Hilton Head City Council debates development of new community park or workforce housing

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WSAV) – This is an issue that has been debated for years, and now the problem of workforce housing on Hilton Head Island will once again be before the municipal Council.

This while some leaders want to modify the plans of an old golf course. The signs are already in place on what was once the Planter’s Row golf course. Future home of a Hilton Head community park. And people are already using the area for that.

But the question is, does Hilton Head Island need an additional 103 acres of parkland or is a more significant workforce housing development?

“It’s going to be a big park,” said Hilton Head Councilman Alex Brown. “So why not have such a beautiful park and have people around who can enjoy it and who live nearby.”

Brown says a proposal from fellow councilor David Aames to turn 20 acres of property off Dillon Road and Union Cemetery Road into workforce housing.

“I don’t neglect what we want to do with the park. But housing is a crisis,” Brown said.

According to a 2019 housing study, neighborhoods were expected to have 2,000 homes over the next decade. But a city-led density bonus for developers, allowing them to put more homes on the lot, hasn’t led to a single project so far.

“I’m not sure you’d have much success with developers coming to Hilton Head saying if you want to build on Hilton Head Island, I’ll double your density, I’ll build you affordable housing,” Brown said. . “Because the rent structure will prevent you from having the price of the land and more.”

Brown thinks the price is only part of the problem. He said the whole community and the council itself needed to take a different attitude to bring about change.

“It’s going to take public-private partnerships, that’s what it will come back to and we have to be ready to sign a deal when it’s a good deal and not just delay because maybe the community has gotten into an uproar. for some reason because they don’t want it in their backyard,” Brown said.

According to a city study two years ago, more than 80% of rentals were over $1,500 a month, when the average salary was $1,200.