USC could sell thousands of acres of coastal land

USC hopes to sell land in Georgetown County

PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC (WMBF) – A massive 1,200 acre tract of oceanfront property could be up for sale soon from the University of South Carolina, but leaders in Pawleys Island are concerned about pollution from development.

"The tract is unique," said Amy Armstrong with the South Carolina Environmental Law Project. "It has a lot of wetlands. Wetlands help absorb pollutants."

The land, known as the Prince George Tract, belongs to the University of South Carolina. When the college assumed ownership, the initial plan was to use the land for conservation, education, and research. Now the university may be looking at a sale of the property.

USC already has a research center at the Hobcaw Barony just south of the land. A member of the Hobcaw research team said they were aware of a potential sale of the property, but couldn't comment on the matter.

Environmental activists, and some members of the Pawleys Island community are concerned about what a sale of the land would mean, especially if it's developed.

Pawleys Island Mayor Bill Otis says he's concerned stormwater runoff from development could pollute Pawleys Creek, which has already been affected by harmful pollutants.

"It's still polluted from years ago," Mayor Otis said. "That's not the direction we want to be going."

Armstrong says the Environmental Law Project is looking into any possible action it could take to prevent development.

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