Owners of Chimney Cove neighborhood file pre-application for redevelopment

Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 10:39 PM EDT
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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, Sc. (WTOC) - Chimney Cove owners are proposing a redevelopment of the 52 unit affordable housing complex on Hilton Head Island.

The pre-application filed earlier this month calls for 102 new condo rental units at the site.

“When they start talking about redeveloping current residential properties, it is very scary,” said Sandy Gillis, the executive director of the Deep Well Project.

Sandy Gillis runs the Deep Well Project...a non-profit on the island that provides short term assistance to those facing sudden financial hardships.

Gillis worked with several Chimney Cove residents last summer when they faced sudden eviction after the complex’s owner announced plans to sell the property.

The tenants, many who work on the island, faced an uncertain future then when they were given only 90 days to leave.

Those plans were eventually dropped.

Gillis says the renewed redevelopment push puts people here back at square one...raising questions about where they will go.

“Rental units in all income levels is in short supply here on Hilton Head, but it’s especially scarce when you talk about low income housing, workforce housing.”

Despite the concerns, Gillis says this time around property owners have been more transparent about their plans changing lease periods from a year to only 30 days.

In a statement, a Chimney Cove representative says: “We have the utmost respect for existing tenants and are fully committed to ensuring the least disruptive, phased-in and seamless transition process.”

The Town of Hilton Head tells WTOC the developers presented their plans at a public meeting on Tuesday.

Even with the possibility of hundreds needing affordable housing on the island...Gillis says she’s hopeful this latest redevelopment push will be different for Chimney Cove residents.

“We’re right back where we were a year ago, but the differences I’m seeing are there’s a recognition of the developer that in the same way I need to have a plan about how I’m going to mitigate storm water and tree preservation, I also need to have a plan about what happens to the people.”

The Town of Hilton Head says the next step is for the developer to submit an application. At that point, it will undergo a more in-depth review.