzzles and playing games. These are called mental workouts and they push people to challenge themselves. 

However, it has come to my attention that I will never have to do another crossword puzzle again to keep my brain functioning.  All I have to do is drive a rental car, go into a new restaurant or use a public restroom.  

Let me explain. 

It happened recently with a rental car. Instead of a normal key, I was given a key fob. All I had to do was push a button to get the car started. Right away, I knew I would have to figure out where everything was in the car. 

The radio was placed nicely in the dashboard as normal, however, the controls were on a panel between my driver’s seat and the passenger seat. That meant instead of glancing straight ahead to change the station, I would have to look down at buttons and figure out how to change the station. I challenged myself to set it up before I left the parking lot. 

Crossword puzzle question: “What is a ten- letter word for frustrated?”

Answer: “Grrrrrrrrr!”

Then as I was driving away a voice said, “In one half mile take a left on Beach Road.” Oh dear, it was a navigation system. And she was talking over my newly programmed radio station giving me the weather update at precisely the same time. I pulled over and discovered the button controlling my radio, also had a NAV control switch. I shut her off.  

Crossword puzzle question: “What is a three-letter word for navigational system?”  

Answer: “Map.”

Next a stop is at a restaurant for lunch. There was obviously an automatic door, I know because it said, “automatic door.” But the question was: Do I walk right up to it and wait, or is there a button to push? Can I just push the door open?  

Then there are the public restrooms. Are you familiar with those sinks where you are not sure if you are just supposed to stick your hands under the faucet for water or are you supposed to push a button? Same problem with the soap dispensers? And do not get me started on those air machines where you stick your hands in and watch as your skin starts to flap.   

Yes, you can forget about the crossword puzzles. We now live in a world where automatic machines challenge us every day.  

At this rate, my body will run out way before my mind.

S.C. in the national spotlight

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By Richard Eckstrom

South Carolina has had a remarkable presence in the national spotlight lately:

• For a few months, the national titles in three major college sports belonged to S.C. teams – the outgoing champion Coastal Carolina Chanticleer baseball team as well as the reigning champion Clemson football and USC women’s basketball teams. And the USC men’s basketball program certainly gave fans a thrilling ride, making it to the Final Four for the first time ever.

• Debbie Antonelli, a Mount Pleasant resident and one of the nation’s top television basketball analysts, made national news when she was chosen as a commentator for this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament. She’s the first woman to call the tournament since 1995.

• In April, S.C. native and former USC golfer Wesley Bryan won his first PGA Tour victory at the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, securing a spot in the 2018 Masters. In his rise to prominence in the sport, he joins fellow South Carolinian and former Coastal Carolina golfer Dustin Johnson, currently ranked No. 1 in the world.

• Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow briefly played baseball for the Class A minor league Columbia Fireflies. In his very first at-bat in April, he hit a home run, making the night’s highlight reels and bringing a rare level of exposure to the second-year Fireflies team.

• In May, golfers from four S.C. colleges – Furman, College of Charleston, Clemson and USC – represented S.C. in the NCAA Division Women’s Golf Championships. Only California, which has five times as many schools as our state, had a larger presence at the tournament.

• In June, proud South Carolinian Darius Rucker celebrated his eighth No. 1 hit as a country performer.

• South Carolinians are leaving their mark on national politics, with three of our own occupying positions of tremendous influence in federal government: Nikki Haley as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Mick Mulvaney as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, and Congressman Trey Gowdy as chairman of the all-important House Oversight Committee.

Beyond headlines, there’s much value in seeing our home state represented on the national stage. It’s a source of pride, a boost in our shared self-image, a reminder of what’s possible. When people with whom we share a common bond achieve great things, it can inspire us to set high standards for ourselves.

I can remember a time, not long ago at all, when we were frequently told how outsiders looked down their noses at South Carolina. Political figures often spoke of needing to work to “change the perception” of our state. But if occupying the limelight is a measure of stature, I’d say South Carolina has much to be proud of – and much to be envied.

Richard Eckstrom is a CPA and the state’s comptroller.

Welcome to summer in the Sea Islands

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By Lee Scott

The other day while chatting with a friend on the phone, she wondered what I was up to and I said, “Enjoying this beautiful day.”  

“Where are you?” she asked. 

“At home,” I replied. 

To which she answered, “It is pouring rain here.” 

We only live about a mile apart.  

Welcome to summer in the Sea Islands! It happens a lot during these hot July and August days. When the weatherman says “50 percent chance of scattered showers,” he really means it. Scattered means it is going to rain somewhere.  

You may have noticed it when leaving sunny Beaufort and driving down to Bluffton. You start to see cars coming at you with their headlights on and windshield wipers going. Sure enough, rain. 

I have found it raining on one side of Sea Island Parkway, only to drive over Cowan Bridge and not a drop of rain has fallen. Sometimes it is torrential rain too, with the tires throwing off water higher than the car windows and I know if I can just get over the little bridge I will be out of it. 

Which brings me to planning a picnic or an outside barbecue. Relax. Do not cancel your summer party. It is probably going to rain at some point, or somewhere, but it just might not at all. 

It happened to us the other night while preparing to grill on our back porch.  We were looking out our window at the blue sky when we started to hear thunder. Then the waving American flag at the end of the dock shifted from the south to flying from the west. I looked out the front door. Sure enough, something was coming.  

We began our thunderstorm prep. We put the umbrella down and moved the dinnerware back into the house.  

It started to get dark, the wind howled, there was thunder and lightning, and then, nothing, not a drop of rain. Within a half an hour any evidence of a storm was gone. We should have known. 

We try to track some of these storms on the weather radar. If the storm is west of Hilton Head, they seem to skim Beaufort and miss us altogether. (although Edisto might get hammered). But these summer pop-up storms have a mind of their own. Let’s face it. When the thermometer hits 94 degrees there is a good chance that a storm will build up somewhere. 

The question is always, “Is it going to hit my house during my summer barbecue?” 

The answer is: It might. It might not. Let’s just say, you have a 50 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms today.

We must not lose sight of our common humanity

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Following is a joint op-ed from U.S. Reps. Mark Sanford, R-SC, and Jared Huffman, D-Calif.

In the wake of tragedy, Republicans and Democrats have historically set aside their differences, and come together to express kind words of sympathy and a sense that we should work together.  

The recent shooting at a Congressional baseball practice was no exception. In the days immediately following, no matter whether you tuned into CNN or MSNBC or Fox, you would see an odd-couple pair of legislators from both sides of the aisle, pledging to act in unity.  

Unfortunately, as the news cycle changes, so does the tone in Washington and that fleeting sense of cooperation sadly dissipates, replaced once again with overheated political rhetoric. 

The truth that no one can deny is that our country is divided on major political questions, and our national political debate reflects that fact. Many factors fan the flames of division and passion, and it’s hard for people to find common ground when the political climate surrounding them is so overheated.

Violent political rhetoric is nothing new, of course, and it’s not unique to our nation. But, we hope that the shooting in Alexandria might at least provide a teachable moment for us all to try and turn the temperature down a little bit. Maybe it can even remind us that we’re all batting on the same team and we all got into public service for the same reason – to help our communities and improve the lives of our neighbors.  

It shouldn’t take a shooting or another act of violence to bring us together and tone it down.  

As Vice President Mike Pence once said: “We cannot do democracy without a heavy dose of civility.”

And former Vice President Joe Biden, who was awarded Allegheny College’s Prize for Civility in Public Life last year, has made a similar argument in his speeches: “Consensus is necessary. ‘Compromise’ is not a dirty word.”

Of course, a more civil tone, and a search for consensus, doesn’t mean the end of disagreements. We will disagree on major and minor matters, but especially in these trying political times, we ought to be able to focus our arguments on these agreements and disagreements without losing sight of our common humanity.  

One reasoning we often hear on why bipartisanship has declined in Washington is that due to modern transportation, most members go back to their congressional districts to visit with their constituents every single week. Neither of us lives in Washington full time, and we have held 25 town hall meetings between us since the start of the year. That’s a good thing, but it does mean that we rarely see each other in neutral zones as regular people, living our lives.

We’re committed, though, to doing our part to create a climate of civility. It starts by taking the time to talk to each other, and to figure out what areas you can work on together. Recently, we sat down together to record an episode of “Off the Cuff w. Rep. Huffman,” where we got to discuss these very topics. 

Even a conservative Republican from South Carolina and a liberal Democrat from northern California can agree on plenty once you get past the rhetoric. In our coastal districts, for example, protecting the oceans for generations to come is a top priority. 

On July 4 we commemorated the declaration — and the war — that brought forth on this continent a new nation. We are challenging our colleagues and our constituents alike. 

Let’s set a better tone: Disagreement, protests, and sensational reporting are all part of the fabric of our country, and our nation has fought several wars over political and moral questions, but we don’t need to accept violent or dehumanizing rhetoric as normal political behavior today.

To end on a high note, we’d like to leave with you a quote from one of our great political leaders, John F. Kennedy: “So let us begin anew — remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate. Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.”

The ‘staycation’ is the best vacation of all

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By Lee Scott

Every year, millions of Americans plan their annual summer vacation. This adventure usually involves car travel, plus hotels or rental property. It might even mean visiting amusement parks or relatives. 

At the time of the long sought-after vacation, the car is loaded with food, clothing, children’s toys/electronics, beach chairs and other miscellaneous needs. 

Then after a fun-filled holiday it is time to load the car again and return home; sometimes exhausted and sunburned.  

And, for many people, it means heading back to work the next day. 

Ah yes, the annual vacation!

It did not take me long after starting a full-time job, while raising kids, to figure out that my all-time favorite vacation week was my “staycation.”

This was an entire week off from work where I could just stay in my own house for more than two days without being sick. Oh, the joy. Putting on shorts and T-shirts every morning, going to the pool and catching up on my reading from the pile of books stacked next to my bed.

What a treat to sit on the porch with a glass of iced tea and not have anything to do or have anywhere to go. 

The extra money I might have spent on hotels and restaurants went towards enjoying my own home and town. Seven days of not having to get up early, commute to work or go to bed exhausted. 

For the most part, we spent the sunny days at the pool. My kids could play with friends and I could unwind. On the rainy days, we would close the curtains and put in a Beta tape (yes, I did not have a VHS) watch some movies like “Goonies” and eat lots of popcorn with butter. We would treat ourselves to ice cream cones and pizza. By the end of the week, I would be rested up and more prepared for the work week ahead.

Looking back, I think the kids might have thought it was boring. They liked the trips to Disney World and the beach. 

But now they have children and jobs of their own and it does not sound so boring after all. I think they appreciate the cost of a staycation versus a normal vacation also. It is quite a difference. 

Even though I do not work full time anymore, I still require a staycation. One or two weeks where there are no projects in the house, no outside commitments and no long drives on the interstates. Just time to sit around in shorts and a T-shirt and read the books stacked up next to the bed.

My kids are so jealous! 

The Greenies are at the gates but interim solutions falter

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By Bill Rauch

Last week — which slipped by largely unnoticed — was a pivotal week in one of the great dramas of our time.

To begin the story modestly, driving home I noticed that one of my neighbors is installing solar panels on his roof. The word has also circulated recently that a solar farm is going in where there is now farmland at the end of the road. Sailing in the northeast last summer, we saw what was described as a highly successful wind farm off Block Island in the Long Island Sound. Driving through the west we saw wind farms that went on for miles.

Even SCE&G is now on board. They’re building a 6,156-panel solar farm on land adjacent to their headquarters in Cayce, according to a news release the company issued last week. The facility will come online in November, the company said.

Energy generation from sustainable sources is working.  And not just because of subsidies and tax breaks. The technologies, while continuing constantly to be improved, are now financially feasible.

But there’s still one big problem: when the wind dies, or the rains come, or night falls, the generators stop. And the technology that would permit the storing of sufficient energy — the batteries with the capacity to store and provide adequate power when the generators are off — power enough to energize our homes and businesses aren’t there yet. A Bloomberg New Energy Finance report published last week predicted $239 billion will be spent worldwide on lithium-ion batteries by 2040. This money will go largely to batteries we charge during peak times to power our homes and businesses and cars during the off-peak times, the report said.

Those technologies, when taken together — wind, solar, lithium-ion batteries — will begin to move us in a substantial way away from our current fossil fuel dependence.

But that is then and this is now.

The scientific community says in virtual unison that now is the time to get off the fossil fuels that provide inestimable comfort to our lives. Study after study finds there is a clear nexus between fossil fuel use and sea level rise. And the seas are demonstrably rising. Heeding the warnings, the Democrats in both the U.S. Senate and the California General Assembly are calling for a full transition to renewable energy sources. 

The greenies are at the gates.

Marked sea level rise threatens chaos in ways unimaginable. What if not chaos would result from the federal government, for example, announcing that in the out years FEMA won’t continue to offer flood insurance for oceanfront lots? Who of sound mind thinks the private sector might then step in to save the day? How many trillions in real estate values would be lost that day? And that’s just in the USA.

Regrettably wind and solar — now each growing like gangbusters — aren’t ready yet to pick up the slack. Neither certainly is their infant clean energy cousin, biothermal.

That leaves clean coal and nuclear that might provide the clean bridge to the clean future, which is what prompted me to write about this subject today. Their respective prospects each took a beating last week.

South Carolina Electric and Gas (SCE&G) and its partner, Santee Cooper, are billions of dollars over budget and only about 38 percent complete at their jointly-owned state-of-the-art V.C.Sumner 1&2 nuclear plants near Jenkinsville in the Midlands. SCE&G has already raised their rates across the board by about 20 percent to pay for the beleaguered project. The company’s customers (us) now pay more for a kilowatt hour of electricity than any other public electrical utility customers this side of Las Vegas. To make things worse, now SCE&G and Santee Cooper’s contractor for the project, The Westinghouse Electric Company, recently sought bankruptcy protection. SCE&G and Santee Cooper told the Public Service Commission last week that they’ll take until Aug. 10 to decide whether to go it alone building the two new reactors, or scale the project back to one new reactor, or scuttle it altogether.

The company’s customers have already pitched in $1.4 billion of the $7.7 billion they (we) are now scheduled to pay under a recently-negotiated settlement agreement. If the utilities scrap the project, that money (our money) is gone. It was invested in a dinosaur farm. 

Meanwhile, last week the largest “clean coal” facility in the U.S. announced it would no longer burn coal to generate electricity, and that it would instead power the plant with natural gas. The Southern Company and Mississippi Power, the plant’s owners, will not turn on the “coal gasification” portion of their long-heralded Kemper County Power Plant, the companies said in a joint statement. This was the technology that was supposed to make coal clean. Now gone like the dinosaurs.

So if nuclear and clean coal aren’t going to provide the needed cleaner bridge to the future, what might?

Last week it was also announced that dichloromethane levels have doubled in the stratosphere since 2004. 

What are they and why do they matter?

Dichloromethanes are the little-regulated active ingredient in adhesives and industrial strength solvents that are used for stripping paint and degreasing kitchen, factory and automotive equipment. According to a British study reported on last week in the scientific journal Nature Communications, the dichloromethane gasses that are released when these adhesives and solvents are used both deplete the ozone layer (which had been reportedly healing itself as of late) and — the study says — they also trap heat in the atmosphere that contributes significantly to global warming.

Since wrestling the chlorofluorocarbons to the ground at the beginning of this century, we’ve needed a new villain, a villain less central to our collective comfort than are the fossil fuels. Dichloromethanes may be it. Limiting their use might help buy some of the time needed to improve, build and distribute the batteries so that the energy derived from wind and solar can be stored.

Maybe there’s still hope we’ll avoid the chaos.

It was plenty hot enough in Beaufort last week. We lathered the boys in SPF 50 sunblock before they went off to their soccer camp. And, yes, the tides seeping silently up into the yard were plenty high enough too. 

Bill Rauch was the mayor of Beaufort from 1999-2008. Email Bill at TheRauchReport@gmail.com.

Remember those who served this July 4

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Lee Scott’s grandchildren look at the plaques on the Columbarium at Arlington National Cemetery. Photo by Lee Scott.
Lee Scott’s grandchildren look at the plaques on the Columbarium at Arlington National Cemetery. Photo by Lee Scott.

By Lee Scott

Two years ago, I wrote about going to visit my father at Arlington National Cemetery. This year, for the first time, I took my four grandchildren. Their great-grandfather is buried at the Columbarium in Arlington. 

As we sat there on the bench looking at Dad’s headstone, the questions started.  

“Why is he in such a little box?” 

“What about a coffin?” 

“Who are all these other people?” 

“What does Tec SPC mean?” 

I turned to my daughter, Faith, and daughter-in-law, Pam, and said, “Your turn.”  

They answered their questions and told stories about my father. After a while the kids started to walk around and look at all the names of other soldiers. They were curious as to the ones who died young and the ones who were very old.

Then they came back to me and asked, “Why is there a cross over great-grandpa’s name?” I explained that he was a Christian.  

“But why,” they asked, “are there so many different crosses and what are these other symbols?” 

I got up and looked. They were right. I had never noticed before. 

I started to point out, Methodist, Lutheran and Episcopal. Then I realized I did not recognize other symbols.   

Pam found a list of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs approved “emblems of belief” that are available. As the kids walked around they found Judaism, Hindu and other faith symbols.  

We all discovered it does not matter which faith symbol hangs over the name. The soldiers’ common bond was belief that the United States of America was worth defending and despite their differences, they came together. 

On the way back home to Beaufort, I drove by the Beaufort National Cemetery on Boundary Street. Turns out, you do not have to drive all the way to Arlington to visit a National Cemetery.  You may have noticed burials going on there sometimes.   

I went into the cemetery and met John Williams, a retired Marine and one of the volunteers. He explained that in the cemetery there are soldiers who fought on both sides of the Civil War along with many others who later served to defend America.    

So, before you attend your Fourth of July barbecue and before you attend the fireworks, you may want to visit Beaufort National Cemetery. It is a good reminder of all those soldiers who have served their country. 

And while you are at it, try to take some children with you. It is important they understand early about what fighting for our freedom means. But, be prepared, you may have to answer a lot of questions. 

Happy Fourth of July! 

Plan is offered for future of Lady’s Island

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By Chuck Newton 

On June 28, the Sea Island Corridor Coalition and SC Coastal Conservation League released their long-awaited report, “Designing a Future For Lady’s Island: A Community Guide To Growth Management.”

This 16-page report pulls together the thinking of more than 400 residents of Lady’s Island who participated in a community forum on Feb. 23, and the work of another 125 residents in nine “mapping” workshops during March that began to define what is in keeping with the island’s character.

Given this turnout and the enthusiasm that accompanied it, it should be clear that citizens on Lady’s Island are concerned that the future of their community is in limbo.

The South Carolina Lowcountry offers one of the most in-demand landscapes in America. Population in Beaufort County alone is expected to increase 52 percent by 2025, from 172,000 in 2013 to 261,000. 

If left to chance, population growth will lead to suburban sprawl – a growth pattern that destroys farms, wetlands and forests; degrades waterways; pollutes the air; reduces wildlife habitat; and jeopardizes public health and safety. 

Indirect effects include traffic congestion, less time outside and escalating costs to local governments of providing services, like roads, water and sewer. 

The result of suburban sprawl is almost always the loss of sense of community. 

But Beaufort County and the city of Beaufort are in a good position to plan for growth in a manner that not only accommodates a growing population, but also enhances the existing natural, built and cultural assets and communities of the Lowcountry.

And no place needs a thoughtful vision and plan more than Lady’s Island. 

Located on Beaufort County’s urban/suburban boundary and parceled among myriad jurisdictions, Lady’s Island is at risk of slipping through the comprehensive planning cracks.

In 1970, 1,995 residents called Lady’s Island home. By 1980, population grew to 3,120. Today, Lady’s Island population is 12,500 and climbing. Recent growth pressures presented themselves as a handful of development proposals, with several projects (Walmart and Oyster Bluff specifically) provoking a community outcry that these developments were not in keeping with the character of the island. 

To be able to ensure the character and livability of Lady’s Island, community participants articulated five essential principles they believe should guide future development decisions:

• Inspired Development: Inspired, functional patterns of development within the developed areas of Lady’s Island that support small businesses, new residents and community interaction. 

• Connected Transportation: An integrated transportation network that includes bicycles, pedestrians and cars and allows for future public transit.

• Character Enhancement: Retention of the island’s character and support that advances a vibrant rural community with healthy farms, wetlands and waterways. 

• Sunlight & Predictability: A fully transparent, predictable development process for future growth that is collaborative across jurisdictional boundaries will support a community-specific plan rather than developer-initiated, piecemeal developments.

• Meaningful Community Involvement: A concerned, educated and engaged citizenry that works toward solutions alongside experts and elected officials.

“Designing A Future For Lady’s Island” is a beginning, not an end. The community hopes this document serves as a starting point and guidance for leadership to act, creating a comprehensive vision and growth plan for Lady’s Island, and making the decisions to make it happen. 

As plans evolve into action, citizens will continue to participate in the process. 

This forum will be a true success if residents, developers, professionals and elected officials recognize these five principles as guideposts for future growth and a holistic way to view upcoming plans, development proposals and ideas.  

This work is not the singular responsibility of any one entity – public or private. As stated above, there is a pubic expectation that governments will begin to work more closely together, that developers will work to the public benefit as well as their own, that the public will continue to be engaged, and that the result will be a Lady’s Island we can point to with unique pride of place.

The complete Designing A Future For Lady’s Island report, together with a number of supporting documents, can be seen online at www.designingladysisland.com

Chuck Newton is affiliated with the Sea Island Corridor Coalition.

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