Sea Pines is family friendly fun.
Thousands of people come, play and stay every year.
But the Sea Pines Resort plans to make it even better.
The proposal, according to resort President Steve Birdwell is large. “We are adding a new swim pool complex, spa, fitness center, and we are going to rebuild the racquet club.”
A $70 to $100 million project to add to the $85 million already spent on the Beach Club and Harbourtown Golf clubhouse. The plans, to make this a “5 star” resort.
But to build that hotel, the Tennis Center has to be moved. Its where the proposal would move it to that has led to a movement against the plan.
“I believe that Lawton Stables and a tennis facility cannot co-exist side by side.”
Natalie Lieberman has started a petition to save Lawton Stables.
“Its a landmark,” said Lieberman. “People for generations have come here. I’ve talked to people who’ve come as children. they brought their children and now their children are bringing their children.”
The current plan would take 8 acres away from the beautiful horse area created in the 1970’s. It would also cover what is currently the Equestrian center and Boarding stables.
Leiberman says the 13 acres left after the expansion would be a very small area for the 48 horses, Clydesdale Harley, the ponies and small animal farm current on site.
But Lieberman says the site plan shows 6 acres of that property is a pond not fields of grass.
“7 acres of the 13 acres of property is lagoon,” said Lieberman. “That leaves only 6 acres of land for Lawton Stables to operate on thats impossible.”
She also says the tennis itself is an issue.
“Horses are reactive. that means they act first think second so a swinging racquet a flying ball, a suddenly darting person will panic them, when they are panicking they spook they turn they run, they try to get away,” said Lieberman.
That could potentially send the horses running wild, with inexperienced riders on top.
“I do think we can have a 5 star equestrian center and a 5 star tennis resort here in sea pines that would be great, but not side by side they cant co-exist.”
Birdwell says Sea Pines wants to keep the stables, plans to keep the horses away from the tennis, and continue the trail and pony riding programs people love.
“The property is what we believe is the location for what we believe can be a small very nice tennis center,” said Birdwell.”Wecan maintain all the things from Lawton, the trail riding, the pony riding the small animal farm, and continue to offer all those benefits and amenities plus continue to build this world class tennis center.”
“We will keep the horses away from the tennis and the property can be subdivided to to that, there’s a great way to get the horses to the Forest Reserve.”
Sea Pines residents themselves will have the final say on this issue.
There will be a community wide referendum vote for all owners to decide if the expansion will go on or not.
Those ballots should go out in September.