Lady's Island FAQs

 Over the past few years we have addressed, in our newsletter, a variety of issues affecting Lady’s Island. Thanks to your support and promotion of LIBPA we have recently gained many new members. Following are some of the questions and answers addressed in past issues of the newsletter and provided for our newer members.

Why doesn’t Lady’s Island incorporate and control its own destiny?  In the past, South Carolina law prohibited incorporation within 5 miles of an existing municipality unless you had a population of 15,000 residents. On May 25, 2005 a law was passed to reduce the number of residents required to 7,000 (Lady’s Island population is approximately 12,000). So in regard to the number of residents Lady’s Island could qualify for incorporation. The challenge to the residents of Lady’s Island is to determine what is in the communities best interest – stay unincorporated, become a city or annex into the City of Beaufort.

Who can annex property on Lady’s Island?  The City of Beaufort is the only municipality presently focused on annexation efforts on Lady’s Island. After lawsuits and threats of lawsuits between the city of Beaufort and the City of Port Royal as to who could annex property on Lady’s Island they came to a gentleman’s agreement. The agreement basically gave annexation rights in the direction of Shell Point to Port Royal and all of Lady’s Island to the City of Beaufort.

Could my home on Lady’s Island be annexed into the City of Beaufort?  It is possible, in some cases, if your home is located on the water, but not probable. Private homes cost a municipality more money to provide the homeowners with services than the average individual home actually pays in taxes.

I live in an existing development and the roads need to be paved. Who is responsible for repaving existing roads in the older developments? If the development was completed prior to 1991 the State Department of Transportation is responsible and their funds for such projects are extremely limited. After 1991 the county accepted responsibility for the roads in developments and schedules their repair or re-pavement based on the status of the roads.
Will there ever be a northern bridge from Lady's Island to the Port Royal Island? With an estimated cost of ($148 million) a northern bridge to Lady’s Island will not become a reality easily. The 2007 1% sales tax referendum authorized expenditure of $6 million for the purpose of (a) validating the need for such a bridge/bypass route and (b) if justified by the study then determine the route such a road and bridge should take. This project at the present time poses more questions than answers but anything is possible.

Can I get sewer to my home or business? Depending on the location of your home or business, in relation to existing sewer, the answer is possibly. Beaufort Jasper Water and Sewer Authority is always happy to look at your specific case and provide an answer.

How long will it take to get a permit to build a commercial building? Regardless of whether the property is in the city of Beaufort or the county you should plan on 3 to 6 months from your initial application until you receive a building permit.
I want to put up a sign for my business. How do I find out what type is allowed? Call LIBPA member Frank Bailey, owner of Spectrum, Graphic Arts Center (525-0606). Frank is always happy to provide general information regarding signs to fellow LIBPA members.

What are the types of zoning on Lady's Island? First it should be noted that the zoning on our island is unique in that under the Community Preservation concept the zoning is designed specifically for our island by the residents of our island. The City of Beaufort fully supports the zoning and when annexation occurs the basic zoning remains the same with only very minor variations. The basic types of zoning are:

Village Center (Woods Bridge along Hwy 21 to the Lady’s Island Middle School) - Primarily commercial and encourages new construction to be closer to the sidewalk.

Professional Business Office District (McTeer Bridge to the intersection of Sams Point and Miller Road) - A variety of low intensity commercial uses but primarily business offices.

Expanded Home Business (Starts at the intersection of Miller Road and Sams Point Road to the intersection of Brickyard Point Road and Sams Point Road) – This zoning allows those homes within 500 feet of the new road to be utilized for either residential or very specific, low intensity commercial uses. Examples include medical offices, contractor’s offices, accountants and similar uses. The homes may be renovated but must retain a residential appearance.

Community Preservation – This is the residential part of the island and limits new home construction to two homes per acre.

Neighborhood Activity Center - This is a site located at the intersection of Middle Road and Springfield Road designated for future commercial use as the population of our island reaches the point of requiring a commercial site other than the Village Center. Its location was selected to be centrally located near existing and future communities and thus reduce future traffic on Sams Point Road.

Rural – The northern part of the island to include 646 acres under conservation easement. Other than the property under conservation easement which will not be developed, the remainder is limited to a density of one home per three acres.

Redevelopment District: This is an “overlay” type of zoning that delineates the residential area in the vicinity of the commercial portion of the Village Center that has deteriorated over the years and is designed to promote residential development. This zoning allows increased density and a streamlined permitting process.

Where can I get rid of yard waste? The most obvious location is the drop off center near the airport, although the new safety bars make offloading the material a real challenge. An alternate possibility is Barnwell Resources, Inc. located on Brickyard Point Road near the intersection with Middle Road. Barnwell Resources, Inc., which is the only permitted landfill in Beaufort County, accepts yard waste from private residents without cost to the individual resident. Your Beaufort County taxes pays for the cost of disposal at either site.

Why are the streets along Highway 21 often dirty and with grass growing in the sidewalks? Will the streets and sidewalks on Sams Point Road be faced with the same problem? This is an amazing example of passing the buck. The State Department of Transportation builds the road and the sidewalk and thus technically owns them. Due to limited state funds DOT will cut the grass along the road when it gets over 8 inches high. Twice a year during the spring and summer they will spray herbicide on the sidewalk to kill the grass. They have one street sweeper for a very large area and it cannot sweep all the streets and highways under DOT control. The City of Beaufort will provide some maintenance on both the streets and the sidewalks if the property which is directly adjacent to the sidewalk has been annexed into the City. In all fairness to the City of Beaufort, the cleanliness of the streets and sidewalks within their annexed portion of the Village have really improved over the recent months thanks to their support. The County says the streets and the sidewalks belong to the state and are not their responsibility. LIBPA has recently requested the City, County and State jointly attack this problem. Until this is done our roads and sidewalks will continue to be an embarrassment.

Why do we have such tall utility poles along the construction portion of Sams Point Road? SCE&G looked at the past electrical power consumption for Lady’s Island and found we were increasing our demand for electricity on Lady’s Island by 10% each year. To cope with this increasing demand SCE&G will provide a larger transmission line down Sams Point Road to the intersection of Brickyard Point Road. The new transmission line will be capable of providing 250% more electrical power than the present system. However, to provide both transmission lines and distributions lines requires taller poles. The poles are 85 foot tall.