News

BY TONY KUKULICH | MONTHLY FILE PHOTOS

Growth, development and workforce housing are hot topics on Hilton Head Island, and possible projects are having an impact on the area.

The owners of a beloved business, Driftwood Stable, announced their plans to cease operations at their Jonesville Road location by the end of the year. Sisters Sondra and Marlene Makowski have operated the business, one of only two such operations on Hilton Head, for five years. They were notified by their landlord of his intention to sell the property.

An updated ordinance that Hilton Head Island Town Council passed will allow dogs to be on island beaches without a leash during designated times. The ordinance aligns with an animal control ordinance Beaufort County adopted with an exception to let the dogs run freely along the shore.

LaVerne Stewart, who teaches English Language Arts at Hilton Head Island Middle School, was named Beaufort County’s 2022-2023 District Teacher of the Year. Stewart has 22 years of teaching experience. The four other finalists were Kinsey Butler at Bluffton Middle School; Justine Hardy at Battery Creek High School; Karri Kearns at May River High School; and Jennifer Lyles at Coosa Elementary School. Stewart’s mother, Vernell Speaks-Stewart, was also a seventh-grade ELA educator in Beaufort County.

Municipalities in Beaufort and Jasper counties have created a regional housing consortium and have pledged $3.4 million to kick start the initiative. A Housing Trust Fund is established to support the production and preservation of affordable housing for the area’s teachers, law enforcement, first responders, cooks, and other service industry jobs.

The effects of Hurricane Ian were felt in the Lowcountry, but it did not directly hit the area, and there were no major impact, according to officials. Town of Hilton Head said Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue responded to six downed trees with no injuries or significant damage. Sustained winds of 38 miles per hour and gusts of 52 miles per hour were recorded on Hilton Head Island. Beaufort County saw about 1.5 inches of rain. The storm strengthened (Category 1) as it reached the Charleston area, bringing about eight inches of rain.

A 1.78-acre site at May River Road is the new designated spot for more affordable homes thanks to a new public-private partnership between the town of Bluffton and developer Workforce State of Mind LLC. The homes will be affordable and reserved for those who are income-qualified, regardless of market values, for 30 years, a news release said. Bill Herbkersman, managing member of Workforce State of Mind, says while the need is immediate, the project is currently in the design stage.

The Town of Bluffton plans to host its 51st annual Bluffton Christmas Parade through Bluffton’s Historic District, Dec. 3 at 10 a.m. The tree lighting ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at Martin Family Park, followed by Santa’s Workshop at DuBois Park’s Pavilion. The movie, “The Grinch,” will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Martin Family Park. The Town asks parade entrants to give a donation to the Bluffton Lutzie 43 Charitable Fund, in lieu of a parade entry fee. The deadline for parade applications is Nov. 11.

Renovations and a DHEC inspection on the Bluffton Pool on Pritchard Street were completed, which led to its re-opening in mid-October. The repairs cost $900,000, which included replacing the roof panels and structural roof clips that hold the roof to the structural beams. An anti-corrosive paint was added along with replacing the lighting over the pool. The pool had been closed since earlier this year after an initial inspection showed damage that “created a high probability that the roof structure would fail in the event of high winds or heavy rainfall,” a news release said.

Lowcountry voters will head to the polls on Nov. 8. Hilton Head Island voters will choose a new mayor and there are council races. There are also Beaufort County school board and council races. For a sample ballot specific to your district, visit scvotes.org and click “Get My Sample Ballot.”