Skip to main content

Wedding & Event Venue Near Ridgeland, SC.

Platform Lifts-phone-nuber864-980-8004

Wedding Consultation

Your Magic Moment Awaits

Your wedding day. Without a doubt, it's one of the most significant events you will ever experience - when you and the love of your life officially seal the deal and get married. On this day, your friends and family will gather to celebrate the next step in your life. Photographers will be running around snapping photos, catering plates delicious food for guests to enjoy, and the DJ sets the mood for a night of fun and libation. You've worked extra hard to make everything look perfect and run smoothly. You have examined every moving part down to the tiniest detail. At the center of all your effort is your wedding venue in Ridgeland, SC.

Your event space can mean the difference between an unforgettable event and an average occasion. Capturing your uniqueness as a couple is paramount to a memorable wedding. But, without the right venue location and staff, your unforgettable event can turn into a painfully average occasion. Fortunately, at Abney Hall, you won't ever have to worry about dingy reception spaces and crummy chow halls.

Constructed in Ridgeland, SC, in 1962, Abney Hall is 15,000 square feet and sits on 500 acres of land, making it a large wedding venue unlike any other. Abney Hall was originally the home of Mrs. Josephine Abney, a Ridgeland native who was a lifelong philanthropist. Mrs. Abney devoted much of her time and effort towards supporting charities, educational institutions, hospitals, and other noble efforts. Today, Abney Hall stands tall as a symbol of love, both in our community and for the couples who choose to get married here.

Abney Hall is an exclusive event experience unlike any other, surrounded by verdant forests and sparkling ponds. Our venue is a natural fit for several occasions, including:

Special Event Space Ridgeland, SC


 Event Venue Ridgeland, SC

Bridal Showers

 Event Space Ridgeland, SC

Bridal Portraits

 Rehearsal Dinner Venue Ridgeland, SC

Rehearsal Dinners

 Bridal Shower Venue Ridgeland, SC

Corporate Events

 Business Event Space Ridgeland, SC

Much More!

 Wedding Space Ridgeland, SC

The Top Wedding Venue in Ridgeland, SC

The beginning of your life starts at Abney Hall. With our team by your side, we can create the fairy tale wedding you have dreamed about since childhood. Whether you have 100 guests or 1,000, our waterfront ceremony locations and French-inspired courtyard are perfect for your big day. Celebrate in luxurious style surrounded by shady magnolia trees, a private forest, large ponds, and the beauty of Mother Nature. While our venue location and aesthetic have been praised far and wide, so too have the practical aspects of Abney Hall. Looking for a relaxing, comfortable spot for your bridal party to get ready in? We offer an entire floor in the Abney Hall residence to get the bridal party ready. Want to make your groomsman feel extra-special too? We've got a private, plush house just feet from a sparkling pond that is a proper hangout spot for the guys in your group.

To make life easier on you, we also offer Abney Hall as your go-to spot for rehearsal dinners. Why book an expensive restaurant or travel to another location when unmatched beauty and convenience are right at your fingertips? Abney Hall is just the place for that very important dinner the night before your big day. We are also happy to host your bridal shower at Abney Hall. Our venue makes for one of Ridgeland's most unique bridal shower settings, where your family and friends can gather to give gifts and be merry before you walk down the aisle.

With such a large, magnificent house and a vast property, Abney Hall also makes for an unforgettable location for your bridal portraits and other wedding-related photography needs. Don't take our word for it - book a tour and see for yourself why so many new brides and grooms choose Abney Hall as their wedding venue in Ridgeland.

 Wedding Venue Ridgeland, SC

What Sets Abney Hall Apart from Other Wedding Venues in Ridgeland?

You've already found the person you want to spend the rest of your life beside. The next step? Finding the perfect wedding venue for your ceremony, reception, and celebration of your lifelong commitment to one another. Remember, the backdrop for photos, dancing, eating, and all other activities will be at your wedding venue. That's why we work so hard to set Abney Hall apart from our competitors - so you and your guests can focus on love and living your new life while we work with your vendors and photographers to make your magic night a reality.

Here are just a few reasons why guests choose Abney Hall as their wedding venue in Ridgeland, SC, along with some helpful tips from our experienced wedding venue staff:

Venue Size

Choosing the appropriate-sied venue for your desired guest count is a critical decision. A venue's capacity affects the number of people you need to consider having at your ceremony and reception. As you're first starting out, we recommend having a guest count in mind as you're searching for the right venue. Try to stick with that number. You may fall in love with a particular venue, but if its max capacity can't accommodate your guest count, it may be time to cross them off your list.

 Corporate Conference Hall Ridgeland, SC
Abney Hall Pro Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip:

Keep in mind that this is your big day. You shouldn't feel obligated to invite the college roommate you shared a dorm with for one semester. At the end of the day, your wedding venue should be one that can accommodate those closest to you. Abney Hall is equipped for both small and large weddings, consisting of 500 acres of forest, ponds, and lush natural beauty. Whether you want an intimate wedding with only your best friends or a grand ceremony with hundreds of people, we have the right amount of room to make you comfortable.

Location and Nearby Lodging

On your big day, you're likely to have friends and family traveling in from other parts of the state or country. These folks will need a place to stay during and even after your wedding. Accessibility and ease are important factors when it comes to choosing your wedding venue for both you and your guests.

Located in Ridgeland, SC, Abney Hall is situated in a memorable, natural setting, giving your wedding a private vibe in the midst of Mother Nature. While we pride ourselves on having a secluded wedding event space, our venue is within an easy driving distance of hotels and vacation rentals.

Abney Hall Pro Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip:

When you contact us for a tour, make sure to speak with our experienced venue manager about nearby hotels and shuttle service options. We understand that your guest's comfort and convenience are important, and we're happy to work with you to figure out the best way to get your guests to Abney Hall.

Venue Staff

At Abney Hall, our staff has earned its reputation as one of the industry's most friendly, accessible teams. We will provide you with a purpose-minded point of contact that can help answer questions relating to timelines, preferred vendors, and every aspect of your wedding. When you tour our wedding venue in Ridgeland, SC, for the first time, we want you to feel like you have all the information you need to make an informed purchasing decision.

We would be happy to go over:
  • Venue Pricing
  • Ceremony Specifics
  • Reception Specifics
  • Catering Possibilities
  • Decorating Possibilities
  • Entertainment Options
  • Photography and Photo Opportunities
  • Venue Amenities
  • Bridal Party Needs
  • Groomsman Needs

At Abney Hall, our goal is to be your first resource when it comes to setting up and coordinating the details of your wedding day.


When it comes to your wedding's decor, you probably already have a few ideas in mind. We love it when our brides and grooms have a vision in mind because one of our greatest joys is turning that vision into a reality. At Abney Hall, our team is available to help you and your decorator fit, accent, and accommodate your fairy-tale wedding - whatever that may be.

Are you looking to dress up your wedding with decorations galore? Just want to add a few accents that tie into your preferred color palette? Abney Hall is versatile and ready to help however we are able.

 Reception Hall Ridgeland, SC

Abney Hall Pro Tip:

If you're thinking about bringing in your own greenery, lighting, floral pieces, and more, we recommend discussing your vision with us on your initial tour of our event space. That way, we can get a head start on making your big day exactly how you envision it.

Photo Opportunities

10 years from now, when you and your spouse are celebrating your anniversary, you will pull out photographs from your wedding and will reminisce about the unforgettable time you spent at Abney Hall. Your wedding photos will be with you forever, and as such, we work closely with you and your photographer to suggest extra-special photo op spots that you can only find on Abney Hall grounds.

From the grand staircase and French-inspired courtyard to our manicured gardens and lovely pond, there is no shortage of photo-op locations for your photographer to choose from. As one of the most popular wedding venues in Ridgeland, SC, we have worked with dozens of photographers over the years.

Our experience has allowed us to cultivate a list of preferred photographers - all of whom have the talent to take your pictures to the next level in a setting they're familiar with. We encourage you to check out our gallery to get a sense of the scope of our wedding venue and gain inspiration from other happy couples.


Abney Hall Pro Tip

The gallery on our website is extensive but be sure to check out our Facebook and Instagram pages as well. We keep our social pages updated with recent wedding photographs, giving you an incredible resource that you can use for your own photography purposes.

Special Event Space Ridgeland, SC

The Premier Corporate Event Venue in Ridgeland, SC

Abney Hall is known across the United States for our stunning weddings, but we also play host to some of the largest corporate events in South Carolina. Why choose a bland, lifeless meeting space when you can enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature coupled with a professional atmosphere? If you have an important team-building event or corporate conference that you have to coordinate, look no further than Abney Hall.

The epitome of class and style, our corporate event space is large, lavish, and chock-full of onsite amenities for you and your co-workers to enjoy. If your team needs a morale boost, don't bring them to the local Olive Garden for a cheap lunch. Treat them to a refreshing experience in our main dining room, where we can work with you to incorporate your catering options with the goals of your event.

When the hard work is done, and your team needs a breather, what better way to relax than with a quick dip in our pool? To burn off a little steam, head over to our brand-new tennis court - the perfect place to get some exercise in an ultra-private setting while you enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Don't forget to bring your fishing poles for a couple of hours of fishing. There's even an opportunity to go hunting if you wish.

 Event Venue Ridgeland, SC

Elegance at Its Finest - Only
a Phone Call Away

If you're ready to learn more about Abney Hall as your wedding venue, don't hesitate to reach out. We would love to hear more about your plans, your vision, and your needs. We know that planning a wedding isn't easy. It takes time, attention to detail, and a whole lot of patience. Our goal is to help provide you with all the info you need to learn more about our venue. Once you decide on a date, we'll work closely with you and your vendors to craft a wedding experience that you will treasure for the rest of your life.

Our available dates for your big day are going quick, especially during peak seasons like spring and fall. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Contact us today for a FREE initial consultation
 Event Space Ridgeland, SC

Latest News in Ridgeland, SC

Updated: Ridgeland mail mystery. Where are the letters, bills and packages?

At first, Michelle Sands was missing mail a few days a week. But things spiraled downhill to the point where the Lowcountry business owner filed three separate complaints this year with the U.S. Postal Service regarding missing and inconsistent mail delivery out of the Ridgeland post office.Sands’ company, Advanced Lift Solutions, has received its mail at a mailbox in the FedEx Copy and Shipping Center in the Riverwalk Business Park for the past eight years. Sands said she normally receives an average of three pieces of mail eve...

At first, Michelle Sands was missing mail a few days a week. But things spiraled downhill to the point where the Lowcountry business owner filed three separate complaints this year with the U.S. Postal Service regarding missing and inconsistent mail delivery out of the Ridgeland post office.

Sands’ company, Advanced Lift Solutions, has received its mail at a mailbox in the FedEx Copy and Shipping Center in the Riverwalk Business Park for the past eight years. Sands said she normally receives an average of three pieces of mail everyday. However, since February, there have been periods where there is no mail for several days at a time.

Sands filed the complaints via email and the USPS toll-free number. She was given numerous reasons for the mail delay, such as COVID-19, short staffing and recent retirements. Sands received confirmation via email or phone call that her complaints were ultimately closed.

“I’ve made trips to the post office to complain and only received excuses,” she said.

Yet the days between mail deliveries have grown since she filed the last complaint in October.

Ruth Morris and Jennifer Williams, managers at the mail center, have reached out to USPS officials, filed several complaints, and received responses and apologies from officials, but the service continues to be sporadic.

Morris also added, “They put our mail on hold without our permission.”

“We have had to decline customers who request to ship packages via postal service because we do not know if the USPS will pick them up,” said Williams. This has hurt the business.

“They try to deliver the mail at night, after we’ve closed,” she continued.

Other Ridgeland businesses confirmed this is not an isolated issue.

“We’ve actually asked all of our vendors to email our bills because we aren’t getting them in the mail,” said Cindy Malphus of Rosco Industrial Supply.

Last week, Malphrus confirmed her company had gone over a week without receiving mail. In recent days, however, Rosco said the business started receiving mail daily.

Both Sands and Malphrus said that the mailman once assigned to their route is no longer on the route, and when mail does get delivered, it arrives in the evening after their businesses are closed.

Residential customer Carolyn Kelly said her mail service declined a few months ago after her carrier retired. “She was great and would bring the packages right to the door.” Kelly said she has gone up to five days without mail, but in the last two weeks, it has improved.

Tristan Swartz, assistant manager of PJ’s Coffee, located half a mile from the Ridgeland post office, also said that the mail arrives late there. “I think they are understaffed and overworked,” he said of the post office.

When asked about the claims of missing mail, Ridgeland postmaster Tonya Williams, declined to comment. Instead, she offered the name and number of the USPS Communications Specialist Nikki Johnson.

During an initial phone call to Johnson, she said she would not comment until the claims could be investigated. Additional requests for comment and clarification went unanswered.

After initial publication of this report earlier today, the U.S. Postal Service reached out by phone to respond to questions regarding delivery, and staffing.

According to U.S. Postal Service Strategic Communications Specialist Nikki Johnson, businesses like the FedEx shipping center in Ridgeland have what is known as a central box unit, where mail can be delivered after hours. “If the business is closed, the carrier has access to the CBU.”

Johnson confirmed that there has been a staffing constraint at the Ridgeland post office, but more staff has been brought on board in the last two weeks.

“The area has grown and the volume has increased.” Johnson said. She further explained the Riverwalk area is the last on a very long route, it is 30 minutes away from the post office, and the carrier has other stops along the way.

“We are asking the people in the community to be patient,” Johnson said. “The mail carriers are out there delivering mail, but the times may vary and it may not be when they (the customers) want.”

Additionally, Johnson offered, “I am extending an apology to the community for any inconvenience. We take pride in our mail delivery service. And in the midst of this very busy season, the employees are working tirelessly to service the customers and to meet and exceed the expectations of service at the Ridgeland post office.”

Johnson also advised that should anyone be looking for an opportunity to work for the USPS, they can check the career website for openings in the area, which updates every Tuesday.

This story was originally published December 22, 2023, 11:05 AM.

Critics slam filthy, crowded Jasper animal shelter as county seeks outside help

National and local animal advocates agreed this week to work with a Jasper County animal rescue group to improve its operations after months of community complaints about overcrowding and poor conditions at the organization’s Ridgeland center.The advocates convened at the Jasper Animal Rescue Mission on Monday afternoon, walking through the county-owned building and suggesting fixes for a safer, more sanitary facility for the 300-plus animals, volunteers and employees. The meeting was organized by Jasper County officials....

National and local animal advocates agreed this week to work with a Jasper County animal rescue group to improve its operations after months of community complaints about overcrowding and poor conditions at the organization’s Ridgeland center.

The advocates convened at the Jasper Animal Rescue Mission on Monday afternoon, walking through the county-owned building and suggesting fixes for a safer, more sanitary facility for the 300-plus animals, volunteers and employees. The meeting was organized by Jasper County officials.

For months, volunteers and former rescue mission board members pushed Jasper County to address concerns about the shelter. Volunteers and former board members told the Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette that dogs and cats are left in their own feces, cages are stacked three-to-four high, water bowls are full of algae, and soiled laundry is piled feet-high. They describe the building as “unsafe” for workers and animals, with a rat infestation.

During a July Jasper County Council meeting, Jeanne Francisco — speaking on behalf of the group pushing for change at the rescue mission — presented photos of the group’s facility to council members and detailed what the group says is the building’s unsanitary conditions.

“Safety is our No. 1 priority,” Francisco told council members. “Right now, the safety of the staff, the volunteers, potential adopters, visitors inside and outside this county is in jeopardy.”

She asked the council for help to address the facility’s problems. The mission leases the county-owned building for $1 annually.

Rose Dobson-Elliot, the county’s director of engineering services, said Monday she hoped shelter staff takes advantage of the resources offered. Dobson-Elliot was tasked with handling complaints about the rescue mission.

Among those assessing the mission on Monday was Steve Carriere, Florida State Animal Response Coalition manager. He said the issues identified could be remedied, and he offered temporary volunteer help, suggestions for sanitation and sick animal isolation, and training for the mission’s staff.

Officials of the Hilton Head Humane Association and Beaufort County Animal Services provided advice on tackling the overcrowding that the rescue mission’s executive director, Caitlyn Schake, said has been unavoidable because she cannot turn away cats and dogs brought in by county animal control officers.

“It’s time to fix this before it gets worse,” Carriere said.

On Monday afternoon, over 100 dogs were housed in wire cages or crates outside or in the back of the building, and smaller dogs’ crates were stacked atop each other. Boxes of scooped feces sat outside several of the larger cages. A few of the dogs darted inside a fenced area that was strewn with toys and debris.

An estimated 150-200 cats were spread across the property and facility. Some lounged in beds, others freely walked outside or leapt onto roofs, and dozens were inside the building, with some sectioned off into smaller rooms.

Toward the front of the building — its hallway lined with filled dog crates — food bags, blankets and other donations were piled high. In the back, soiled laundry was heaped near the washer and dryer.

Schake, who’s been at the helm for nine years, said a shortage of staff and resources makes it difficult to keep up with the bursting population while also consistently deep-cleaning parts of the building and creating barriers between sick and well animals. A rescue mission worker estimated seven staff members are at work on a normal day.

On a typical day, the mission will get between two and 15 animals, Schake said. Anywhere from zero to eight animals leave the facility in a day. Currently there is no set animal capacity for the mission.

“How many volunteers would you need?” Carriere asked Schake. She estimated five, and Carriere said it was possible to provide her with that temporary help.

In October, six of the mission’s board members resigned, according to a former board member.

Robin Artz, a former vice president of the board who left during the summer, said in a resignation email that the board was not holding themselves “accountable to the animals.” Artz described conditions that included water leaking through the floor and ceiling, mold, and rats. Further, Artz detailed animals in crates upon crates upon crates — “they need space to run and not sit in a 4x2 crate up on another crate,” she wrote.

“Conditions of the shelter are horrendous to say the least,” Artz’s July email read. “There are volunteers, mostly elderly individuals who are putting their health at risk by giving of their time. Most importantly, we are putting our own employees and animals at risk for disease, illness or worse. WE [sic] owe the humans that help us and the animals more.”

Along with a shortage of staff, Schake said Monday the mission’s financial resources were less than its Beaufort County counterpart. According to its most recent 990 tax form, the mission’s revenue was $457,000 in 2022, with expenses at $460,000. Dobson-Elliot said the county contributed $185,000 that year. The nearly half-million in funds is meager compared to the Hilton Head Humane Association, which raked in over $3 million in 2021, according to its most recent 990 tax form.

Beaufort County, with 191,748 people, is also much larger than Jasper, which has 30,324 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

To increase funding, Carriere advised accepting any donation large or small and applying for grant funding. Local animal advocates suggested pushing for support at county council meetings and holding fundraisers to better engage the community.

Dobson-Elliot said she would work with county animal control to ensure the mission had “breathing room” to work to keep its animal population down.

While she could not provide an immediate timeline for when to re-assess the mission’s conditions and the steps to take from there, Carriere said if the shelter staff embraces his suggestions and accepts the temporary volunteer help, changes are typically seen within three to four weeks.

This story was originally published November 15, 2023, 9:30 AM.

Ridgeland defies county request, votes to consider 3,000-acre annexation petition

RIDGELAND — A chart tracking the population of Ridgeland shows an unusual growth curve.For the entirety of the 1990s, the population of the Jasper County town hovered within spitting distance of 1,100 residents. By the end of the year 2000, the population was more than 4,800. The town grew 343 percent in a single year.The number of residents has slowly decreased over the intervening years. In 2023, estimates put the population at just under 3,800 people.Looking forward 20 years, the growth curve is forecast to make...

RIDGELAND — A chart tracking the population of Ridgeland shows an unusual growth curve.

For the entirety of the 1990s, the population of the Jasper County town hovered within spitting distance of 1,100 residents. By the end of the year 2000, the population was more than 4,800. The town grew 343 percent in a single year.

The number of residents has slowly decreased over the intervening years. In 2023, estimates put the population at just under 3,800 people.

Looking forward 20 years, the growth curve is forecast to make another dramatic turn. Growth projections for Ridgeland, which refers to itself as the "high point of the Lowcountry," are staggering.

The town expects to add 40,000 residents in the next two decades, which would make the population more than 10 times larger than it is today. The Ridgeland of 2044 will, if the projections hold true, be larger than the current populations of Myrtle Beach, Sumter, Florence and nearby Bluffton.

Against this backdrop, Town Council this month considered a petition to annex nearly 3,000 acres of unincorporated county land, along with a large residential and commercial development plan.

Complicating the request is a moratorium on residential and commercial development the county enacted in June. It has a nine-month term and expires in March.

Hilton Head

After passage of the first reading of the moratorium ordinance, the county asked that Ridgeland and Hardeeville officials cooperate with the purpose of the moratorium by not entertaining annexation applications in the region impacted by the moratorium.

"Ridgeland has a lot to be proud of," said Grant McClure of the Coastal Conservation League. "We would love to see the town invest in those existing communities and not sprawl outward in a way that is unsustainable, and in way that would contradict the Jasper County comprehensive planning process."

Annexing Chelsea

The annexation petition presented to Ridgeland officials falls within the county's moratorium zone, referred to as the Euhaw Broad River Planning Area.

"The Euhaw district is making a statement to say we believe this area is special and sensitive," said Smittie Cooler, a Jasper County resident who was instrumental in the development of the moratorium. "We think it needs a little more protection. The moratorium isn't over the whole county, which is a common misconception. And right out of the blue comes Chelsea, which is right in the heart of the moratorium district."

The annexation request includes three parcels. Chelsea North is the largest at 2,442 acres. Chelsea South is 292 acres, and Chelsea West is 212.5 acres. The north and south parcels are owned by Chelsea Plantation LLC, while the west parcel is owned by Keeling Land and Cattle Comm LLC.

The west parcel is key to this petition. To qualify for annexation, a property must be adjacent to the municipality that is the target of the annexation. The north and south parcels do not abut Ridgeland's boundaries, but the west parcel does. It serves as a bridge connecting the two larger parcels to the town and qualifying them for annexation.

Michael Quinley, principal of the Quinley Group, discussed the plans for the land, which include approximately 2,000 residential units across the combined properties. Details provided in the petition show that about half of Chelsea North will be allocated for 1,000 homes, while the other half will be open space.

The west and south parcels will be a mix of single-family attached and detached housing, multifamily dwellings, mixed-use commercial space and open space.

Jasper County development moratorium

Vote looms on Ridgeland’s 3,000-acre development plan for rural land. Opposition is fierce

Motorists have seen the rallying cry in large lettering, posted on homemade signs along Jasper County roads: “Keep Chelsea Rural.” Under the same name as its three-word mantra, a grassroots group of concerned residents is kicking their preservation efforts into high gear as their fight against a “tsunami of development” on a large swath of rural land comes to a head.Ridgeland is nearing the end of its campai...

Motorists have seen the rallying cry in large lettering, posted on homemade signs along Jasper County roads: “Keep Chelsea Rural.” Under the same name as its three-word mantra, a grassroots group of concerned residents is kicking their preservation efforts into high gear as their fight against a “tsunami of development” on a large swath of rural land comes to a head.

Ridgeland is nearing the end of its campaign to acquire about 3,000 acres of the Chelsea Plantation, a roughly 5,200-acre tract near the center of Jasper County that was purchased for $32 million in 2019 by the Missouri-based investment company Legacy Land Holdings. Officials are working with developer Michael Quinley on a plan that would use the annexed land for approximately 2,000 new residential units.

The proposed annexation goes against the wishes of county officials and has sparked criticism from area natives, who cite preservationist concerns and potential traffic woes, particularly on the winding Snake Road and nearby S.C. 462. Organizers with Keep Chelsea Rural argue the tract is an “unwise” annexation choice because of its distance from Ridgeland’s other suburban areas, claiming that construction on the remote land will be inefficient and expensive due to a lack of existing infrastructure.

Following the first public hearing on the controversial plan set for Thursday at 6 p.m., the Ridgeland Town Council will cast a final vote on the annexation at its April 4 meeting. The annexation would incorporate the land into Ridgeland town limits, a move some officials deem necessary to accommodate rapid growth across Jasper County. Ridgeland alone will welcome an estimated 40,000 new residents by 2044, a 1000% increase from its current population, according to town-contracted consulting firm Four Waters Engineering.

The town’s decision to consider incorporating the three parcels is in defiance of Jasper County’s development moratorium, which asked Ridgeland and Hardeeville to forgo annexation efforts while the county revised its comprehensive plan to bolster rural zoning standards and prepare for imminent development efforts. The nine-month moratorium began in May 2023 and county council members voted March 4 to extend the pause through July 31.

But the moratorium was not legally binding for the county’s municipalities, giving Ridgeland the opportunity to introduce its ordinance to annex the land on Jan. 18. Despite a pair of measures passed at a town council meeting March 7 that would ostensibly slow down the process — a required feasibility study and update to the town’s comprehensive plan — Jasper County residents and officials alike have chided the town for fast-tracking the annexation process.

“We had hoped the town and city would allow us the time to complete our work we undertook as part of the moratorium to determine what is best for the county as a whole in this area,” County Council chairman Marty Sauls told The Post and Courier.

Now in partnership with the Coastal Conservation League, the Keep Chelsea Rural movement has seen large waves of support relative to the small community of Ridgeland. Dating back to the fall of 2022, when another annexation effort targeted the Chelsea-adjacent Tickton Hall, a number of resident-led petitions against development in the area have amassed upward of 1,500 signatures.

Grant McClure, the Coastal Conservation League’s south coast project manager, said development plans like this “threaten the health of the Port Royal Sound — a world-class estuary.”

“We understand Ridgeland’s desire to grow; however, sensitive large tracts that are far from the town’s core and which lack infrastructure are simply the wrong place to site thousands of new homes,” McClure said.

Organizers from the Coastal Conservation League are urging Ridgeland residents to “strike while the iron is hot” and attend the public hearing Thursday in opposition to the annexation plans.

This story was originally published March 21, 2024, 1:17 PM.

Ridgeland council accepts annexation petition, despite county development moratorium


Ridgeland could see more growth in the near future after its Town Council voted 4-1 on Jan. 18 to accept a petition for an annexation that would include about 3,000 acres if it reached final approval.

The annexation request now goes to the town's planning commission for review, Ridgeland officials said.

Councilmen Tommy Rhodes and Bill Fishburne, Councilwoman Josephine Boyles and Mayor Joey Malphrus voted in favor of the petition. Councilwoman Libby Malphrus opposed it, stating her concern centered on Jasper County having a development moratorium in place that includes the area being considered for annexation.

"By even accepting a resolution, to spend town money to investigate this, it seems like we are not respecting the moratorium," Malphrus said during the meeting. "It feels like we are not being respectful in that and the way in which we work with our neighbors."

Town of Ridgeland Administrator Dennis Averkin said a development agreement is also being considered.

"It will also require public hearings and an ordinance. It should be noted that the two processes will run in unison," Averkin said. "There will be no annexation without a development agreement, nor a development agreement without an annexation."

Council was asked during the meeting to consider approving a resolution to accept the annexation petition of Chelsea Plantation, LLC and Keeling Cattle, LLC on three parcels.

"While this is still 'proposed,' and not yet approved, the applicant desires to annex three parcels, Chelsea North, Chelsea South and Chelsea West, totaling approximately 2,946.3 acres," Averkin said.

There is only one area proposed for development as of now, Averkin said, which is referred to as “Chelsea South” and is owned by Chelsea Plantation, LLC. He said it comprises 166.6 acres of upland and 125.1 acres of jurisdictional wetlands.

Michael Quinley, who represented the landowners at the meeting, informed the council that 3,000 acres would consist of residential, commercial, civic and recreational uses.

"Our overall gross density is less than one unit an acre," he said. "We plan to put over 45 percent of the development in our properties in a conservation and mitigation space."

Averkin added following the meeting that the proposed development includes single-family residential, multi-family residential, mixed-use commercial, and community recreation and amenities bordering SC Highway 170 North.

"Chelsea North is also owned by Chelsea Plantation, LLC, and consists of approximately 2,442.1 acres. Chelsea West is owned by Keeling Land and Cattle – COMM, LLC and consists of approximately 212.5 acres," Averkin said.

Chelsea West is contiguous to Ridgeland's corporate town limits, Averkin explained. That parcel touches the other two parcels requested for annexation, making the two eligible for inclusion in the petition request. Chelsea North and South are owned by Chelsea Plantation, LLC.

A large group of concerned citizens attended the meeting, with many asking the council to consider delaying the request until the county's development moratorium expires in March. The land that developers are seeking to have annexed is part of what is listed within the moratorium as the Euhaw Broad River Planning Area.

The Jasper County moratorium includes a temporary pause on new commercial and residential development in areas along the Broad River, S.C. Highways 170 and 462, Bees Creek Road, and the area known as the Okeetee Club, according to the county's ordinance. The county previously said the moratorium was enacted to allow time for a partial update of the future land-use map, which provides a roadmap for growth and development.

Within the moratorium, there has been a request that local municipalities honor the planning effort by not entertaining any annexations within the Euhaw Broad River Planning Area while the county moves forward.

"We were not consulted on a moratorium," Averkin said during the meeting.

Averkin said following the meeting that the annexation request from developers was submitted before the county passed its moratorium.

"To set the record straight, it should be noted that applicants contacted the town before the moratorium was passed by the county," he said. "The Town does not control if or when an applicant files an annexation petition. We don’t have the option to simply put an annexation petition back in the mail and 'return to sender' because the timing is inconvenient, we don’t like it or because someone at a neighboring jurisdiction doesn’t like it."

The newly approved petition will now go to the town's planning commission for review, Town of Ridgeland Planner Heather Spade said during the meeting. She said the earliest the final request for annexation could be considered would be at the April 4 council meeting, with that timeline subject to change.

Informational meeting to be held Feb. 8

There will be an informational meeting concerning the petition held in conjunction with the Keep Chelsea Rural Committee and the Broad River Task Force. Speakers will share details of the petition and possible annexation in the future of the three Chelsea properties at 6 p.m. Feb. 8 at the Port Royal Sound Maritime Center, 310 Okatie Highway in Okatie.

"It is important for citizens within this area and throughout the county to attend this meeting so that they understand what could possibly happen in the area into the future," Keep Chelsea Rural member Smittie Cooler said. "The speakers will be providing important information for those who attend on topics such as the environmental impact, the traffic impact, the stormwater impact and how water and emergency service would be affected by annexation."


This website publishes news articles that contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The non-commercial use of these news articles for the purposes of local news reporting constitutes "Fair Use" of the copyrighted materials as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law.