Estate Planning Attorney inRidgeland, SC

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Securing Your Legacy in South
Carolina

Did you know that one in two U.S. citizens have yet to create a plan for their estate? Just about everyone knows they need to get their affairs in order, but most people procrastinate when it comes to estate planning. It's an uncomfortable subject to think about. After all, nobody wants to ponder their death and what happens to their assets when they pass. However, working with an estate planning lawyer in Ridgeland, SC, protects you, your loved ones, and your assets, both while you're alive and after you have died. There isn't a perfect time to plan your estate, but there is a right time and that time is now.

We understand that there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution to your estate planning needs. That's why, at CDH Law Firm, we make a concerted effort to speak with our clients personally so that we can create an estate plan that is as unique as they are. Our estate plans are comprehensive, cost-effective, and catered to you. That way, your family is provided if you are incapacitated or pass away.

At the end of the day, our goal is to make sure that every one of our clients leaves our office feeling less stressed and more informed. Peace of mind is valuable currency these days. Why worry about the future of your loved ones when you can use South Carolina law to ensure their stability?

Many of the clients in Ridgeland that walk through our doors have significant questions that require serious answers. They're filled with doubt, stress, and worry. They're worried about their children, their spouse, their relatives, or all the above. They ask questions like:

  • How much does estate planning cost?
  • What kind of results can I expect?
  • How long will this process take?

If these questions sound familiar, know that you are not alone. At CDH Law Firm, we have worked with hundreds of clients just like you. Sometimes, these clients are unsatisfied with their current estate planning attorney in Ridgeland. Other times, they have been served with confusing papers or documents that leave them feeling overwhelmed. In either case, clients come to our office knowing they need to manage what is often a sudden, foreign situation.

The good news? We sit down with all new clients for an hour at no extra cost. We do so to get a basic sense of their situation and help steer them in the right direction. That way, they can leave our office feeling a little wiser and a lot better about the future.

Estate Planning Law Ridgeland, SC
Service Areas

Our firm specializes in several areas of estate planning and family law, including:

  • Estate Planning
  • Last Will and Testament
  • Living Wills
  • Heath Care Power of Attorney
  • Living Wills
  • Irrevocable Trusts
  • Revocable Trusts
  • Retirement Trusts
  • Special Needs Trusts

The CHSA Law
Difference

At CHSA Law, LLC, estate planning is like second nature to us. Having worked hundreds upon hundreds of cases, we have the knowledge and experience to assist with all the estate planning needs that you or your family have.

As our client, you will always work directly with your attorney. We do not pass cases off to paralegals or junior associates. Because your concerns and questions don't end when our office closes, we encourage our clients to contact us at any time.

Because we limit the number of cases we accept, we have the time and resources to truly dedicate ourselves to each of our clients. Unlike some competitors, we care about the outcome of every case because we know that our clients' future depends on it.

 Estate Planning Attorney Ridgeland, SC The-Cobb-Dill-Hammett-Difference
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What Our Clients Say

What is Estate Planning in
Ridgeland, SC?

The word "estate" might make you think of a sprawling mansion in the French countryside. The truth is, you don't have to be rich to have an estate. In fact, most people already have an estate. An estate comprises the assets that a person owns like cars, bank accounts, real estate, businesses, and other possessions. Everyone's estate is different, but we all have one thing in common: none of us can take our estates with us when we die. When that does eventually happen, you will need legal instructions that state who gets what from your estate in plain terms.That, in a nutshell, is estate planning building a framework in advance that names the organizations or people that should receive your assets after you die. Planning your estate now helps make life much easier for your family down the line.

 Estate Planning Lawyer Ridgeland, SC
A good estate plan covers more than fiscal assets, however. A comprehensive
estate plan should include the following:
  • If you have children who are minors, instructions as to who will be their guardian when you die.
  • Long-term care insurance if you suffer from an extended injury or illness.
  • Instructions that dictate what happens to you and your financial affairs if you become incapacitated before death.
  • Instructions on the transfer of your business after retirement, incapacity, disability, or death.
  • Instructions on how to provide for loved ones who might need help managing money or who need protection from creditors.
  • Probate and tax avoidance that help minimize court fees, taxes, and legal fees.
  • Planning Medicaid payments.
  • Instructions that help complete or update beneficiary designations.
  • Assist family members who have special needs without disqualifying them from government benefits.

Contrary to popular belief, estate planning isn't just for adults who are approaching retirement age. Estate planning is for everyone. After all, we're all getting older, and none of us know exactly when it will be our time to go.

The Basics of Estate Planning
in Ridgeland, SC

Although estate planning can be complicated, a well-rounded plan makes a huge difference in what is left to your beneficiaries. Before you start planning your estate, it's important to know a few common topics that may arise as you detail your needs.

1.

Working with a Tax Advisor and Estate Planning
Attorney in Ridgeland, SC

Working with a veteran estate planning lawyer is a no-brainer, but you should consider working with a tax advisor too. Your attorney's role is to help guide you through the creation of your estate planning documents. Common documents include your will, health care directives, and power of attorney. Your tax advisor will help guide you through tax issues associated with your estate planning needs.

In this relationship, you make the decisions while your attorney and tax advisor help you understand and think through the options you're considering. As a team, they will help you state your wishes clearly while minimizing mistakes and adjusting your plans as they change. Because significant savings can result from thorough, informed planning, you should seriously consider working with a tax advisor in addition to your estate planning attorney.

 Law Firm Ridgeland, SC
2.

Maximizing
Your Estate

If there were one overriding theme of estate planning, it would be maximizing what you plan to leave behind. Thinking through how each of your assets will be distributed is crucial to your estate. Your decisions may change depending on the type of asset, its size, how old you are, and several other factors. With an attorney on your side, you will gain a thorough understanding of what actions you should take to care for your family while minimizing expenses like taxes and court fees.

Estate Planning Law Ridgeland, SC
3.

Inheritance, Estate,
and Gift Taxes

One of the biggest parts of maximizing what you're leaving behind is to minimize taxes. Federal taxes on estates and gifts are incredibly high. Both forms of taxes usually have exemption limits, which means you can give up to a specific amount without being taxed. Your lawyer can achieve that by using the gift tax exemption to move assets while you are still alive. This strategy maximizes how much your beneficiaries will receive.

Inheritance taxes are often based on the value of your estate and paid prior to asset distribution to your beneficiaries.

 Estate Planning Attorney Ridgeland, SC

Choosing the
Executor of Your Will

The executor of your estate plays a key role in your affairs. Their responsibilities include carrying out the terms of your will and seeing the estate settlement process through until the end. Obviously, such a role demands a qualified person. Choosing your executor isn't an easy decision. The person you select should be great at managing money, be savvy financially, and show an ability to be patient. That's because the executor is tasked with:

  • Collecting Your Assets
  • Paying Outstanding Bills
  • Submitting Tax Returns
  • Petitioning the Court for Documents
  • Distributing Assets to Your Beneficiaries
 Estate Planning Lawyer Ridgeland, SC

If the person that you choose as executor is inexperienced with the estate settlement process, it is recommended that they lean on an estate planning attorney in Ridgeland, SC for guidance. It should be noted that you may appoint more than a single executor to your estate. This is common when two individuals have complementary personalities or skill sets.

The Benefits of Estate Planning
in Ridgeland, SC

One of the biggest benefits of planning your estate is the peace of mind it brings to you and your family. With the help of our expert estate planning attorneys, you have the power to protect your assets, privacy, and children's welfare. You can also potentially save money on taxes or even avoid probate. By having your wishes legally documented before death or incapacity, you can minimize any impact on your beneficiaries and take control of your legacy. Without a comprehensive estate plan, you're leaving the future of your loved ones in the hands of the South Carolina court system.

With an estate plan in place, you can plan for incapacity by using a power of attorney or advanced medical directives. Doing so relieves your loved ones of the burden of asking the court for the authority to fulfill your wishes.

At CDH Law Firm, we are committed to helping you prepare for both the expected and unexpected through years of experience and a fierce dedication to our clients. From establishing trusts to designing business succession plans, we are here to fight for you.

At CDH we offer a "Will Package" that includes 4 necessary documents.

If a husband and wife each purchase reciprocating will packages we give a discount. Reciprocating just means the husband names the wife and the wife names the husband. Those four documents are:

  • Last will and testament
  • Healthcare power of attorney
  • Durable power of attorney
  • living will

Common Documents Included
in Your Estate Plan

As mentioned above, everyone's estate planning needs will be different. However, most plans include one or more of the following documents:

1.

Will

Your will is an essential piece of documentation and is often considered the cornerstone of a proper estate plan. Generally speaking, your will is a document that dictates the distribution of your assets after your death. Having an iron-clad will is one of the best ways to make sure that your wishes are communicated clearly. As is the case with most estate planning, it is highly recommended that you work with an estate planning attorney in Ridgeland, SC, to create and update your will.

The contents of a will typically include:

  • Designation of the executor, who is responsible for adhering to the provisions of your will.
  • Designation of beneficiaries the people who will be inheriting your assets
  • Instructions that dictate how and when your beneficiaries will receive assets.
  • Instructions that assign guardianship for any minor children.

Without a will in place, the State of South Carolina will decide how to distribute assets to your beneficiaries. Allowing the state to distribute your assets is often an unfavorable route to take, since the settlement process may not include what you had in mind for your survivors. Having a will drafted that reflects your wishes will prevent such a situation from happening.

 Law Firm Ridgeland, SC
2.

Living Will

Despite its name, a living will does not instruct your survivors on what assets go where. Also called an advanced directive, your living will allows you to state your end-of-life medical wishes if you have become unable to communicate. This important document provides guidance to family members and doctors and solidifies certain issues like whether you should be resuscitated after an accident.

For example, it's common to direct that palliative care (care to decrease pain and suffering) always be administered if needed. Conversely, you may state that certain measures are not allowed, like CPR.

Estate Planning Law Ridgeland, SC
3.

Trusts

Traditionally, a trust is used to minimize estate taxes and maximize other benefits as part of a well-rounded estate plan. This fiduciary agreement lets a trustee hold your assets on behalf of your beneficiaries. There are many ways to arrange a trust to specify when and how your assets are distributed.

With a trust in place, your beneficiaries can avoid going to probate. That means they may be able to gain access to your assets quicker than when they are transferred with a standard will. Assets placed in a trust can pass outside of probate, which will save you and your family time, money, and stress.

There are two distinct trust categories that you should be aware of: revocable and irrevocable.

 Estate Planning Attorney Ridgeland, SC

Revocable Trust:

Also called a living trust, a revocable trust helps assets circumvent probate. With this trust, you can control your assets while you are still alive. These trusts are flexible and may be dissolved at any point in time. This type of trust becomes irrevocable upon your death. Revocable trusts can help you avoid the pitfalls of probate but be aware that they are usually still taxable.

Irrevocable Trust:

This kind of trust transfers assets out of your estate so that they are not taxed and do not have to go through probate. However, once an irrevocable trust has been executed, it may not be altered. That means that once you establish this kind of trust, you lose control of its assets and cannot dissolve the trust. If your primary goal is to avoid taxes on your estate, setting up an irrevocable could be a wise choice.

When drafted with the help of an estate planning lawyer in Ridgeland, SC, your trust can also:

Protect Your Legacy:

When constructed properly, a trust can protect your estate from your heirs' creditors. This can be a huge relief for beneficiaries who might need to brush up on money management skills.

Privacy and Probate:

Probate records are made available for public consumption. With a trust, you may have the choice of having your assets pass outside of probate court so that they remain private. In the process, you may also save money that you would lose to taxes and court fees.

Control Wealth:

Because you can specify the exact terms of a trust, you have more control over who receives your assets and when they receive them. As an example, you can set up a revocable trust so that your assets are attainable while you're alive. When you pass, remaining assets are distributed, even in complex situations involving children from multiple marriages.

The Top Estate Planning Law Firm in the Lowcountry

If you know that you need to provide for your family and loved ones after your death, it's time to develop your estate plan. With CDH Law Firm by your side, planning your estate doesn't have to be difficult. However, it does need to be accurate and executed exactly to your wishes something that we have been helping clients achieve for years. Don't leave your legacy up to chance contact our office today and secure your future generations.

CONTACT US

Latest News in Ridgeland, SC

Critics slam filthy, crowded Jasper animal shelter as county seeks outside help

National and local animal advocates agreed this week to work with a Jasper County animal rescue group to improve its operations after months of community complaints about overcrowding and poor conditions at the organization’s Ridgeland center.The advocates convened at the Jasper Animal Rescue Mission on Monday afternoon, walking through the county-owned building and suggesting fixes for a safer, more sanitary facility for the 300-plus animals, volunteers and employees. The meeting was organized by Jasper County officials....

National and local animal advocates agreed this week to work with a Jasper County animal rescue group to improve its operations after months of community complaints about overcrowding and poor conditions at the organization’s Ridgeland center.

The advocates convened at the Jasper Animal Rescue Mission on Monday afternoon, walking through the county-owned building and suggesting fixes for a safer, more sanitary facility for the 300-plus animals, volunteers and employees. The meeting was organized by Jasper County officials.

For months, volunteers and former rescue mission board members pushed Jasper County to address concerns about the shelter. Volunteers and former board members told the Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette that dogs and cats are left in their own feces, cages are stacked three-to-four high, water bowls are full of algae, and soiled laundry is piled feet-high. They describe the building as “unsafe” for workers and animals, with a rat infestation.

During a July Jasper County Council meeting, Jeanne Francisco — speaking on behalf of the group pushing for change at the rescue mission — presented photos of the group’s facility to council members and detailed what the group says is the building’s unsanitary conditions.

“Safety is our No. 1 priority,” Francisco told council members. “Right now, the safety of the staff, the volunteers, potential adopters, visitors inside and outside this county is in jeopardy.”

She asked the council for help to address the facility’s problems. The mission leases the county-owned building for $1 annually.

Rose Dobson-Elliot, the county’s director of engineering services, said Monday she hoped shelter staff takes advantage of the resources offered. Dobson-Elliot was tasked with handling complaints about the rescue mission.

Among those assessing the mission on Monday was Steve Carriere, Florida State Animal Response Coalition manager. He said the issues identified could be remedied, and he offered temporary volunteer help, suggestions for sanitation and sick animal isolation, and training for the mission’s staff.

Officials of the Hilton Head Humane Association and Beaufort County Animal Services provided advice on tackling the overcrowding that the rescue mission’s executive director, Caitlyn Schake, said has been unavoidable because she cannot turn away cats and dogs brought in by county animal control officers.

“It’s time to fix this before it gets worse,” Carriere said.

On Monday afternoon, over 100 dogs were housed in wire cages or crates outside or in the back of the building, and smaller dogs’ crates were stacked atop each other. Boxes of scooped feces sat outside several of the larger cages. A few of the dogs darted inside a fenced area that was strewn with toys and debris.

An estimated 150-200 cats were spread across the property and facility. Some lounged in beds, others freely walked outside or leapt onto roofs, and dozens were inside the building, with some sectioned off into smaller rooms.

Toward the front of the building — its hallway lined with filled dog crates — food bags, blankets and other donations were piled high. In the back, soiled laundry was heaped near the washer and dryer.

Schake, who’s been at the helm for nine years, said a shortage of staff and resources makes it difficult to keep up with the bursting population while also consistently deep-cleaning parts of the building and creating barriers between sick and well animals. A rescue mission worker estimated seven staff members are at work on a normal day.

On a typical day, the mission will get between two and 15 animals, Schake said. Anywhere from zero to eight animals leave the facility in a day. Currently there is no set animal capacity for the mission.

“How many volunteers would you need?” Carriere asked Schake. She estimated five, and Carriere said it was possible to provide her with that temporary help.

In October, six of the mission’s board members resigned, according to a former board member.

Robin Artz, a former vice president of the board who left during the summer, said in a resignation email that the board was not holding themselves “accountable to the animals.” Artz described conditions that included water leaking through the floor and ceiling, mold, and rats. Further, Artz detailed animals in crates upon crates upon crates — “they need space to run and not sit in a 4x2 crate up on another crate,” she wrote.

“Conditions of the shelter are horrendous to say the least,” Artz’s July email read. “There are volunteers, mostly elderly individuals who are putting their health at risk by giving of their time. Most importantly, we are putting our own employees and animals at risk for disease, illness or worse. WE [sic] owe the humans that help us and the animals more.”

Along with a shortage of staff, Schake said Monday the mission’s financial resources were less than its Beaufort County counterpart. According to its most recent 990 tax form, the mission’s revenue was $457,000 in 2022, with expenses at $460,000. Dobson-Elliot said the county contributed $185,000 that year. The nearly half-million in funds is meager compared to the Hilton Head Humane Association, which raked in over $3 million in 2021, according to its most recent 990 tax form.

Beaufort County, with 191,748 people, is also much larger than Jasper, which has 30,324 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

To increase funding, Carriere advised accepting any donation large or small and applying for grant funding. Local animal advocates suggested pushing for support at county council meetings and holding fundraisers to better engage the community.

Dobson-Elliot said she would work with county animal control to ensure the mission had “breathing room” to work to keep its animal population down.

While she could not provide an immediate timeline for when to re-assess the mission’s conditions and the steps to take from there, Carriere said if the shelter staff embraces his suggestions and accepts the temporary volunteer help, changes are typically seen within three to four weeks.

This story was originally published November 15, 2023, 9:30 AM.

Updated: Ridgeland mail mystery. Where are the letters, bills and packages?

At first, Michelle Sands was missing mail a few days a week. But things spiraled downhill to the point where the Lowcountry business owner filed three separate complaints this year with the U.S. Postal Service regarding missing and inconsistent mail delivery out of the Ridgeland post office.Sands’ company, Advanced Lift Solutions, has received its mail at a mailbox in the FedEx Copy and Shipping Center in the Riverwalk Business Park for the past eight years. Sands said she normally receives an average of three pieces of mail eve...

At first, Michelle Sands was missing mail a few days a week. But things spiraled downhill to the point where the Lowcountry business owner filed three separate complaints this year with the U.S. Postal Service regarding missing and inconsistent mail delivery out of the Ridgeland post office.

Sands’ company, Advanced Lift Solutions, has received its mail at a mailbox in the FedEx Copy and Shipping Center in the Riverwalk Business Park for the past eight years. Sands said she normally receives an average of three pieces of mail everyday. However, since February, there have been periods where there is no mail for several days at a time.

Sands filed the complaints via email and the USPS toll-free number. She was given numerous reasons for the mail delay, such as COVID-19, short staffing and recent retirements. Sands received confirmation via email or phone call that her complaints were ultimately closed.

“I’ve made trips to the post office to complain and only received excuses,” she said.

Yet the days between mail deliveries have grown since she filed the last complaint in October.

Ruth Morris and Jennifer Williams, managers at the mail center, have reached out to USPS officials, filed several complaints, and received responses and apologies from officials, but the service continues to be sporadic.

Morris also added, “They put our mail on hold without our permission.”

“We have had to decline customers who request to ship packages via postal service because we do not know if the USPS will pick them up,” said Williams. This has hurt the business.

“They try to deliver the mail at night, after we’ve closed,” she continued.

Other Ridgeland businesses confirmed this is not an isolated issue.

“We’ve actually asked all of our vendors to email our bills because we aren’t getting them in the mail,” said Cindy Malphus of Rosco Industrial Supply.

Last week, Malphrus confirmed her company had gone over a week without receiving mail. In recent days, however, Rosco said the business started receiving mail daily.

Both Sands and Malphrus said that the mailman once assigned to their route is no longer on the route, and when mail does get delivered, it arrives in the evening after their businesses are closed.

Residential customer Carolyn Kelly said her mail service declined a few months ago after her carrier retired. “She was great and would bring the packages right to the door.” Kelly said she has gone up to five days without mail, but in the last two weeks, it has improved.

Tristan Swartz, assistant manager of PJ’s Coffee, located half a mile from the Ridgeland post office, also said that the mail arrives late there. “I think they are understaffed and overworked,” he said of the post office.

When asked about the claims of missing mail, Ridgeland postmaster Tonya Williams, declined to comment. Instead, she offered the name and number of the USPS Communications Specialist Nikki Johnson.

During an initial phone call to Johnson, she said she would not comment until the claims could be investigated. Additional requests for comment and clarification went unanswered.

After initial publication of this report earlier today, the U.S. Postal Service reached out by phone to respond to questions regarding delivery, and staffing.

According to U.S. Postal Service Strategic Communications Specialist Nikki Johnson, businesses like the FedEx shipping center in Ridgeland have what is known as a central box unit, where mail can be delivered after hours. “If the business is closed, the carrier has access to the CBU.”

Johnson confirmed that there has been a staffing constraint at the Ridgeland post office, but more staff has been brought on board in the last two weeks.

“The area has grown and the volume has increased.” Johnson said. She further explained the Riverwalk area is the last on a very long route, it is 30 minutes away from the post office, and the carrier has other stops along the way.

“We are asking the people in the community to be patient,” Johnson said. “The mail carriers are out there delivering mail, but the times may vary and it may not be when they (the customers) want.”

Additionally, Johnson offered, “I am extending an apology to the community for any inconvenience. We take pride in our mail delivery service. And in the midst of this very busy season, the employees are working tirelessly to service the customers and to meet and exceed the expectations of service at the Ridgeland post office.”

Johnson also advised that should anyone be looking for an opportunity to work for the USPS, they can check the career website for openings in the area, which updates every Tuesday.

This story was originally published December 22, 2023, 11:05 AM.

Vote looms on Ridgeland’s 3,000-acre development plan for rural land. Opposition is fierce

Motorists have seen the rallying cry in large lettering, posted on homemade signs along Jasper County roads: “Keep Chelsea Rural.” Under the same name as its three-word mantra, a grassroots group of concerned residents is kicking their preservation efforts into high gear as their fight against a “tsunami of development” on a large swath of rural land comes to a head.Ridgeland is nearing the end of its campai...

Motorists have seen the rallying cry in large lettering, posted on homemade signs along Jasper County roads: “Keep Chelsea Rural.” Under the same name as its three-word mantra, a grassroots group of concerned residents is kicking their preservation efforts into high gear as their fight against a “tsunami of development” on a large swath of rural land comes to a head.

Ridgeland is nearing the end of its campaign to acquire about 3,000 acres of the Chelsea Plantation, a roughly 5,200-acre tract near the center of Jasper County that was purchased for $32 million in 2019 by the Missouri-based investment company Legacy Land Holdings. Officials are working with developer Michael Quinley on a plan that would use the annexed land for approximately 2,000 new residential units.

The proposed annexation goes against the wishes of county officials and has sparked criticism from area natives, who cite preservationist concerns and potential traffic woes, particularly on the winding Snake Road and nearby S.C. 462. Organizers with Keep Chelsea Rural argue the tract is an “unwise” annexation choice because of its distance from Ridgeland’s other suburban areas, claiming that construction on the remote land will be inefficient and expensive due to a lack of existing infrastructure.

Following the first public hearing on the controversial plan set for Thursday at 6 p.m., the Ridgeland Town Council will cast a final vote on the annexation at its April 4 meeting. The annexation would incorporate the land into Ridgeland town limits, a move some officials deem necessary to accommodate rapid growth across Jasper County. Ridgeland alone will welcome an estimated 40,000 new residents by 2044, a 1000% increase from its current population, according to town-contracted consulting firm Four Waters Engineering.

The town’s decision to consider incorporating the three parcels is in defiance of Jasper County’s development moratorium, which asked Ridgeland and Hardeeville to forgo annexation efforts while the county revised its comprehensive plan to bolster rural zoning standards and prepare for imminent development efforts. The nine-month moratorium began in May 2023 and county council members voted March 4 to extend the pause through July 31.

But the moratorium was not legally binding for the county’s municipalities, giving Ridgeland the opportunity to introduce its ordinance to annex the land on Jan. 18. Despite a pair of measures passed at a town council meeting March 7 that would ostensibly slow down the process — a required feasibility study and update to the town’s comprehensive plan — Jasper County residents and officials alike have chided the town for fast-tracking the annexation process.

“We had hoped the town and city would allow us the time to complete our work we undertook as part of the moratorium to determine what is best for the county as a whole in this area,” County Council chairman Marty Sauls told The Post and Courier.

Now in partnership with the Coastal Conservation League, the Keep Chelsea Rural movement has seen large waves of support relative to the small community of Ridgeland. Dating back to the fall of 2022, when another annexation effort targeted the Chelsea-adjacent Tickton Hall, a number of resident-led petitions against development in the area have amassed upward of 1,500 signatures.

Grant McClure, the Coastal Conservation League’s south coast project manager, said development plans like this “threaten the health of the Port Royal Sound — a world-class estuary.”

“We understand Ridgeland’s desire to grow; however, sensitive large tracts that are far from the town’s core and which lack infrastructure are simply the wrong place to site thousands of new homes,” McClure said.

Organizers from the Coastal Conservation League are urging Ridgeland residents to “strike while the iron is hot” and attend the public hearing Thursday in opposition to the annexation plans.

This story was originally published March 21, 2024, 1:17 PM.

Ridgeland council accepts annexation petition, despite county development moratorium

Ridgeland council votes 4-1 to accept an annexation petition despite concerns the property is within the county's moratorium which is in effect until MarchBluffton TodayRidgeland could see more growth in the near future after its Town Council voted 4-1 on Jan. 18 to accept a petition for an annexation that would include about 3,000 acres if it reached final approval.The annexation request now goes to the town's planning commission for review, Ridgeland officials said.Councilmen Tommy Rhodes and Bi...

Ridgeland council votes 4-1 to accept an annexation petition despite concerns the property is within the county's moratorium which is in effect until March

Bluffton Today

Ridgeland could see more growth in the near future after its Town Council voted 4-1 on Jan. 18 to accept a petition for an annexation that would include about 3,000 acres if it reached final approval.

The annexation request now goes to the town's planning commission for review, Ridgeland officials said.

Councilmen Tommy Rhodes and Bill Fishburne, Councilwoman Josephine Boyles and Mayor Joey Malphrus voted in favor of the petition. Councilwoman Libby Malphrus opposed it, stating her concern centered on Jasper County having a development moratorium in place that includes the area being considered for annexation.

"By even accepting a resolution, to spend town money to investigate this, it seems like we are not respecting the moratorium," Malphrus said during the meeting. "It feels like we are not being respectful in that and the way in which we work with our neighbors."

Town of Ridgeland Administrator Dennis Averkin said a development agreement is also being considered.

"It will also require public hearings and an ordinance. It should be noted that the two processes will run in unison," Averkin said. "There will be no annexation without a development agreement, nor a development agreement without an annexation."

Council was asked during the meeting to consider approving a resolution to accept the annexation petition of Chelsea Plantation, LLC and Keeling Cattle, LLC on three parcels.

"While this is still 'proposed,' and not yet approved, the applicant desires to annex three parcels, Chelsea North, Chelsea South and Chelsea West, totaling approximately 2,946.3 acres," Averkin said.

There is only one area proposed for development as of now, Averkin said, which is referred to as “Chelsea South” and is owned by Chelsea Plantation, LLC. He said it comprises 166.6 acres of upland and 125.1 acres of jurisdictional wetlands.

Michael Quinley, who represented the landowners at the meeting, informed the council that 3,000 acres would consist of residential, commercial, civic and recreational uses.

"Our overall gross density is less than one unit an acre," he said. "We plan to put over 45 percent of the development in our properties in a conservation and mitigation space."

Averkin added following the meeting that the proposed development includes single-family residential, multi-family residential, mixed-use commercial, and community recreation and amenities bordering SC Highway 170 North.

"Chelsea North is also owned by Chelsea Plantation, LLC, and consists of approximately 2,442.1 acres. Chelsea West is owned by Keeling Land and Cattle – COMM, LLC and consists of approximately 212.5 acres," Averkin said.

Chelsea West is contiguous to Ridgeland's corporate town limits, Averkin explained. That parcel touches the other two parcels requested for annexation, making the two eligible for inclusion in the petition request. Chelsea North and South are owned by Chelsea Plantation, LLC.

A large group of concerned citizens attended the meeting, with many asking the council to consider delaying the request until the county's development moratorium expires in March. The land that developers are seeking to have annexed is part of what is listed within the moratorium as the Euhaw Broad River Planning Area.

The Jasper County moratorium includes a temporary pause on new commercial and residential development in areas along the Broad River, S.C. Highways 170 and 462, Bees Creek Road, and the area known as the Okeetee Club, according to the county's ordinance. The county previously said the moratorium was enacted to allow time for a partial update of the future land-use map, which provides a roadmap for growth and development.

Within the moratorium, there has been a request that local municipalities honor the planning effort by not entertaining any annexations within the Euhaw Broad River Planning Area while the county moves forward.

"We were not consulted on a moratorium," Averkin said during the meeting.

Averkin said following the meeting that the annexation request from developers was submitted before the county passed its moratorium.

"To set the record straight, it should be noted that applicants contacted the town before the moratorium was passed by the county," he said. "The Town does not control if or when an applicant files an annexation petition. We don’t have the option to simply put an annexation petition back in the mail and 'return to sender' because the timing is inconvenient, we don’t like it or because someone at a neighboring jurisdiction doesn’t like it."

The newly approved petition will now go to the town's planning commission for review, Town of Ridgeland Planner Heather Spade said during the meeting. She said the earliest the final request for annexation could be considered would be at the April 4 council meeting, with that timeline subject to change.

Informational meeting to be held Feb. 8

There will be an informational meeting concerning the petition held in conjunction with the Keep Chelsea Rural Committee and the Broad River Task Force. Speakers will share details of the petition and possible annexation in the future of the three Chelsea properties at 6 p.m. Feb. 8 at the Port Royal Sound Maritime Center, 310 Okatie Highway in Okatie.

"It is important for citizens within this area and throughout the county to attend this meeting so that they understand what could possibly happen in the area into the future," Keep Chelsea Rural member Smittie Cooler said. "The speakers will be providing important information for those who attend on topics such as the environmental impact, the traffic impact, the stormwater impact and how water and emergency service would be affected by annexation."

Okatie area restaurant scene growing with 2 new places to eat. Here are the details

Two new restaurants are giving Okatie residents some new dining out options along S.C. 170.The restaurants, both with Ridgeland mailing addresses but just over the Beaufort County line, are not connected and offer widely varied menus. One is open in the mornings and one in the evenings.What they do have in common is that they are signs of escalating retail and residential development along the heavily traveled corridor.Brothers Te Riley and Trent Riley opened ...

Two new restaurants are giving Okatie residents some new dining out options along S.C. 170.

The restaurants, both with Ridgeland mailing addresses but just over the Beaufort County line, are not connected and offer widely varied menus. One is open in the mornings and one in the evenings.

What they do have in common is that they are signs of escalating retail and residential development along the heavily traveled corridor.

Brothers Te Riley and Trent Riley opened Half Day Cafe in mid-December at 2633 North Okatie Highway, as S.C. 170 is known. Te said he and Trent both felt there was a need for this type of establishment.

“There’s nothing else along this corridor that serves a homemade breakfast,” he said.

Trent owns Sunset Pizza and Full Moon Saloon located next door to Half Day Cafe. Te said diners can expect the same quality of food at Half Day Cafe.

“We do not duplicate anything from next door, and we put a fresh twist on everything,” he said.

Five different types of flapjacks, breakfast burritos, chicken and waffles, breakfast bowls, fresh fruit and sandwiches named, “The Killer,” “The Low-Bottom,” and “Cherry Point,” are on the breakfast line up.

Half Day Cafe offers a brunch menu on the weekends that runs all day, featuring shrimp and grits or biscuits and gravy. Te said both the spicy syrup and biscuits are homemade.

A few of the lunch items are chopped chicken salad, blueberry chicken salad, pattie melt, “The Wedge,” a hummus Feta plate and soup.

Te said that there will always be a soup of the day for lunch, which is decided that day. “We never know what soup we are going to do.”

Ralphie’s Pizza and Eatery opened in the Riverwalk Business Park within the last week.

“I’m from New York, and I’ve always wanted to have a pizza place down here,” said owner Joel Mathis, who has lived in Bluffton for seven years.

“We are excited to serve everybody, offer a great product with fresh ingredients, and be a part of the community,” he said.

And he looks forward to expanding to Ralphie’s to lunch hours, with a special lunch menu of two slices and a drink.

House, veggie, white and meat pies are just a portion of the pizza options offered in personal, large or extra large sizes.

In addition to the cauliflower crust option, there is a pie called “The Endicott,” which is topped with marinated grilled chicken breast and described as an “Upstate favorite.”

The appetizer offerings include mozzarella sticks, garlic knots and bruschetta.

Other menu choices are baked haddock, calzone, hippie rolls and eggplant parmigiana.

Along with adding lunch hours soon, Ralphie’s will serve alcohol as soon as its liquor license is approved.

Half Day Cafe

Ralphie’s Pizza and Eatery

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