ATTENTION: I NEED YOUR HELP! BEAUFORT COUNTY IS TAKING MY BUSINESS PROPERTY ALONG WITH MANY OTHERS FOR AN AIRPORT EXPANSION AND WE ARE NOT BEING TREATED FAIRLY. Thanks to Rick Caporale, Steven Bear, Steven Fobes, Port Royal, Palmetto Hall and all of my business neighbors for your leadership and support concerning the airport expansion and the taking of our commercial properties under imminent domain. First off I want to point out on behalf of all the businesss being affected that we just want to focus on our businesss and be treated fairly and communicated with professionally by Beaufort County. Small businesses are the backbone of our Lowcountry economy and we would hope that we would be treated fairly by our county government that we fund as tax payers. None of us that are facing condemnation want to move but we all will gladly get out of the way as long as we are not negatively impacted and we are kept whole. The initial county offer that we received would leave us all upside down and many business owners would be forced into short sale situations especially with todays new stringent banking regulations. The sad thing that most of the public doesnt know is that this expansion per the FAA in a recent meeting in Atanta is strictly based on general aviation (private planes) and any benefit to commercial aviation is a bonus. This contradicts many past article in which the county has portrayed this expansion as a needed benefit for commercial aviation. So we local business are being displace so private jet owners can fly in and out of our airport on their weekend excursions with a full tank of gas and not be inconvenienced with having to stop to refill their tanks. Who are we looking out for? Our permanent resident that live, work and are raising families here or our 1% of visitors who can afford to fly in on private jets? Granted the airport can be seen as an economic engine to our economy that has finally been able to attain positive cash flow after 40+ years and that individuals who can afforded to fly in will have more disposable income than most of us, thus being viewed as part of the economic engine. We are not arguing that. The problem is how the county has treated the affected business owners and portrayed the need for expansion of the airport to the public in combination with the fact that we have an international airport only 40 minutes away from HH. The mis information bye our own county is very frustrating when it is your business being affected. The bigger issue is how the county has portrayed this to the media and public as a benefit to commercial aviation for Hilton Head Airport. Read the past articles in the Island Packet. We the business owner of 21 Dillon Office Park received initial letters in mid November 2013, two weeks later consultants (PAM) for the county show up to talk to us about our relocation packages (which I have recorded along with documentation and copies of all other correspondence with county representatives) with never any phone call, notice or letter as a courtesy to businesss being effected by any one at the county. We asked why we were not made aware of the public meetings? We were told that notices were printed in the paper and that this has been in the master plan. Have you ever seen the size of the notices printed in the paper? I was told that I should have reviewed the master plan and then I would have known of the pending expansion. I am a small business with 6 employees. I do not have the resources nor the time to scour county documents. Why could we have not been offered the professional courtesy of being communicated with directly with someone from the county since these are our businesses and livelihoods that are at risk. From that pointed we reached out to Mr. John Rembold (director of HH airport) to start inquiring about information. I followed up with an email with 4 request. #1 being a copy of the FAA land acquisition guidelines so we could know our rights. This was not offered to us in the initial letters or until we asked for it. This was the only request from my email that was responded too. Additionally in my email to Mr. Rembold we requested a face to face meeting with county officials along with proof and in what format we were notified by the county in January 2012 which a county representative is quoted saying in an Island Packet article that they notified all parties involved/affected in January 2012. Non of the remaining question were ever answered and as a matter of fact, Mr Rembold stop returning our communications shortly afterward as if somebody had him go dark. We never heard back from the relocation consultants as we were told, up until two weeks ago. Now they are ready to get moving as fast as possible. Additionally the deadlines we were promised to have our appraisals in hand were late by two months. Again, when we finally received our initial offers we asked for a group meeting with county attorney Josh Grubber and we were told no! They would only meet with us individually we were told. We explained that we understood that each business owner was unique but that we were all ok with that and that we still wanted to meet as a group and were comfortable discussing one anothers financials. Mr Grouber told us that if we would not meet individually than he would just send our offers out by mail. I do not know about the county, but myself along with my business neighbors do not operate in a vacuum without deadlines and unknowns. It is really hard to run your business that way: not knowing where you are going to go? Not knowing if you will be able to afford a new space especially with more stringent banking regulations let alone not being able to truly look for a new space and purchase one because you have no hard deadlines by the county. Additionally most of us are not in the position to go buy a second building and carry two mortgages with no deadline in site. Then add to that that we are zoned light industrial in the heart of HH Island with an average of 7 parking spots per unity and a fenced in secure back warehouse area in a building that we have taken pride in maintaining. There are no light industrial spaces on HH that meet all of those requirement that you can buy for what the county initially offered us without having to go in and invest additional 10s to 100s of thousands of $$ to bring it up to the standard that we currently have. We would love to see the county take the total sum of money that they are offering the 21 Dillon Rd business owners and go purchase the same size piece of land, zoned light industrial and build an equal building for us. We would happily move, but it would never happen because the numberss dont add up. We have done the research. Lastly, articles in the past and in todays Island Packet state that the county and consultants (PAM) are working with owners to find similar offices for relocation, Rembold and Gruber said is very misleading once again. The assistance to date has been a couple of emails that any realtor could pull for us with available properties. Many of which are not zoned correctly, are not equal to our current situation via parking, traffic flow and most are vacant and uncared for since the Great Recession. I applaud the above stated county council members because it was not until county council members had a closed door executive session some time in June with county staff that our regime president received a phone call from our county administrator Gary Cubic offering any assistance. I guess better late that never!!! I am tired of the misinformation. Help us get the facts out there so that people know the truth. This could be happening to anyone who is a small business. We are happy to move as long as we are treated fairly. Help show your support by sharing this message and calling or emailing Beaufort County Staff: County Administrator Gary Cubic: write a message or 843-255-2026 / 843-255-9403, County Attorney Josh Gruber: 843-255-2055 & HH Airport Director John Rembold: 843-255-2952 and tell them to treat us fairly, keep us whole and not negatively impact our businesses! Nothing more…..nothing less. Thank you for your support. Eric H Esquivel La Isla Magazine President & Publisher 21 Dillon Rd, Ste F, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926 [email protected] 843-681-2393
Posted on: Sat, 09 Aug 2014 21:24:38 +0000

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