Southern Belle: Settled, diverse Mount Pleasant village boasts of relaxed atmosphere and alluring amenities

This near-mansion with a turret and winding staircase is in The Island enclave in Belle Hall (Photo by Laura Olsen/Olsen Imagery).

By JIM PARKER

The Post and Courier

Seeking a place to raise a young family, the Kurtzes bought a two-bedroom starter house in The Courtyard at Belle Hall Plantation in 1996.

The neighborhood at the time was “pretty far out,” Jan Kurtz remembers, yet comparatively close to husband Brian Kurtz’s job as controller at Nucor Steel in Cainhoy.

By 2002, Belle Hall was rapidly shedding its pioneer-like setting. Never isolated, the neighborhood benefited early on from design perks such as sidewalks, bicycle friendly layout and multiple ways in and out. Now, retail plazas, recreational centers and mid-rise developments were springing up on nearby Long Point Road, further tying the area in with the rest of East Cooper.

That year the Kurtzes and their three children moved away from metro Charleston as a new job arose. They returned in 2004. In those two years, Belle Hall evolved from an emerging community into an established village on the edge of a thriving East Cooper corridor.

It’s exactly where the family wanted to be again.

“We were the Realtor’s dream,” Jan Kurtz says, noting that their wish list was short and specific. “We said, ‘We need four bedrooms in Belle Hall.” They purchased a home in The Island enclave at Belle Hall that’s close to marsh and have been there since.

“We love it,” she says. “It’s just been a sweet place to live, a good place for kids to grow up.”

Launched in 1994, Belle Hall Plantation has matured over the years. There are seven enclaves: Battery Point, The Courtyard, The Veranda, The Island, Evian, Rice Bay and Hibben. Offering scores of home and lot choices, the community when fully built out will have about 1,000 houses.

Buyers can select from moderate-priced dwellings on smaller lots in The Courtyard and The Veranda toward the front of the community and sprawling properties overlooking water and open spaces in Hibben and The Island toward the back.

Homes for sale are priced from the low $200,000s to close to $1 million. Cottages and bungalows are sized at 1,500 square or less while Charleston-style homes can run up to 4,500 square feet.

Extrawide Belle Hall Parkway is the main thoroughfare through the neighborhood, providing access to all the enclaves. Neighborhood amenities include a clubhouse, swimming pools, playgrounds by the clubhouse and in Hibben, sand volleyball court, tennis courts and Veranda Field.

Drawing the community together is Belle Hall Elementary School, where hundreds of children over the years have walked or ridden their bikes to school.

“To me, it’s very convenient to shopping and (Interstate) 526,” says Carol Williams, Realtor with Keller Williams Realty who is listing 206 Island Point Court for $699,700. She says the amenities center is “beautiful,” and the neighborhood sports large lots and wide sidewalks.

The 3,200 square foot house she is listing is on a tidal creek and has views of the Wando River, says Williams, who was a school teacher at Belle Hall Elementary for 19 years before switching careers to real estate in 2007.

Even when it was a bit out on the geographical fringes, Belle Hall Plantation has been in a central location. The on-off ramp to I-526 is less than a mile away. Long Point Road, meanwhile, connects to U.S. Highway 17 past Boone Hall Plantation and to Mathis Ferry Road by way of Whipple Road.

Jan Kurtz believes Belle Hall Plantation has built a neighborly following because its residents have never taken things too seriously.

“It’s kind of relaxed,” she says.

To access Belle Hall Plantation from downtown Charleston, travel north across the Ravenel Bridge, staying left onto Highway 17 North. At the second traffic light, turn left onto Mathis Ferry Road. Follow the road through three roundabouts, then turn left onto Whipple Road. Take Whipple to Long Point Road and make a left. Go on Long Point for about a mile and turn right onto Belle Hall Parkway. Ahead is Belle Hall Plantation.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.

BELLE HALL PLANTATION AT A GLANCE:

Location: Mount Pleasant

Number of homes: 1,000

Square footage: 1,476-4,438

Look and feel: Approaching 20 years old, Belle Hall Plantation is filling in its boundaries. Early neighborhoods were made up of starter homes; newer enclaves showcase houses in the million-dollar range. Drawing everything together is an amenities center with swimming pool. Signs mark the various sections that split off from main road Belle Hall Parkway. The village is youngster-friendly with numerous parks. Although close to Interstate 526, the community is quiet and removed. Houses on the neighborhood’s north end look out on marsh, Foster and Hobcaw creeks and the Wando River in the distance.

Homes on market: 24

List prices: $212,000-$950,000

Schools: Belle Hall Elementary, Cario Middle, Wando High

Fun facts: Belle Hall Plantation traces its roots to 1682, while the Hibben neighborhood is on the site of the former Egypt Plantation; Belle Hall was one of the pilot communities selected last year for “one-bin” curbside recycling.