HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) -- Beaufort County has purchased and will preserve 98 acres of land near the Okatie River where 400 homes had been planned.

The Island Packet of Hilton Head reports county council agreed this week to buy the tract for $1.5 million. The land is valued by the county at almost $4 million.

The conservation director of the Beaufort County Open Land Trust, Garrett Budds, says buying the land will prevent more storm water runoff from damaging the river near Hilton Head Island.

In addition to the homes, 65,000 feet of commercial space had been planned for the tract.

Money for the purchase came from the county's Rural and Critical Lands conservation program. The program has almost $4 million left from $50 million voters agreed to borrow six years ago.

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