Tens of thousands have signed petitions and hundreds have denounced the luxury, gated golf resort plans for Pine Island. A community rally was hosted with hundreds of attendees, as well as an event to celebrate the reaffirmation of the Cultural Protection Overlay. The people have spoken loud and clear. The following mistruths and myths fly in the face of their message.

THE MISTRUTH: A Gated Golf Course is Harmless

  • THE MYTH: A luxury, gated golf course resort development will not lead to land loss or rising property taxes.
  • THE TRUTH: Resorts, golf courses, and coastal suburban development on South Carolina Sea Islands have historically led to steadily increasing property values and skyrocketing taxes that displace traditional communities. 
  • THE MYTH: Allowing for one luxury, gated golf course will not have repercussions across St. Helena Island.
  • THE TRUTH: Creating a special exception for one property from the Cultural Protection Overlay sets a dangerous precedent that will inevitably lead to future rezoning requests.
  • THE MYTH: The community will benefit economically from new jobs linked to a luxury gated, golf course development.
  • THE TRUTH: These are low paying service jobs with bad hours, usually filled by non-residents, with limited upward mobility. 
  • THE MYTH: Golf courses are open space and they are good for the environment.
  • THE TRUTH: Developing a golf course will require clearing trees, increase runoff rates, require heavy watering, and introduce fertilizers and pesticides into the environment. Stormwater ponds on coastal golf courses have been linked to harmful algal blooms. Wildlife will be displaced from the development of this property. 
  • THE MYTH: The luxury, gated golf development plans will pay respect to the cultural and historic significance of the site, including archeology and architectural resources. 
  • THE TRUTH: A gated golf course and resort development would eliminate the opportunity to interpret the site in its historic context.

THE MISTRUTH: A Gated Golf Course is the Only Option

  • THE MYTH: The developer will build something far worse if we do not accept the luxury golf course proposal. 
  • THE TRUTH: The likelihood of this happening is small. Any large residential development would take many years to build out and require extensive permitting review from multiple local, state, and federal entities. These permit decisions can take years and often face lengthy and significant legal challenges. 
  • THE MYTH: A gated golf course neighborhood with 66 homes is better than a large residential subdivision with 166 homes. There are no other choices besides an exclusive, luxury gated golf resort community and large residential subdivision. 
  • THE TRUTH: Neither a golf course or large subdivision are good options, and we should not have to choose between two bad choices. There is a third and better option: conservation. This would ensure full public access to this important property that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 
  • THE MYTH: A luxury, gated golf community is the “highest and best use” for the Pine Island Property.
  • THE TRUTH: The property could be celebrated by the entire community and used for passive recreation and or historic interpretation. 

THE MISTRUTH Pine Island Does Not Belong in the CPO

  • THE MYTH: Pine Island is a “non-conforming use” which should have never been included in the Cultural Protection Overlay boundaries.
  • THE TRUTH: Pine Island was purposely included in the CPO boundaries. It is not developed in the same pattern as Fripp Island, Dataw, and Harbor Island, which were never included and were developed prior to the adoption of the Cultural Protection Overlay in 1999. 
  • THE MYTH: Pine Island is grandfathered into CPO because it has been gated for private recreational use for 150 years.
  • THE TRUTH: Pine Island is not a gated community just because there is a cattle fence across the property. The property’s history as a retreat for hunting and fishing is consistent with many other properties that are contained within the CPO’s boundaries.