Stopping Destructionment on the SC Sea Islands in the Gullah/Geechee Nation

Tune in to this week’s episode of Gullah/Geechee Riddim Radio as Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) puts out a call to action to attend the following meetings:

Charleston County Council at 6 pm Tuesday, October 8, 2019 to OPPOSE the BOLT Planned Unit Development that is proposed for Wadmalaw Island, SC

Penn Center at Frissell Community House on historic St. Helena Island, SC in the Gullah/Geechee Nation for a community discussion about the feasibility study for Penn Center, Inc. at 6 pm Tuesday, October 8, 2019

St. Helena Branch Library Community Meeting to OPPOSE the proposed Bay Point Development on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at 6 pm

Image courtesy of Richard D. Porcher and SouthWing

On the broadcast, Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) provided information on how the global community can stand with natives of the Sea Islands of the Gullah/Geechee Nation against destructionment attempts at Bay Point off St. Helena Island and on Wadamalaw Island, SC. These are two of the major Gullah/Geechee communities of the South Carolina Sea Islands.

There is a continuing on-slaught of attempts to displace Gullah/Geechees via the rezoning and annexation methods that are being attempted in these two cases. The Gullah/Geechees OPPOSE these current endeavors that will be focused on at meetings over the next two Tuesdays.

Tune een ta Gullah/Geechee Riddim Radio fa yeddi how hunnuh kin help!

Standing Up Against Sea Island Destructionment in the Gullah/Geechee Nation! 10/07 by GullahGeechee Riddim | Culture

https://www.blogtalkradio.com/gullahgeechee/2019/10/07/standing-up-against-sea-island-destructionment-in-the-gullahgeechee-nation


Help Stop Planned Urban Development on Wadmalaw Island

What: Upcoming County Council Public Hearing regarding Bolt Farm Treehouse Proposed Planned Development

When: Tuesday October 8, 2019 @ 6:00 PM

​Where: Charleston County Council Chambers

2nd Floor, Lonnie Hamilton, III Public Services Building

4045 Bridge View Drive, North Charleston, SC

What’s going on next to the Charleston Tea Plantation?

2017: Bolt Tree Farm LLC bought 34 Acres of agricultural land for $580,000. The Bolts publicly claim they were unaware of the Short-Term Rental (STR) regulations and they had no plans to use the luxury treehouses that they built there for commercial purposes.  However, they rent these treehouses to those coming for bed and breakfast stays.

2018: Charleston County Council passed the new Short-Term Rental (STR) regulations. They had researched and planned for 2 years to come up with rules that would help balance residential life, historical preservation and tourism.

AG-15 properties are allowed to rent two dwellings for 72 nights per year (total, not each) and the property must be owner occupied, which it is NOT Currently, the Bolts have 4 treehouses on the property and a storage container. There are two STR permits for two of the treehouses for rentals on the property.

2019:  A zoning map amendment application for a Planned Development (PD) was submitted to Charleston County Planning Department as a means to circumvent the STR regulations. The Bolt Farm PD-171 is requesting to allow:

  • unlimited rental nights for up to 7 dwelling units per year
  • property not required to be owner occupied
  • a manufactured mobile unit to be used as a dwelling unit for staff
  • two storage containers
  • 25 special events per year limited to 99 guests, not including third party vendors and temporary structures such as tent structures

How are they going to build and rent all of those “Treehouses” full-time?

The business is going to seek approval from Charleston County council to rezone the land from agricultural to commercial. They have already submitted a Planned Development Application. Currently the Bolts continue to rent the units (2 with permits, 2 without, through their 200 THOUSAND followers Instagram, and Instagram influencers with millions of followers collectively. Exposing Wadmalaw to hundreds of thousands of people daily.  

Why is that important? 

If accepted, this would allow a 365-day full time hotel operation right down the street. Current rules are in place to protect and preserve the beautiful and unique qualities of our Sea Island community. If they can change the zoning, what stops the next group from coming in and building another resort? Will they build more rental units in the future or is this it?

What can we do about it? 

1. Attend the public county council hearing on October 8th and voice your opinion and concerns to people who can make a difference. 2. Write a letter or send an email: 

Letters or emails concerning PD-171, Bolt Farm should be submitted to County Council prior to October 8.  Please send emails to ​Kristen Salisbury ksalisbury@charlestoncounty.org

3. Spread the word, tell your neighbors and family to sign this petition and come out to the meeting:

https://www.change.org/p/charleston-county-council-deny-bolt-application-for-rezoning-land 

______________________________________________________________________________

Help Stop the Bay Point Development in Beaufort County, near historic St. Helena Island

What: Upcoming Beaufort County Community Meeting regarding the proposed plans for a resort on Bay Point

When: Tuesday October 15, 2019 @ 6:00 PM

​Where: St. Helena Branch Library

6355 Jonathan Francis Road

St. Helena Island, SC

What is at risk for St. Helena Island’s Gullah/Geechee community?

St. Helena Island, SC is in the unincorporated area of Beaufort County, SC and is a predominantly Gullah/Geechee community. Community members have used Bay Point as a fishing area and have witnessed the thousands of birds that nest there and the hundreds of loggerhead turtles that nest there annually. This area is a natural preserve on the Beaufort County zoning map and is critical to the ecological balance that this rich cultural community continues to fight to maintain.

What is at risk for Beaufort County?

The financial cost of a development or destructionment zone being placed at Bay Point will be significant and those cost will get passed on to tax payers in the county especially those in the unincorporated areas since the Town of Hilton Head and the Town of Port Royal have already rejected annexing this property next to historic St. Helena Island’s Land’s End community from being annexed into their townships. If this destructionment project is allowed to be built, millions of dollars will be needed to renourish this highly erosional area in order to attempt to keep the shoreline in tact. This shoreline has been changed dramatically with each of the tropical storms and hurricanes that have come through over the three years that this project has been proposed.

The county would also be responsible for repairing or removing existing structures that the developer / destructioneer builds if the project fails or is damaged. The county would have to find a way to bring emergency services i.e. fire, police, and EMT to this location that is not accessible by bridge if something happened to the guest there. It would take a minimum of 1 hour for them to do that. Thus, human lives would be at stake.

What can you do?

  1. Sign and share this petition in opposition to this destructionment:

https://www.change.org/p/beaufort-county-council-stop-bay-point-destructionment-at-st-helena-island-in-the-gullah-geechee-nation

2. Come out to the meeting and stand up with the Gullah/Geechee citizens against this destructionment!

Tenki Tenki fa standin wid we @GullahGeechee!


Join the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition to help continue to work against the destruction of the Gullah/Geechee Nation!

www.GullahGeechee.net

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