Wetlands trim plans at Buckwalter Recreation, Bluffton, SC
, 2022-08-13 04:00:00,
Plans for the long-awaited expansion of the Buckwalter Recreation Center have been modified because the site lost an additional 22 acres to wetlands in the past decade.
How can wetlands just form that weren’t there before?
Eric Walsnovich, a spokesman for the developer, Wood and Partners Inc., said it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what caused the wetlands to form, but he believes that development around the area could have played a role. The original expansion plans were drawn up in 2001, before neighborhoods like the Farm, Barton’s Run and Hampton Hall were built near and around the center.
Al Stokes, former director of the Waddell Mariculture Center, a state-run conservation area in Beaufort County, agreed.
“In my opinion, it’s a symptom of the development around it, because of the way they construct and build homes and businesses is [they’re] elevated to prevent flooding in those particular buildings, ‘‘ said Stokes. “That water’s got to go to the next lowest point and that’s probably that area that’s not developed.”
The town of Bluffton owns the 142.5-acre recreation site, but Beaufort County operates and maintains it.
Beaufort County approved the new plan in 2014, about the same time the wetlands began to form, but it wasn’t brought to the Bluffton Town Council until 2021 when enough impact fees had been collected to fund the first phase of the expansion project.
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