Billy Palmer cringes a bit when he hears the proposed redevelopment of Hilton Head National Golf Club is being done by some outsiders just looking to make a dollar.
Palmer isn’t native to Beaufort County, but he has made it his home since 1975. Over those four decades he has raised a family and been part of the community, he said.
Palmer was there from day at the golf course at Malphrus Road and Bluffton Parkway and steered it to a reputation as one of the most popular public courses in the area.
Hilton Head National is operated by Scratch Golf, a subsidiary of United Company of Bristol, Va. Palmer is president of United Golf.
“We are a local company that has invested here for 30 years,” Palmer said.
At a Beaufort County Planning Commission meeting in September, Palmer said the property couldn’t continue as a golf course.
“We’re sorry… but circumstances have changed,” Palmer said.
Palmer said there were only about two courses in the area when Hilton Head National opened and now there are 26 to 28. He also said the course lost an important nine holes to the construction of Bluffton Parkway.
“When land was taken for the highway, it had a significant impact on greens fees,” Palmer said. “They dropped precipitously.”
To redevelop the 299-acre property, the group needs a change from the current rural zoning. It has had a number of meetings, starting in late 2015, about the rezoning request, including three public charettes and meetings with residents of neighboring subdivision Heritage Lakes.
The group received planning commission approval for the…
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