Thursday, January 16, 2014
The Coastal Montessori Charter School, which wants to build a facility on the Longleaf Pine property on U.S. Highway 17 south of Pawleys Island, is facing opposition from nearby residents.
According to a letter from the school’s Board of Directors, the Prince George Community Association informed the board on Dec. 27 that it plans to sue to stop the construction. The Prince George development is located on both sides of Highway 17, south of the Longleaf Pine property.
The association believes the property’s deed prevents a public Montessori school from being built there and that it has the right to enforce that restriction.
The University of South Carolina Development Association, which currently owns the 109 acres, says the deed allows a school to be on 10 acres at the site and the school’s plans are consistent with the deeds.
According to the board’s letter, representatives from the Prince George association said they have an “Assignment of Rights” from the property’s original owner, the Prince George Limited Partnership, which gives them interest in the Longleaf Pine property and the right to sue.
The board said it requested a copy of the document but was refused. There is no document on file at the Georgetown County Courthouse or with USC, the letter stated.
In reaction to the threat of the lawsuit, the board has formed a Facilities Committee to “address the new challenges to the school’s plans for construction on the Longleaf Pine property,” and is rallying support from parents and the Montessori community.
Because the school has applied for a USDA, Rural Development Community Facility Loan, the USDA made an assessment of the potential environmental impact of the facility.
The USDA has determined the facility “will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment.”
Because of this finding, the USDA does not plan to prepare an environmental-impact statement, but is seeking public comment.
Comment should be mailed by Jan. 31 to: Nickie Toomes, Rural Development Specialist, USDA, Rural Development, 531 Robertson Blvd., Suite A, Walterboro, SC 29488.