The owner of the South Carolina property told the local planning commission that he wants to keep the golf course in “operational condition” and has no immediate plans to close it, but because of operating losses, the plan to reposition the property as a venue for destination weddings or similar events needs to be implemented.
A modified proposal to convert the Bloody Point Golf Course on South Carolina’s Daufuskie Island into a “hospitality district” with an inn and homes has been approved by the planning commission of Beaufort County, S.C., The Island Packet of Hilton Head, S.C. reported. The plan will now go before the County Council’s Natural Resources committee in March.
C&RB reported in January on the history of the property and how its golf activity has declined (http://clubandresortbusiness.com/2016/01/20/new-direction-sought-for-bloody-point-gc/).
The plan approved by commission came after revisions were presented to scale back a proposed inn from 120 rooms to 60, as well as halve the surrounding commercial space to 25,000 square feet, The Island Packet reported. The commission made a field trip to Bloody Point GC for more study before voting on February 1 to approve the zoning change.
“We’re excited to move to the next step,” course owner Brian McCarthy said after the vote. “We’ll be working very steadily for the next several weeks to get all our ducks in a row.”
McCarthy, who sank $2 million into restoring the golf course after purchasing it out of bankruptcy in 2011, has said he has no immediate plans to close the course, The Island Packet reported. But after more than two years of steep operating losses, he seeks to eventually reposition the property as a venue for destination weddings or similar events.
“I believe the plan that we submit to you is the single-best chance for long-term success at Bloody Point,” McCarthy told the commission.
“I’d really hate to have to close the golf course,” he added. “I’d like to have the golf course in operational condition when we move forward with the plan.”
The commission voted 6-1 to approve the proposal, The Island Packet reported. Chairman Robert Semmler cast the lone dissenting vote, voicing disappointment that McCarthy and planners hadn’t made more of an effort to bring other agencies on the island into the loop.
“I thought more input from the Daufuskie Island interests would be important,” Semmler said. “This is a major change.”
The proposal also would permit an additional 150 housing units to be built over outlying segments of the course, leaving some 68 acres preserved as open space, The Island Packet reported.
Nearly a dozen Bloody Point residents spoke before the commission, the majority in support of a plan that will cause them to lose their golf course.
“We would love to look out an an unused golf course forever, but we are realists,” said resident Mike Loftus, owner of Daufuskie Wine & Woodworks. “While sad, we completely understand that a golf course at Bloody Point never has and simply can’t support itself.”
Bob Webb voiced strong support, even though he anticipated he would be the homeowner most affected by the change, The Island Packet reported. Newly retired after 40 years as an attorney, he not only has looked forward to more time on the golf course, but his home will be the closest single-family residence to the proposed inn and beach club.
“Both will be literally steps from my driveway,” he said, adding that was better than the weeds and disrepair the golf course showed during bankruptcy.
“It was attractive only to the snakes and gators, and was safe only for snakes and gators,” he said. “It lowered our property values and dampened our spirits. I never want to go back to that, and I don’t think there are many people who do.”
Opponents suggested too many new visitors would alter the character of the Bloody Point community, The Island Packet reported.
“My concern would be the impact it’s going to have on the natural serenity of the place,” resident Mike Andrews said. “It’s very calm, a very quiet beach—and now we’re adding potentially 250 bedrooms to this plan.”
Similar concerns did prompt the decision to scale back the inn, which would be built using the current clubhouse as an anchor, The Island Packet reported.
“That was really more in line with their comfort level,” McCarthy said. “It was a consistent thought pattern and something that needed to be altered immediately.”
McCarthy noted that the old Melrose Inn, once part of the Daufuskie Island Resort along with Bloody Point, was a 52-room facility.
“I think they felt comfortable with that size inn,” McCarthy said.
Plans for commercial space were likewise scaled back, adding provisions that no building would exceed 15,000 square feet in size or 35 feet in height, The Island Packet reported.