Luxury RVs coming to Bluffton and Hardeeville

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The owners of a Bluffton golf course are moving ahead with plans for a luxury recreational vehicle park – and it’s not the only one in the works for the Lowcountry.

Scratch Golf, LLC, wants to use nearly a third of the roughly 300-acre Hilton Head National Golf Club for the RV park, which spokesman Tom Gardo said will include up to 339 rental sites with parking pads for upscale vehicles — often worth anywhere from $250,000 to $2 million. The owner is looking for final approval before the end of the year so the park can open in spring 2020.

Gardo said Scratch Golf isn’t ready to disclose the projected cost of the new RV facility, nor how much the parking pads will cost to rent. The RV park’s 339 rental sites would take up roughly 92 acres of the Hilton Head National property, which stretches from U.S. 278 and across Bluffton Parkway. Scratch Golf built the course in 1989. The new RV resort will be adjacent to the golf course, allowed by the “by-right use with conditions” ordinance under Beaufort County’s zoning rules. “By-right” development reflects projects that are consistent with uses permitted under existing zoning and does not require legislative action.

“The luxury RV resort will serve as a family-friendly destination that will strive to enhance the viability of Hilton Head National Golf Course, as well as nearby retailers and restaurants,” said Bill Palmer, president of Scratch Golf, also noting that the new facility will bring additional tax revenue to Beaufort County, as well as revenue from renters who will shop for food and entertainment.

As part of its appeal, the RV park will include amenities like swimming pools and pickleball courts, as well as a dog park, tennis courts, general-use park and nature trails. A building housing a laundry facility and a snack bar also is planned, Gardo said, adding that the park’s amenities will only be available to renters, though the golf course will remain open to the public.

RVs will enter the park from Bluffton Parkway, using the same entrance golfers use to access the course. But once on the property, a new road will steer the RVs to the park area and the parking pads. Gardo said the new road will help eliminate any traffic backup on Bluffton Parkway caused by the increased flow of traffic to the area. Work also is underway to create easier access to the parking pads and to increase buffer areas near wetlands and trees, though final approval from Beaufort County is needed before any real construction work can begin.

Both Gardo and Palmer say the new facility won’t be the average RV park; it will provide a luxury experience for those traveling in high-end recreational vehicles who are used to more than just a power hookup and the bare minimum of amenities.

“It's going to be very upscale,” Gardo said. “When (Scratch Golf) was doing its studies, the team found there was a shortage of luxury RV parks around the country.”

Meanwhile, Hardeeville City Council recently approved a request by Forida-based Compass RV to construct a 185-acre upscale RV park with two entrances on U.S. 17. The park will offer 950 spots for RVs that will be rentable for up to 18 months, according to Hardeeville Mayor Harry Williams. Construction on Compass RV Park is expected to begin in early 2019, but a projected opening date has not been announced.

“It’ll bring in quality people and tourists,” Williams told The Island Packet. “Lots of people drive Interstate 95 from Maine to Florida. Anyone passing by exit f5 could stay here, even for months at a time.”