The First Green Developer

An aerial view of Ocean City, Maryland, showing typical coastal development.

7 Responses

  1. Doug Weaver says:

    40 year resident of Hilton Head responds and disagrees with Mr Bryan’s statement from above , included here …The Sea Pines model is troubling for another reason. Beautiful scenery exists behind the gates of vacation communities—called “plantations” on Hilton Head—but many people cannot afford to enjoy these places. Fraser often talked about how he wanted everyone to enjoy Sea Pines, but the company’s business model used scenery to market Sea Pines to wealthy retirees and vacationers. Like Sea Pines, green communities are still enclaves for the wealthy, which undercuts their effectiveness in serving all but this select group. —- in 2017 , All income levels Enjoy Sea Pines and Hilton Head Island . The gates are open and people are inspired by their visits to return to their communities and blend natural population growth and development demands with nature. This is what Mr Fraser wanted. I can provide many examples of low income housing, parks and all commercial development that have blended growth with nature on Hilton Head Island. I invite to visit and take a tour .

    • William Bryan says:

      Doug: I appreciate your comments on my essay. One of the difficult issues at Hilton Head and other similar resort towns is the way that low-density development often exists in tension with open public access and affordable housing. With only about 1,400 affordable housing units and the threat of redevelopment into higher-income properties hanging over some of these, Hilton Head is currently struggling to provide enough housing even for its daily workers. Off Hilton Head Island, the coastal real estate boom is pricing long-time residents out of places like Bluffton—a process that has played out time and again on the Carolina coast—and there has too often been a NIMBY attitude that hinders the construction of new affordable housing. Lowcountry news outlets have covered these issues extensively, especially since 2015. This important series of articles by the Island Packet provides a good overview:

      Compounding these problems is a lack of public transportation (unless you’re staying at a resort on the island), restrictions on accessing the beach from private developments, and limited parking for the island’s free public beach access points. These issues make it very difficult for low-income families to enjoy the amenities of Hilton Head Island—even if they are technically open to the public.

      Making Hilton Head Island truly open to people of all income levels should be a priority. The continued success of the island’s economy hinges on it, and Hilton Head has an opportunity to show that income should not dictate who has access to the natural amenities that make South Carolina’s coast so appealing.

      But doing this successfully is going to take a lot more serious thinking about how to balance low-density development and environmental protection with equitable access for low-income people. So far, developers and policy makers in the Lowcountry have not found the right balance.

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