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Despite protests from several community members concerned about the environment, Port Royal Town Council Wednesday agreed to give owners of 382 acres five more years to develop the property.
Approved in 2001, the Trask Development Agreement includes land near both Shell Point Elementary School and Robert Smalls Parkway.
The land was part of dozens of properties annexed into Port Royal in the early 2000s. Development plans came crashing down with the economy.
Barbara Stanley of Shell Point was one of the residents concerned about building too many houses on the land and the environmental impact that would come with it.
She said the proposed form-base code being developed in Beaufort County should apply to the land. That code focuses more on buildings' appearances than use.
The agreement extension means the proposed code changes will not apply to the land.
"I think we should thank God that the (form-based) plans were developed with expertise, time and money and should be in place before any more random development put the beauty, health and safety of our community at risk," Stanley said.
Councilman Joe Lee said he would rather have areas of dense development away from the rivers and streams where they will have less impact on the environment.
"I would rather have those 100 homes in Shadow Moss (in Burton) than those 100 homes in the port area. It's too fragile," he said.
George Trask, one of the land's owners, said the agreement helps in soliciting developers because it provides stability as far as code restrictions.
"I think this is your absolute best opportunity to have good, upscale, positive development in the area," he said.
David Tedder, attorney for the owners, pointed out the changes owners voluntarily made to the agreement, including paying higher building fees and additional stormwater drainage regulations. The two significant developments on the land -- Ashton Point and Shadow Moss -- boosted Port Royal's tax base by about $35 million, he said.
Follow reporter Erin Moody