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Daufuskie Island Resort

Daufuskie Island Resort

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Hilton Head Island Town Council must recognize that the island's rapid growth is over, and there are consequences.

The island's brisk population spurt, from about 10,000 in 1980 to almost 40,000 today, is over.

There is simply no more room, and who wants more density? The national recession storm clouds have appeared over the island.

There are more empty storefronts than ever before.

Some businesses have left.

Noticeable drops in tax revenue from real estate transfers, business licenses and hotel activity are occurring.

Meanwhile, since 2007, the town's debt has grown from approximately $11 million, or 18 percent of revenue, to $27 million, or 27 percent of total revenue in 2009.

Town payroll has grown as a percentage of revenue, from approximately 19 percent in 2007 to almost 22 percent in 2009.

These indicators point to a need for change of perspective and priorities.

Capital: Let's create criteria to allocate scarce dollars.

The luxury of funding most requests is gone.

Planning tools: The comprehensive plan and the Land Management Ordinance were written in a time of growth versus stability.

Let's participate in a re-writing effort.

The town has a number of aging villas and business structures that could benefit from rehabilitation.

Home properties rise with this tide of activity.

Let's encourage rehabilitation while protecting zoning.

Today's recession has contributed to the Daufuskie Island Resort bankruptcy.

Let's not leave the disposition of its embarkation center at Hilton Head Plantation's back gate to fate.

All leaders must develop a neighbor-sensitive solution.

Bill Harkins, candidate Town Council Ward 2 Hilton Head Island
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