A test run?

Only dune walkovers, swimming pools allowed at one beach

November 20, 2008 

Hilton Head Island already has its own development rules on one of its most congested beaches.

Officials imposed restrictions at Forest Beach about two years ago to keep buildings from being built too close to the water. People can build dune walkovers and, in some cases, swimming pools near the beach but not new buildings.

Some call the rules a test run for what the council is considering next: applying laws that are stricter than the state’s to the entire island.

Not everyone is happy with the rules at Forest Beach.

Mike Notartomaso says the state has been fair in its regulation of development, but the town went too far in 2006.

His family has lost thousands of dollars, he said, because it can’t build a condominium complex on about eight acres of property. The site once was home to the landmark Adventure Inn.

“I think the state’s approach is reasonable and fairly neutral,” he said. “I’m all for responsible development on the coast, and I think there are certainly limits on what you can do. But I am opposed to the town imposing standards that are so much stricter.”

Hilton Head Mayor Tom Peeples said people should not use the town’s renourishment projects as a reason for building closer to the sea.

“The shoreline comes and goes, and it is not constant. It just seems foolhardy to be moving out toward the ocean,” Peeples said.

— Sammy Fretwell

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