By Katy Calloway, The Island Connection Managing Editor
The first Kiawah Town Council meeting of the New Year was called to order with new councilmembers, Maryanne Connelly, Dan Prickett and Klaus Said present and accounted for. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Weaver described an unusual process for approving the minutes of the December 4 regular meeting as those 2018 councilmembers were no longer present, therefore only himself and councilmember Chris Widuch were able to make the motion and second to approve the prior meetings, while all councilmembers, new and old, were invited to approve, which they did.
The Mayor then took a moment to declare that with three new councilmembers, they would be explaining some processes as today’s meeting went along, beginning with the process for amending minutes ahead of the scheduled meetings. The minutes for the December 7 special meeting were then approved unanimously.
The Mayor’s update included a welcome to new councilmembers. He stated that this morning (Jan. 8) he signed the Deputy contract with Charleston County for supplemental law officers for the day shift beginning March 1.
He announced that KICA has established a committee that is going to look at Sea Level Rise and the very focused issues of drainage and stormwater management, “Which makes sense since they own 95% of the roadways,” stated Weaver. Councilmember Widuch will represent the Town on that committee.
The Mayor noted a continuing problem with capacity at trash facility noting that the purchase of a compactor had been approved last Fall to maximize capacity, and hope to keep the area cleaner. The hope is that the new unit is installed next week.
The meeting fell into the old rhythm as Wendy Kulick took to the podium for her “Opening Comments” and the December 7 special meeting, during the first round of Citizen’s Comments. She thanked Council in advance for its intervention regarding the Kiawah Island Utility Rate Increase Application that was to be discussed later in Executive Session.
There being no old business, the agenda moved on to new business which included Ordinance 2019-01 to amend Article 16, Beach Management, Chapter 1 Beach Lighting. The chapter’s purpose is to protect nesting sea turtles on Kiawah beaches by safeguarding nesting females and hatchlings from sources of artificial light. The amendments define dawn and dusk as 30 minutes prior to sunrise and sunset respectively. It also tightens the language preventing any source of artificial light from being visible from the beach, including new development. In addition, temporary lights at construction sites shall be turned off at 9 p.m. until dawn from May 1 to October 31. The first reading was approved unanimously.
Being the first meeting of 2019, the appointments of town treasurer, town clerk, and town attorney needed to be approved for another calendar year. Dorota Szubert, Petra Reynolds and Stephanie Monroe Tillerson were approved unanimously and without comment and will continue to serve at the will of Council in their positions for another calendar year.
Council committee assignments and appointments were then made with the following determinations: Klaus Said was appointed chair of the Audit Committee, Chris Widuch will chair the Ways and Means Committee and Maryanne Connelly will chair the Public Safety Committee.
Said and Connelly will serve one-year terms, however the Ways and Means Committee chair serves the entire length of his council term. All members were approved without discussion.
Council liaison to the Arts and Cultural Events Council is Dan Prickett.
Council liaison to the Visitors Bureau is Maryanne Connelly.
Chris Widuch will liaison to the State Accommodations Tax Committee.
The Charleston Area Transportation Study group and the Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester Council of Governments will be represented by Mayor Weaver.
The Mayor asked to delay the appointments to the Environmental Committee, Conservancy, the Planning Commission and Public Works until after the new council has attended the 2019 Council Retreat.
Town Administrator Stephanie Tillerson then went over committee appointments, memberships, roles and responsibilities. A motion was made to approve members and passed unanimously.
Tillerson reported that the traffic and safety study had been completed by Kimley-Horn in the area of Beachwalker East and should be available soon. She then updated Council on Beachwalker Dr. and negotiations with the County Park in regards to easing the traffic problems to and from the public access park that is often filled to capacity with visitors. This challenge will be addressed by the Kimley-Horn report. The Town is optimistic that traffic relief can be completed by May of 2019.
Councilmember Widuch announced that demolition to the condemned 122 Turnberry property should start on Jan. 21 and be completed by Feb. 1. He added that Fire Station 6 is now scheduled for a Mar. 5 completion.
With no further public business, Council entered into Executive Session to receive legal advice regarding 1. a land use and zoning matter related to Vacation Club Destinations; 2. the Kiawah Island Utility rate increase application; and 3. civil action regarding T. Rucker and former auditor Webster-Rogers.
The next regular meeting of the Kiawah Island Town Council will be Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 2:30 p.m.