Protestors Rally Against Annexation - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

04/20/06

Protestors Rally Against Annexation

Attendees at the rally bore T-shirts and signs with the word "annex" crossed out in red. Attendees at the rally bore T-shirts and signs with the word "annex" crossed out in red.

Dozens of people took to the streets in Beaufort today to protest the city's plan to annex 5,000 acres. People were pretty fired up, making it clear they don't want all the development to come their way and all the headaches and changes that it may bring.

"We the people of Beaufort are here to say no to annexation of Clarendon and McLeod Farms." That was the message residents and members of the newly created Smart Growth Coalition wanted Mayor Bill Rauch and the city council to hear as they protested outside city hall.

It's a rally they're hoping will stop the city from annexing 5,000 acres in Grays Hill and Seabrook, and put a stop to plans for 16,000 proposed new homes.

"We want to preserve the land, and those explosive developments don't preserve the land in any way shape or form," said Stacie Hadrick.

"I am not against growth," said Milbrey Gnann. "I think we need to have it, but if we have a lot of people we haven't planned for, we're asking for disaster."

And Gnann says smart growth is the key. "It's planning and envisioning, getting the infrastructure in place to handle the growth and not making the middle to lower classes pay for it."

But annexation opponents say higher taxes aren't the only concerns: it's quality of life. "We go to Target south of the Broad River and it takes 45 minutes to get out of the Target's parking lot," Gnann said. "The dangers of Highway 278,  we don't want that coming here."

"There's one way on and one way off of Hilton Head and there's one way into Beaufort and one road out of Beaufort," noted Beth Grace. "Highway 21 will become the same deadly zone as 278."

So why is the city looking at annexing land in the first place? "We ran a spreadsheet and there was not a question that there was millions and millions of dollars to the good for the city's treasury," Mayor Rauch told us.

The mayor was at the rally today and told us he listened to everyone's concerns and assured us the city wasn't going to annex the land to make money at the cost of damaging the quality of life in Beaufort.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

Powered by Frankly