Criminal Defense Attorney inSlater, SC

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CDH Law Firm: Giving Hope to
Criminal Defense Clients in
Slater, SC

Getting charged with a crime in Slater can be a traumatic experience. Even "petty" crimes can cause an individual's life to fall apart professionally and personally. Spending time in jail is bad enough, but the ramifications of a criminal record run deep, resulting in loss of employment, loss of friends, and even family. For many people, having a zealous criminal defense attorney in Slater, SC, to defend their rights is the only shot they have of living a normal life.

That's why, if you have been charged with a crime, you need the help of a veteran criminal defense lawyer early in the legal process. That's where CDH Law Firm comes in to give you or your loved one hope when you need it the most.

Our criminal defense law firm was founded to help people just like you - hardworking men and women who are looking at diminished employment opportunities and a possible lifetime of embarrassment. But with our team of experts fighting by your side, you have a much better chance of maintaining your freedom and living a normal, productive life. When it comes to criminal law in Slater, we've seen it all. With decades of combined experience, there is no case too complicated or severe for us to handle, from common DUI charges to complicated cases involving juvenile crimes. Unlike some of our competition, we prioritize personalized service and cutting-edge criminal defense strategies to effectively represent our clients.

Criminal Defense Attorney Slater, SC

Clients rank Cobb Dill & Hammett, LLC as the top choice for Slater criminal defense because we provide:

  • One-on-One Counsel
  • Education on the Slater Legal Process and Its Risks
  • Ardent, Effective Representation
  • Commitment to Our Clients and Defending Their Rights
  • Prompt Inquiry Response
  • Robust Experience with Criminal Law Cases in Slater
  • Innovative Defense Strategies
  • Effective, Thorough Research and Investigation

Choosing the right criminal defense lawyer in Slater can mean the difference between conviction and acquittal. Our firm has represented thousands of clients in the Lowcountry, and we're ready to defend you too. Some of our specialties include:

 Law Firm Slater, SC
The-Cobb-Dill-Hammett-Difference

DUI Cases
in Slater, SC

DUI penalties in Slater can be very harsh. Many first-time DUI offenders must endure a lifelong criminal record, license suspension, and the possibility of spending time in jail. Officers and judges take DUI very seriously, with 30% of traffic fatalities in South Carolina involving impaired drivers, according to NHTSA. Criminal convictions can have lasting impacts on your life, which is why CDH Law Firm works so hard to get these charges dismissed or negotiated down. In some cases, we help clients avoid jail time altogether.

 Criminal Defense Lawyer Slater, SC
When you hire our DUI defense firm, our team will always work towards your best interests and will go above and beyond to achieve the best outcome in your case. Depending on the circumstances of your DUI charges, we will investigate whether:
  • Your DUI stop was legal
  • You were administered a field sobriety test correctly
  • The breathalyzer used was calibrated correctly and properly maintained
  • Urine and blood tests were administered and collected properly

The bottom line? Our criminal law defense attorneys will do everything possible to keep you out of jail with a clean permanent record. It all starts with a free consultation, where we will take time to explain the DUI process. We'll also discuss your defense options and speak at length about the differences between going to trial and accepting a plea bargain.

DUI Penalties in Slater, SC

The consequences of a DUI in Slater depend on a number of factors, including your blood alcohol level and how many DUIs you have received in the last 10 years. If you're convicted, the DUI charge will remain on your criminal history and can be seen by anyone who runs a background check on you. Sometimes, a judge will require you to enter alcohol treatment or install an interlock device on your automobile.

If you're on the fence about hiring a criminal defense lawyer in Slater, SC, consider the following DUI consequences:

Criminal Defense Attorney Slater, SC

First Offense

Offense

48 hours to 90 days

in jail

with fines ranging from

$400 to $1,000

Second Offense

Offense

Five days to three years

in jail

with fines ranging from

$2,100 to $6,500

Third Offense

Offense

60 days to five years

in jail

with fines ranging from

$3,800 to $10,000

Additional consequences can include:

1

Alcohol or Drug Treatment

When convicted of DUI in South Carolina, most offenders must join the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program. This program mandates that offenders complete a drug and alcohol assessment and follow the recommended treatment options.

 Law Firm Slater, SC

2

Community Service

Some first-time DUI offenders in Slater may choose to complete community service in lieu of jail time. Community service hours are usually equal to the length of jail time an offender would be required to serve.

 Criminal Defense Lawyer Slater, SC

Sanctions to Your Driver's License

Typically, when a person is convicted of driving under the influence in Slater, their driver's license is restricted or suspended. The length of restriction or suspension depends on how many prior DUI convictions an individual has.

First DUI Offense

First-time DUI offenders must endure a six-month license suspension. Drivers convicted with a blood-alcohol level of .15% or more do not qualify for a provisional license. However, sometimes they may still drive using an ignition interlock device.

Second DUI Offense

Offenders convicted of a second DUI charge must use an ignition interlock device (IID) for two years.

Third DUI Offense

Offenders convicted of a third DUI charge must use an ignition interlock device (IID) for three years. That term increases to four years if the driver is convicted of three DUIs in five years.

Immobilized Vehicle

For offenders with two or more convictions, the judge will immobilize their vehicle if it is not equipped with an IID. When a judge immobilizes a vehicle, the owner must turn over their registration and license plate. Clearly, the consequences of receiving a DUI in Slater can be life-changing, and not in a good way. The good news is that with CDH Law Firm, you have a real chance at beating your charges and avoiding serious fines and jail time. Every case is different, which is why it's so important that you call our office as soon as possible if you are charged with a DUI.

Traffic Violation Cases

Most drivers brush off traffic law violations as minor offenses, but the fact of the matter is they are criminal matters to be taken seriously. Despite popular opinion, Traffic Violation cases in Slater can carry significant consequences like fines and even incarceration. If you or someone you love has been convicted of several traffic offenses, your license could be suspended, restricting your ability to work and feed your family.

Every driver should take Traffic Violations seriously. If you're charged with a traffic crime, it's time to protect yourself and your family with a trusted criminal defense lawyer in Slater, SC. Cobb Dill Hammett, LLC is ready to provide the legal guidance and advice you need to beat your traffic charges. We'll research the merits of your case, explain what charges you're facing, discuss your defense options, and strategize an effective defense on your behalf.

Common Slater
Traffic Violations That CDH Law
Firm Fights

There are dozens and dozens of traffic laws in Slater, all of which affect drivers in some way. Our Slater defense attorneys fight a full range of violations, including but not limited to the following:

Criminal Defense Attorney Slater, SC
  • Driving Under Suspension: If you drive while your license is suspended, revoked, or canceled, you could be looking at 30 days in jail and fines up to $300.
  • Driving Under the Influence: Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated on drugs or alcohol is illegal and often results in jail time and fines.
  • Reckless Driving: You could be ordered to pay up to $200 in fines or jailed for up to 30 days if you drive with wanton disregard for the safety of other people.
  • Racing: You can be cited and fined if you aid or participate in street racing.
  • Hit and Run: When you leave the scene of an accident that involved injury to another party, you can be arrested. This serious charge can lead to up to one year in jail and fines of up to $5,000 for first-time offenders.
  • Disregard Traffic Signals: Drivers must obey all traffic signals and control devices, less they be ticketed and sometimes fined.

As seasoned traffic violation lawyers, we know how frustrating it can be to get charged with a Traffic Violation. While some traffic charges can be minor, others are severe and can affect your life for years to come. Don't leave your fate up to chance call CDH Law Firm today for the highest-quality Traffic Violation representation in Slater.

Juvenile Crime Cases in
Slater, SC

At Cobb Dill Hammett, LLC, we understand that children are still growing and learning about the world around them. As such, they may make mistakes that get them into trouble with the law. Children and teens who are arrested in Slater can face much different futures than other children their age. Some face intensive probation, while others are made to spend time in jail.

This happens most often when a child's parents fail to retain legal counsel for their son or daughter. Cases referred to the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice often move quicker than adult cases, so finding a good lawyer is of utmost importance. With that said, a compassionate criminal defense attorney in Slater, SC, can educate you and your child about their alleged charges. To help prevent your child from going to a detention center, we will devise a strategy to achieve favorable results in their case.

 Law Firm Slater, SC
 Criminal Defense Lawyer Slater, SC

Juvenile Detention Hearings

Unlike adults, juveniles don't have a constitutional right to a bond hearing. Instead, once your child is taken into custody a Detention Hearing is conducted within 48 hours. This hearing is similar to a combination of a Bond Hearing and a Preliminary Hearing. Unfortunately, there is little time to prepare for these hearings, which is why you must move quickly and call CDH law firm as soon as possible.

Our team gathers police reports, petitions, interviews your child at the DJJ, speaks with you about the case and talks to the prosecutor to discover if they have plans for detention. In most cases, we strive to avoid detention and seek alternatives like divisionary programs or treatment facilities. This strategy better addresses your child's issues and keeps them out of the juvenile legal system in Slater. If your child is charged with a crime, and South Carolina decides to prosecute, your child will appear before a family court judge, who will find them delinquent or not delinquent. There are no juries in juvenile cases in South Carolina, which is why it's crucial to have a lawyer present to defend your child if they go in front of a judge.

Common penalties for juveniles charged with crimes in Slater include:

Criminal Defense Attorney Slater, SC
  • Probation: Children charged with probation are released to their parents or guardians. Depending on their charges, they must abide by certain stipulations while at home and may be subject to random drug screenings. Violation of probation often results in jail time.
  • 90 Days in Juvenile Detention Center: When probation is not a viable option, prosecutors may push for 90 days of jail time in a juvenile detention facility.
  • Juvenile Detention: Children who commit very serious crimes can be sent to a juvenile detention center for a long time. These sentences can last up to the child's 21st birthday.
  • School Expulsion: When a child is convicted of a crime, their school is notified of the offense. Sometimes, the administration may decide to expel the child from school for the misdemeanors or felonies they commit.

We Fight to Protect
Your Rights So You Can
Provide for Your Family

Whether you are facing a DUI charge or a serious traffic violation, CDH Law Firm is here to fight for your rights so you can continue living life. The future might seem bleak, but our criminal defense lawyers in Slater, SC, have the tools, experience, and strategy to win your case, as we have with so many others. Don't lose hope call our office today and maintain your freedom tomorrow.

Ask us anything

Call Now 843-936-6680 PH

Latest News in Slater, SC

Community pushing for Slater-Marietta High School to return to north Greenville Co.

GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A major push is underway to bring a high school back to north Greenville County.Slater-Marietta High School closed in the 1970’s, forcing students to travel miles to the next closest public high school.People in this community told 7NEWS, that they were promised another one would be back but it’s not and they want that to change.The yearbooks for Slater-Marietta High School hold a lot of memories. Especially for people in the community like Vanessa McFarland’s fami...

GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A major push is underway to bring a high school back to north Greenville County.

Slater-Marietta High School closed in the 1970’s, forcing students to travel miles to the next closest public high school.

People in this community told 7NEWS, that they were promised another one would be back but it’s not and they want that to change.

The yearbooks for Slater-Marietta High School hold a lot of memories. Especially for people in the community like Vanessa McFarland’s family.

“My mother went to Slater-Marietta High School along with many people I live around. I went to elementary school here, my brother and I,” Vanessa McFarland told us.

McFarland add even her own kids went there.

But it wasn’t always an elementary school. It was a high school. In fact, the only option for north Greenville County residents.

“We want to give the rural people good education because it’s going to keep the rural areas, rural,” said Gina Norris Hinton, President of the Slater-Marietta Community Association.

But Gina Norris Hinton with the Slater-Marietta Community Association said it closed in the early 1970’s, as students merged with Travelers Rest High School.

“For some, it’s almost an hour drive. Our lines go all the way up to the North Carolina lines,” Norris Hinton explained.

On top of some high school students and their families now having to drive miles to school, Greenville County Councilman Joe Dill said the population there is growing. He believes now is the time for a high school to open again to keep up with the demand.

“New housing, new subdivisions from Travelers Rest all the way to the North Carolina line. This is creating a situation where the school district is going to need to do some kind of long-range plan, as to how they’re going to address all the long-term growth,” said Greenville County Councilman, Joe Dill.

McFarland agrees. Her family knows that high school commute all too well.

“It takes us 30 minutes to get to school and back. I rode the school bus when I was in school, it was a two hour ride in the morning and a two hour ride in the afternoon,” McFarland told 7NEWS.

Plus, she loves where she lives and hopes one day, her family can once again call themselves, Slater-Marietta High School alumni.

“I’ve been here 44 years. I don’t have plans on leaving, I hope my kids stick around,” said McFarland.

School board members with the Greenville County School District have said they will take these concerns into consideration. Councilman Joe Dill said what’s next in all of this is waiting for the district to come back with their long-range facilities plan.

TNC and OSI Expand Coosawhatchie River Conservation Efforts

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Open Space Institute (OSI) announced a joint, two-phase effort to permanently protect more than 7,300 acres in Coastal South Carolina’s Hampton and Jasper counties. The protection of the property, known locally as “Buckfield,” will link ecologically significant landscapes, creating a 12,000-acre stretch of protected land in this fast-growing region, and make way...

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Open Space Institute (OSI) announced a joint, two-phase effort to permanently protect more than 7,300 acres in Coastal South Carolina’s Hampton and Jasper counties. The protection of the property, known locally as “Buckfield,” will link ecologically significant landscapes, creating a 12,000-acre stretch of protected land in this fast-growing region, and make way for publicly accessible recreation land in the near future.

On June 30, TNC acquired 3,654 acres, marking a bold first step in the permanent protection of Buckfield.

“Buckfield’s enormous size, extensive river frontage and healthy longleaf pine forests have long made it a property of interest for conservation in county comprehensive plans and by the conservation community,” says Dale Threatt-Taylor, TNC's executive director in South Carolina. “We’re thrilled to be joining OSI in this significant conservation achievement and to be opening these lands to the people of South Carolina in the near future.”

OSI intends to acquire the remaining 3,672 acres later this year. The entire Buckfield property (parts I and II), along with the adjacent 5,000-acre Slater property secured by OSI last year, is expected to be transferred to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) to become an approximately 12,000-acre WMA. The land will be open for public access.

“The conservation of Buckfield in this vulnerable region is a momentous achievement on its own. When combined with Slater, these 12,000 acres offer largescale connectivity and limitless public recreation opportunities,” said Nate Berry, OSI’s senior vice president. “This is an unparalleled triumph for the people and wildlife of this region."

Buckfield is an ecological treasure with upland longleaf pine forests providing habitat for rare gopher tortoise populations, 36 miles of river frontage on the Coosawhatchie River and Tulifinny River, and many braided streams. This immense watershed drains into the Port Royal Sound, providing clean, abundant water for citizens downstream and replenishing the estuaries on which recreational and commercial fisheries depend.

Additionally, the property, along with adjoining protected properties, creates a “nature bridge” of undeveloped land that spans from the 300,000-acre Ashepoo-Combahee-Edisto (ACE) Rivers Basin to the 450,000-acre South Lowcountry-Savannah River (SOLO).

Until recently, the area between the ACE Basin and the SOLO—where Beaufort, Hampton and Jasper counties intersect—had few protected properties and almost no publicly accessible land. It also faces development pressure from the rapidly growing communities of Beaufort, Bluffton and Hilton Head, located less than 20 miles away.

“Buckfield is a huge success and helps fulfill Jasper County’s community vision for the protection of land for public recreation, water quality and economic development," commented Andy Fulghum, Jasper County administrator. “We applaud TNC and OSI for partnering to get this deal done and look forward to working together on future conservation victories.”

In 2021, OSI purchased three properties, known as the Slater assemblage, totaling slightly more than 5,000 acres, in the heart of this unprotected region. The Slater project kickstarted the acquisition of adjacent Buckfield.

Open Space Institute acquires 3,800 acres for conservation in Jasper County

As development continues throughout the Lowcountry, an organization recently announced its $16 million purchase of land in Jasper County to be protected for public use.The Open Space Institute said it closed May 20 on the 3,800-acre Slater tract in northern Jasper County. The purchase makes it "one of the largest conservation investments in state history," according to the institute.The institute said it plans to transfer the property to the South Carolina Department of Resources as funding becomes avai...

As development continues throughout the Lowcountry, an organization recently announced its $16 million purchase of land in Jasper County to be protected for public use.

The Open Space Institute said it closed May 20 on the 3,800-acre Slater tract in northern Jasper County. The purchase makes it "one of the largest conservation investments in state history," according to the institute.

The institute said it plans to transfer the property to the South Carolina Department of Resources as funding becomes available.

"The purchase and use of the property as a wildlife management area accomplishes goals identified in the county’s 2018 comprehensive plan as well as the county’s Natural Resources Conservation Plan of 2007, which specifically recognized the Slater tract as a primary longleaf pine protection area," Jasper County administrator Andy Fulghum said.

Fulghum said the land will be protected and programmed for use by residents and visitors. It encompasses 3,800 acres of mature upland pinelands, bottomland forests and cypress/tupelo swamps, a news release said.

Eleven miles of the Coosawhatchie River and its tributaries are within the borders of the property, OSI said, and the swamp and upland forests "mitigate downstream flooding and to sustain water quality in Port Royal Sound."

“The Slater property fully incorporates every characteristic that justifies land protection in South Carolina,” OSI senior vice president and Southeast Office director Nate Berry said in the release.

Berry said the tract "expands public access in an area where public lands are relatively scarce; it protects water quality and fisheries in the Port Royal Sound estuary and the Broad River; it secures habitat that is essential for hundreds of varieties of plants and animals, and it helps mitigate climate change by storing hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon.”

The release said the closest public property is a 40-minute drive for most Jasper County residents. It said the Slater tract will provide opportunities for fishing, hunting and other recreation.

"The property will be quickly designated as a heritage preserve and wildlife management area by the state, making it perpetually available for public enjoyment for hunting, fishing, hiking, wildlife watching, and significant public educational opportunities to include academic research and local school outdoor lab opportunities," Fulghum said.

The tract "is the anchor property for a larger initiative in this region to permanently protect habitat for rare, threatened, and endangered species of plants and animals," the release said.

"Multiple aquatic systems and sensitive species along five miles of frontage on the Coosawhatchie and Tulifinny rivers will be protected while the diversity of wildland recreation opportunities in Jasper County will be expanded, increasing tourist attraction, stimulating the economy, and providing an opportunity to educate all on the wise use and management of our natural resources," Fulghum said.

The property includes a sand ridge that hosts a growing population of 150 gopher tortoises. A federally designated “at risk” species, gopher tortoises excavate burrows that provide habitats for dozens of other animals, making it a “keystone” species, the release said.

“We are excited about the protection of the Slater tract and appreciate the partnership of OSI to ensure this tract remains a key piece for natural resources, such as the state endangered gopher tortoise,” DNR director Robert Boyles said.

Other rare animals at the site include southern hognose snakes, federally protected Rafinesque’s big-eared bats, bald eagles, Florida pine snakes and eastern diamondback rattlesnakes, OSI said.

The Slater tract links the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge with the Southern Lowcountry Focus Area, according to the release. Combined, they "cover more than a tenth of South Carolina’s land area, and constitute one of the largest undeveloped, ecologically intact regions on the East Coast."

“The protection of Slater is not just a game changer for future ecosystem protection and land use in this region. It is the game changer,” said Chris Marsh, director of the Spring Island Trust and the Lowcountry Institute said. “OSI’s protection of the Slater Tract is a huge win for all those who love the outdoors in the region because it represents the first critical step in protecting the headwaters of the Port Royal Sound.”

'He was a loving young man': Sumter County mother remembers son's life

Sumter County Sheriff's deputies say 23-year-old Derrick Slater was found dead along Scales Road around 11 a.m. Saturday. He was reported missing October 22.Sumter County, SC (WLTX) -- In Sumter County, an investigation is underway into the death of a missing man.Sumter County Sheriff's deputies say 23-year-old Derrick Slater was found dead along Scales Road around 11 a.m. Saturday.RELATED: ...

Sumter County Sheriff's deputies say 23-year-old Derrick Slater was found dead along Scales Road around 11 a.m. Saturday. He was reported missing October 22.

Sumter County, SC (WLTX) -- In Sumter County, an investigation is underway into the death of a missing man.

Sumter County Sheriff's deputies say 23-year-old Derrick Slater was found dead along Scales Road around 11 a.m. Saturday.

RELATED: Missing Sumter man found dead, ruled suspicious

They say his body was found a short distance from his car off Coon Ridge Road. The vehicle was located Friday.

Officials say they're ruling Slater's death as suspicious and say it appears to be the result of a robbery.

"I don't understand, I don't know what happened. I don't know what went wrong," said Slater's mother, Shandel Porter.

Porter says her son was a big teddy bear, and never harmed a soul.

Credit: Family Members

"His nickname is 'Snacks'," she said. "The reason why we call him Snacks is because I have a convenience store. He used to always come out here and get my snacks and take them and sell them at school. "

A Rembert native and graduate of Crestwood High School, Slater's dream was to be a rapper and promoter.

Loved ones say everyone fell in love with his energy and personality.

"He was a loving young man. Everybody, and when I say everybody, everybody fell in love with him," said Porter.

Slater was a hard worker, his mother says. He was recently promoted to manager at a McDonald's in Camden.

Credit: Family Members

"One day we had a conversation and he said, 'Mom, I started from the bottom at McDonald's making $7.25. Look where I am today'," said Porter.

Slater was about to become a first-time father. His baby boy is due November 29.

Officials say persons of interest have been identified in this case, but wouldn't release the names to the public.

A candlelight vigil for Slater is set for Sunday at 7 p.m. at The Yellow Store off Pisgah Road in Rembert.

Lowcountry swamped: How to keep cookie-cutter growth from killing SC’s golden goose

OPINION AND COMMENTARYEditorials and other Opinion content offer perspectives on issues important to our community and are independent from the work of our newsroom reporte...

OPINION AND COMMENTARY

Editorials and other Opinion content offer perspectives on issues important to our community and are independent from the work of our newsroom reporters.

This is part of the Lowcountry Swamped series. Read about the problem of over development in the Lowcountry and the history behind a tract of Jasper County land being considered for conservation.

For once, a yellow-throated warbler bid me good morning deep in the South Carolina Lowcountry instead of the usual full-throttled leaf blower.

I was touring a great new wonder — the 5,000-acre Slater tract in northern Jasper County that will not only be saved from development forever but also be open to the public.

“It’s one of the most beautiful pieces of property I’ve ever seen,” said Dana Beach, the retired founding director of the Coastal Conservation League.

He calls it “the epicenter of biodiversity in the South,” and retired Lowcountry Institute director Chris Marsh says it has “an incredible mosaic of habitat because of the topography” that make it as critical as any land in the state.

And since that tour more than a year ago, the adjacent 7,000-acre Buckfield tract is also being purchased for preservation, and public access.

This is the answer the problem of Lowcountry sprawl.

This is the only way the Lowcountry will be saved from the Atlanta-style development that has swamped Bluffton and Hardeeville and is now snaking its way into unincorporated Jasper County.

We’re at a tipping point and the saving grace, if it happens, will be public land ownership, public acquisition of development rights, and private landowners setting up voluntary conservation easements.

We now know the future of the Slater and Buckfield tracts.

They sit almost a dolphin’s leap from Exit 28 on Interstate-95. It’s easy to envision intense development there. We’ve witnessed the dark and lonely McGarvey’s Corner intersection half an hour away morph into an overcrowded cloverleaf outside Sun City Hilton Head.

And these tracts are laced with the Coosawhatchie and Tulifinny rivers, forming a horseshoe of environmental protection around the headwaters of Port Royal Sound.

“We’re trying to change people’s mindset,” said Charles Lane.

He was an early instigator of the ACE Basin movement that has protected 320,000 acres between Hilton Head Island and Charleston over the past 30 years, and active in the Slater and Buckfield deals.

“If people think development is inevitable, they are unlikely to be a player for conservation. If they think conservation is a more likely outcome, they are more willing to talk.

“What Buckfield and Slater do for us is provide an anchor up here. We can build on that.

“And we’re going to have to find other anchors.”

Land conservation has a lot of momentum in South Carolina.

The Slater and Buckfield deals show it.

It helps conservationists when land is still held in large tracts, as it is in the Lowcountry. Big tracts were often plantations, then tree farms or hunting preserves, now often owned by interests nationwide as timber investment management organizations (TIMOs).

Hampton County native Wise Batten, who owns a forestry management and real estate brokerage firm based in Estill, calls them “a timber hedge fund.”

They would approach pension plans, endowments, insurance companies and very wealthy people and say ‘we can earn you 5% over a long period.’”

In Beaufort County and in Hardeeville, former timber land was often sold in big tracts to developers who got it annexed into a town with a development agreement in hand, then flipped parcels to national homebuilders such as D.R. Horton and neighborhoods sprang up overnight.

On the other side, a couple of national organizations that made the Slater and Buckfield deals possible came seeking long-term conservation of environmentally sensitive land for it to remain in traditional uses and thwart sprawling development.

The Open Space Institute (OSI) bought the Slater tract in three chunks for about $20 million. It will get that money back when the state buys the land and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources manages it for wildlife and land protection, as well as public uses such as hiking, fishing and hunting.

The Nature Conservancy bought half of the Buckfield land for about $16 million and OSI is expected to buy the rest by the end of the year. The state is to buy that tract as well, setting up a 12,000-acre wildlife management area with public access.

To make this possible, private foundations and donors got help from the federal government with the aid of U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, and allocations from the state legislature, the state Conservation Bank, and the S.C. Heritage Trust program.

“We’ve seen an unprecedented amount of state resources for conservation,” Lane said — more than $100 million recently. The same is true at the federal and county levels, he said.

The Lowcountry also has a collaborative conservation community, with OSI, the Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, land trusts, and private property owners working together with state and local governments — and working across county lines.

“There is more money than there ever has been to do this at the federal, state, local and private level,” Beach said. “And there’s more landowner awareness. There’s a more competent big-land conservation movement now.

“If we look back and see the evolution of the protected land base, it’s not only better zoning and better public policies, but also a better attitude with local citizens and local government.”

The Lowcountry’s golden goose is not the beach or military that have drawn so many people here.

It is the land itself, with graceful trees and stirring wildlife, its meandering creeks and rivers, and marshes cackling with life.

And private property owners who appreciate that have led the way in land conservation.

“South Carolina has quite a conservation story to tell the nation,” said Kate Schafer with the Open Land Trust based in Beaufort.

The ACE Basin story is based on private landowners making individual conservation easements.

Batten and his wife have placed a large tract near Estill in a permanent easement, for example, and he points to neighbors doing the same, such as the John D. Carswell family.

The Slater tract was sold by Glover Real Estate LLC of Bluffton.

Buckfield is being sold by Richard L. Chilton Jr. of Connecticut, owner of a global investment management firm. He also owns White Hall Plantation in Colleton County, and Bull Island in the May River near Bluffton.

He told The Island Packet in 2001, “We’re preservationists, not developers.”

Jasper County administrator Andy Fulghum sees the future 12,000-acre Wildlife Management Area as a perfect fit for the region.

He says it is part of recreational economy, which includes private hunt clubs and the Congaree Golf Club nearby, where the PGA Tour recently held its second tournament.

Combined with the quiet industry of solar panel farms that produce about $1 million annually for the county without demanding any services, Jasper County now sees a better option than hoping residential development will pay for itself, which it never does.

“Slater is going to be huge for us as sort of economic development and for providing recreational amenities for folks that we don’t have to pay for as local taxpayers,” he said.

Michelle Sinkler, special projects manager for OSI, said, “This is not only an anchor for homeowners but an anchor for leadership, to show Jasper and Hampton county leaders that this can be done. So when they do have, perhaps, a nonconforming project come in front of them, they have confidence in saying ‘no’ perhaps to annexations or inappropriate development proposals.

“We hope 12,000 acres in public lands can inspire leaders to make hard decisions.”

This story was originally published October 28, 2022, 5:00 AM.

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