There are more than a few reasons to vote YES for this important bond referendum starting with a simple statement: The opportunity to protect our critical waterways and preserve open space is an investment in our future.
A YES VOTE will provide residents of Beaufort County an exceptional and easy means to help preserve for themselves and future generations the environmental beauty, quality of life and heritage that make living here so worthwhile. Not only will it provide further safeguards to our myriad creeks, streams and rivers, but also the sensitive estuaries that line both Port Royal Sound and Calibogue Sound. It will also protect from overdevelopment in certain sectors of our county that developers have been eyeing for both residential and commercial construction purposes, thereby helping to alleviate some pressure on our school system, roadways and other tax supported infrastructure.
LETS LOOK AT SOME HISTORY
The Beaufort County Rural and Critical Lands Preservation Program has become an essential component to maintaining the unique character of our county and the quality of life it provides.
In this regard Beaufort County Council recognized in 1999 that rapid population and commercial growth across many parts of the county was beginning to endanger not only the pristine and critical waterways unique to our region but also the very essence of what makes Beaufort County so special.
County Council therefore launched the Rural and Critical Lands Program, and in 2002 the first $40 million bond referendum to fund land purchases was passed with tremendous citizen support. Three additional referenda followed over the next 15 years, including the 2014 referenda for $20 million to fund land purchases and park improvements including the most recent Whitehall Park overlooking the Beaufort River. The four referenda have received overwhelming public support, with the most recent 2014 Referendum getting over 70% of the vote. By 2017 the Program had completed 104 land protection projects preserving in total 23,869 acres through fee simple purchase or conservation easements.
In 2002, the first $40 million bond referendum to fund land purchases was passed with tremendous support. Three additional successful referenda followed over the next 15 years, including the 2014 referendum for $20 million to fund land purchases and park improvements. The four referenda have been overwhelmingly supported by the citizens of Beaufort County with the last referendum approval at over 70%. By 2017, the Program completed 104 land protection projects, preserving in total 23,869 acres through fee simple purchase (79) or conservation easements (35).
Now, in 2018 Beaufort County Voters will again have an opportunity to support this program by approving General Obligation Bonds not to exceed $25 million. These bonds will cost the average homeowner approximately $1 dollar per month ($12 annually). The actual language of this referendum is shown elsewhere on this page.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE BENEFITS SINCE THE PROGRAM BEGAN
- Environmental Protection
- Quality of waterways and water
- Bird and wildlife habitats
- Wetlands conservation
- Restrain Overdevelopment
- Alleviate traffic congestion in key areas
- Mitigate imperfect zoning
- Prevent storm water problems
- Provide passive parks
- Sustain Quality Economic Balance
- Protect Marine Corps Air Station jobs
- Keep family farmers farming
- Enjoy increased property values
- Promote eco-tourism
- Preserve our Local Heritage
- Historic, cultural & archaeological sites
- Scenic and rural land protection
- Unique Gullah/ Geechee legacy