To the members of Georgetown County Council:
As a long-time resident of Pawleys Island, I am writing to urge you to accept the recommendation of the Planning Commission to reject the proposed Petigru Project. I regret not being with you in-person, but I am fulfilling my duties as a GCSD Board member this evening. However, as a long-term resident with deep roots in this community, both my parents and grandparents grew up in PI, and being that I live on Petigru Dr, I have a vested interest in ensuring this project not be approved. I am well aware that Georgetown County has a huge housing problem, Pawleys Island, in particular. Options are expensive and few. Developers and new business owners tend to capitalize on the Pawleys Island name and charge more for property and goods in Pawleys than they do in other parts of the county, making it extremely difficult for average wage earners, let alone two-income families, to secure decent affordable housing. You may hear other voices tonight tell you that because professional and young people don't have adequate housing in Pawleys, the proposed apartment complex would be ideal. However, this project provides a short-term solution that would only serve a few. Rental prices are subject to the desires and needs of the management company, not the developer. The initial price may sound appealing to some, but what happens a few years down the road if the building is not at capacity or the prices begin to climb? My husband, Johnny Ford, mentioned in a meeting with the Planning Commission and County Council a few months ago, that to him, affordable housing in our community means the pride of home ownership and better property values for our homes. Affordable housing means teaching local residents how to aspire for first time home ownership as opposed to renting or living in a substandard house. My husband and I want to help build community. Our goal, along with other community and business leaders is to create a legacy so that this community can be a true community. Petigru Drive used to be filled with hardworking families. Several of my relatives still live in their homes on Petigru. Over time, a few businesses were added, and it became a thru-way for folks looking to avoid highway 17. With the increased traffic that came from the addition of Publix and the other stores, my street - Petigru - saw even more traffic, not only from store traffic, but all types of heavy trucks. Regardless of what has caused the heavy flooding in our area or when it started, the flooding will only worsen with the heavy rains and additional traffic from new apartments. Petigru Dr was not paved to support this increase. The county can barely keep up its road maintenance now as we have potholes cropping up every other week. Additionally, the proposed project would place added stress on the intersection of Waverly and Petigru. No one who lives or drives regularly in this vicinity believes that residents of the proposed project would primarily travel down Commerce Drive to Hwy 17, thereby limiting traffic on Petigru and Waverly. Finally, let’s address the elephant in the room: With the African-American population being only 3% in Pawleys Island, we may be viewed as insignificant (i.e. you can't make major decisions based on such a small population) - hence, we often feel neglected, even invisible. When you add the fact that many of the African Americans here are either elderly or are low on the SES scale, decisions made that benefit the majority of residents are often to the detriment of the minority. And that is a major reason that I do not want this Petigru Project. It would not serve the African American community at all. Please listen closely to your constituents who would be most adversely impacted if this project is approved. Please stand up for the community and vote TONIGHT on this important issue. Let’s not drag it out any longer than necessary – don’t defer or delay the vote. We have all the information we need right now, and quite frankly, so do you. Thank you.
Lynne B. Ford
Petigru Drive Resident