By Katy Calloway, The Island Connection Managing Editor
Mayor Weaver called the meeting to order right on time and moved on to approve the minutes from last month’s meeting.
In his subsequent update he announced the Planning Commission meeting scheduled for April 4 has been cancelled. Consequently, the agenda item regarding Lot 13 and Kiawah Partners, (Duneside Dr. reported in the last issue) has been postponed until the May meeting. Weaver reminded residents that the decision regarding Duneside Dr. is the Planning Commission’s and that Council has no authority over the issue.
Current concerns over development and road infrastructure at the City level, including a moratorium on development, has prompted Mayor Tecklenberg to convene a commission of stakeholders on Johns Island. Judge Walsh, Chair of the Charleston County Council has contacted Mayor Weaver regarding an invitation to join the recently appointed Johns Island Development Committee that will oversee a Johns Island Capitol Improvement Plan. The 10-year plan will help guide future development. Mayor Weaver will be representing Kiawah on the committee whose first meeting is scheduled for April 17.
Mayor Weaver then followed up on a discussion at the March Council meeting regarding the Town joining the SC Environmental Law project’s potential litigation related to offshore oil exploration. “Kiawah along with a number of other communities is now one of the potential named communities should this in fact come to some sort of legal action.”
A presentation from the Communications department recapped the new video series Wild About that premiered online on March 2. The second installment, Wild About Bobcats, which debuted March 28, was shown to Council.
As of this report the video has had over 670 views on YouTube.
Moving on to new business, Town Planner, John Taylor presented two ordinances related to the amendment of a fixed location dock in lieu of a floating dock. It is an R1 zoning district at the far, east end of the island. The site is currently vacant. Taylor clarified the intent behind a fixed dock was to allow crabbing and marsh access, not necessarily boat access. A floating dock allows for deep water access.
The applicant has also applied to DHEC for the proposal of a short footbridge to connect two parcels; the new floating dock would be built on the easternmost parcel. The Planning Commission had recommended approval by a vote of 6-0.
When opened to public hearing there was a brief comment by Ray Pantlik representing Eagle Point partners who owns the property. The new dock will allow access to deep water on the Stono River.
Ordinance 2018-02, first reading, was approved unanimously. The subsequent ordinance to approve the map for said dock location was also approved unanimously.
Ordinances 2018-04,05 and 06 related to The Ocean Course Golf Club’s applications for a new Future Land Use category that would allow limited residential development rezoning on an approximate 28-acre parcel. The site is closest to The Ocean Course Clubhouse.
The Planning Commission recommended all three approvals unanimously.
When opened to public comment former Mayor Charles Lipuma questioned the development agreement in regards to maximum number of bedroom count.
Mayor Weaver clarified that it does not increase the number and implied that he would address this in the Council’s discussion.
Mark Permar spoke on behalf of the applicant, stating “These [amendments] are all aligned and consistent with the pre-approved plat from last fall.”
After a motion was made to approve the first ordinance amendment, discussion ensued. Mayor Weaver reminded council that, “This was originally part of a package of changes that involved not just The Ocean Course but the new inn at West Beach, the new conference center,” and that it is, “consistent with the change to the development agreement with Kiawah Island Golf Resort that was reviewed and approved by Town Council mid-last year.”
All three first readings were approved unanimously.
The AirMedCare contract was then renewed and promptly approved unanimously.
Town Administrator Stephanie Tillerson presented the Summit Building Services contract for cleaning services. The amount of current services, 2 days a week, needs to be amended to add an additional day for cleaning service. Cleaning would take place Tues, Thurs and Sat. for an additional $9851 per year. The contract amendment was approved unanimously.
Carolina Waste Services contract is due to expire so two proposals were reviewed and CWS was again approved by the Ways and Means Committee for $951,743. Which includes a less than $60,000 additional expense for tracking abilities. The contract was approved unanimously.
There was discussion of the new Charleston County Sheriff’s Office staffing model led by Councilmember Widuch. Kiawah currently employs Charleston County Sheriff deputies that are off-duty from their current assignments. The Sheriff’s office has trouble finding deputies that are interested in working over time so the agreement has not been filled to capacity. The Public Safety Committee would like to request the Sheriffs office hire additional employees to be assigned to Kiawah full time. Kiawah Island will spend two years transitioning to this approach, which would employ 8 full-time deputies. Councilmember Mezzanotte noted that the advantage of having permanent officers who get to know the community, as opposed to the current model which rotates approximately 39 officers that serve parttime. If and when it is approved by KOTC it then requires County Council approval.
The next item was Councilmember Widuch’s discussion of the building permit process being more customer friendly while still adhering to FEMA guidelines that require improvements to homes be tracked and recorded. No decisions were made.
Mayor Weaver anticipates the next step is to work with the building services group to put changes into an ordinance that would then come before Council.
There was no Town Administrator’s report.
Councilmember Mezzanotte reported on the Environmental Committee that a new subcommittee convenes this month, to document Kiawah landscaping issues and develop a plan to improve aesthetics, wildlife and stormwater management issues.
Councilmember John Wilson reported the budget process is moving along, and believes the Ways and Means Committee will review the final budget at the end of April and be recommending the first reading of the budget at May’s Town Council meeting.
Councilmember Koach raised a general question regarding the discussion at the last council meeting about going forward with respect to going against the former auditors on the embezzlement issue. Town attorney Green stated that a demand letter has been prepared and should go out this week requesting audits of what the previous CPA should have done. There is no new information regarding the indictments of previous employees.
Following citizen’s comments, council moved into executive session to discuss employee salary matters. No votes were taken.
The next meeting of the Kiawah Island Town Council will be Tuesday, May 1 at 2 p.m.