If You Build It …

A TOURISM MECCA? IN OCONEE COUNTY? A private developer is hoping to receive approval from the S.C. Budget and Control Board (SCBCB) next month to build a massive resort on the shores of drought-ravaged Lake Hartwell, S.C. The 330-acre tract – located adjacent to the Georgia state line – would…


A private developer is hoping to receive approval from the S.C. Budget and Control Board (SCBCB) next month to build a massive resort on the shores of drought-ravaged Lake Hartwell, S.C.

The 330-acre tract – located adjacent to the Georgia state line – would feature a pair of hotels, an eighteen-hole golf course and resort villas.  This complex – dubbed “Sanctuary Pointe” – would employ several hundred people year-round.  Sounds good, right? Ordinarily, yes … but this is no ordinary speculative investment of private resources.

The land in question is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which created the 56,000-acre lake a half-century ago as part of its comprehensive plan for the Savannah River Basin.  The Corps leases the property to the State of South Carolina free of charge – a deal the state is not extending to the Sanctuary Pointe developers, incidentally.

This, of course, is a patently ridiculous arrangement – one perpetuating all sorts of frivolous government expenditures.  In fact the deal the SCBCB is set to approve would funnel lease payments made on this property to the S.C. Department of Parks Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT).  In other words South Carolina is charging a lease on property it doesn’t own to subsidize a government agency that shouldn’t exist.

That’s almost as shady as the big government boondoggling taking place on the shores of Lake Marion.

According to reporter Dolph Bell of The Greenville News, SCRPT is going to use the proceeds from these lease payments “to improve Lake Hartwell State Park and Sadlers Creek State Park.”  You know … so those government-run parks can better compete with these government-funded parks.

What a joke …

Assuming South Carolina taxpayers have the right to profits generated by this property – which we suppose they do based on the conveyance of leasing rights by the federal government – they should actually see those profits.  In other words every penny of this revenue ought to be placed in a “taxpayer rebate fund,” assuming leaders in the S.C. General Assembly ever bothers to create one.

More to the point, we have grave reservations about the economic viability of this project – first proposed five years ago.  There are ominous storm clouds on the national economic horizon – and our state’s tourism industry still hasn’t rebounded from the last recession.  Additionally Lake Hartwell is currently fifteen feet below “full pool” level – which means it’s basically missing one third of its average depth.

Sound like a tourist draw to you?

Despite these concerns we have no problem with the SCBCB authorizing this lease – assuming it is rewritten to reflect a better disbursement of funds. Proceeds from the sale or lease of any surplus state property should be rebated to taxpayers – not spent on non-core government functions.


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CNSYD December 27, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Sic Willie took several paragraphs to get to his “yawn” taxpayer rebate fund. You know, the fund he refuses to provide the details of how it will be run, what expenses will be incurred, how will it be determined who gets rebates and how much, etc.

Soft Sigh from Hell December 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Do private developers do ANYTHING in SC that doesn’t involve public tax monies, or land (leased or not), tax-exemption underwriting, or publically funded roads, utility connections, etc.

Does anyone simply pay the building permit fees and build and then pay taxes like the rest of us, even if just glassing-in a front porch?

Barney December 27, 2012 at 1:59 pm

I think it depends on how many new jobs would be created by enclosing your front porch. Nikki would know.

Old Bike Dude December 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm

That taxpayer rebate fund is buried beneath the Jasper port.

Old Bike Dude December 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Schools= HR check
Tax Rebate/ Maritime Comm/Jasper port = TD check
Pictures of Mickey = MM check

I harken back to the days when it wasn’t quite so predictable.

Twinkie Ho-Ho December 27, 2012 at 6:12 pm

All true. And LIBER-Tea pulled the final independent plug.

Jeffy01 December 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm

No doubt the FBI will be all over this! Right after the big Lexington mafia case. Ooohhhand then the Horry case.

Old Bike Dude December 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm

You forgot the Nimmy Boo Boo Price is Right Mythical Jasper Port giveaway.

jimlewis,owb December 27, 2012 at 4:39 pm

The first thing the taxpayers over in Oconee County need to do is read up on the Indian Land boondoggle over in Lancaster County.

Second, they need to find out which elected/appointed cockroaches stand to profit from the Sanctuary Pointe deal.

Third, any cockroach turds they find need to be DNA tested. If any are linked back to Congressional Cockroach Mulvaney, then the Oconee taxpayers have no choice but to;

Run Mother Fuckers, Run!

hhuuhh?? December 28, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Or, the Beach Company and its Lake Marion development…which seems to have come to a screeching halt because local communities could not give them enough corporate welfare. From what I used to read, that was their usual scam around Charleston county, too.
Big development. Big jobs. Government put up the bucks.

Knee deep in dirt December 27, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Fucking warts and blisters all over this scam. Let’s see, where to start.

Ga/sc battle over upstream water rights

Corp of idiots battle over water level

Sham “we cleaned up the pcb’s in 12 mile crick” blatant lie. Don’t believe me, just catch a fish out of Hartwell and see if the fine judge will eat it and hell he shouldn’t be afraid of spent nuclear rods on his lap at his age.

Sandbar boat deaths in civil litigation as we speak

Fuck, the economy, anybody with money left can go to Keowee and grab up 6 year old homes for 60 cents on the dollar with cleaner water and great views

May as well plan it like Vegas cause it’ll be desert soon enough. Atlanta will drink it dry, just look at Lake Lanier

This will be the ponzi of 2020 but hey, if you can’t beat em, join em

Dry Times Ahead December 29, 2012 at 12:06 pm

“May as well plan it like Vegas cause it’ll be desert soon enough. Atlanta will drink it dry, just look at Lake Lanier”

People looking out for Georgia’s future water needs are playing to win, with experts in the game; in South Carolina we pose and posure and bluster and strut and have the “the usual strings” (to paraphrase Mencken) appointed (1) for local parochial interests, or (2) as agency representatives with or in most cases without wide or deep technical knowledge about either water or its need. A scant scattering of others, both high and low, see their responsibility for the state at large or have some expert knowledge. Do they stand a chance in succeeding, essentially unsupported?

Sam December 27, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Senator Thomas Alexander is making this happen. he is making money. It is not right.

aristofannies December 28, 2012 at 9:38 am

Willie – dig deeper. Wonder if there are tax incentives, grants or other government monies urging the development of this property? Doesn’t seem like the Market would support this, so why this, why here, why now?

VoiceofReason December 28, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Amazing how little you all know about Hartwell, Keowee and the UpState. The I-85 Corridor drives this state. The Midlands with its so called Capital City and the coast are a joke. The UpState is where it’s at people.

tom manning December 28, 2012 at 3:54 pm

That was a half-baked rant. The development proposed is a stupid boondoggle with a 50-50 chance of turning out to be a failed white elephant.

The part declaring that parks and recreation is not a core function of sensible government is pure bullshit.


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