Sep 17 2009

Kiawah Town Council – September 1, 2009

The Kiawah Island Bikepath is well on its way. The bridge section of the bike path is almost complete.

The Kiawah Island Bikepath is well on its way. The bridge section of the bike path is almost complete.

Second reading: Ordinance 2009-06: Control of Pets

The second reading of the ordinance was seconded with only one comment which came from Councilman Orban, who pointed out that the words “and under voice command” should be included under the “dogs off leash” area on the diagram which maps out the on leash/off leash areas of the beach . The Ordinance was passed unanimously with the change.

Second reading of Ordinance 2009-08: copies of homeowner DHEC permit applications to be simultaneously sent to Town Administrator.

Second reading passed unanimously.

Arts Council Annual Report

Councilman Lipuma reported that the Arts Council held 21 events over the course of the 2008-2009 season. “Once again, the performances were varied, professional, exciting and well received,” said Lipuma. Music performances included world-acclaimed pianist Fred Moyer, Quiana Parlor, the Andrew Thielen Big Band, Barcino Baroque and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra featuring Yuriy Bekker, among others. Lipuma noted that the season’s General Fund budget was $100,000 for program events and $15,000 for administration, which included ticket, poster and program printing. The Arts Council spent a total of $95,199 (95.2% of budget) on program events and $6,017 (40.1% of budget) on administration. The ATAX CSO event was on budget at $25,000. Attendance for the season averaged around 90%.

Lipuma thanked everyone on Council for all their hard work this past year, and noted that the Council’s newest members, Ellie Burnaford and Linda Morganstein, had contributed significantly. “Running an event can be a formidable undertaking,” said Lipuma. “Having said that, I want to thank Lenni Freeburg, Bill Blizard, Mary Johnson, Arie DeZanger, Linda Morganstein, Julie Fenimore, Carol Ann Smalley, Ellie Burnaford and Stephanie Braswell for a well done year.” The full Arts Council 2008-2009 season report is available online and at Town Hall.

“Thank you to all on the Arts Council who made this possible,” said Mayor Wert.

Amendments to the budget (Ordinance 2009-09)

Town Administrator Tumiko Rucker noted that the Ordinance made a few changes to this year’s budget, including an additional $3,000 for vehicle repairs, an additional $88,000 to add the Regimes to Solid Waste Services, and an additional $25,000 to the Contingency Fund to replace the amount used for recycling containers. The changes, Rucker noted, are required due to anticipated increases in maintenance costs and the expansion of the solid waste and recycling program. The ordinance was given first reading and was approved unanimously.

Bike Path and Parkway

Councilman Orban began by asking for an approval to authorize Mayor Wert and himself to be able to approve up to $50,000 on change orders for the Kiawah Island Parkway Project; a recommendation which was previously approved by Ways and Means. “We need this latitude because the Council only convenes once a month and we need to be able to take care of these issues as soon as possible,” Orban explained. “I had this approval on the roundabout project and we did nicely with that procedure.” The authorization was approved unanimously.

Secondly, Orban asked for approval on three change orders which were reviewed and informally approved to prevent delays in the Parkway construction process. The changes were 1) $3,841.80 for tree protection; 2) housekeeping changes, including the cleaning and inspection of storm drains, removal of unsuitable material, soil stabilization fabric, the removal of two pine trees, etc. coming to $39,136.47; and 3) Resurveying by Southeastern Surveying, who found that actual elevations did not match the existing ground survey, the total of which came to $4,189.50. The construction contract total now stands at $1,272,754.13.

Mayor Wert noted that any change orders over $50,000 will be required to go through the Council. All of the change orders were approved unanimously.

As for the construction itself, Orban reported that everything is coming along. The bridge is essentially done and it looks “plenty wide enough for two bikes to pass”, said Orban, noting that there is about nine feet of space between the railings. The contractors hope to start paving the path in late September and the major roadway paving will begin sometime after October 8. He also stated that the Town is out for bids on the landscaping and, presuming that they receive reasonable bids, the landscaping will begin immediately and everything will be essentially done by the fall.

Sea Island Greenway Alignment and Cost Study

“A lot’s been written about the Greenway in the past couple weeks and days,” said Councilman Burnaford. “The Charleston County Finance Committee voted to approve sending the Greenway study to County Council. The study will give the facts for the Greenway, not just emotion.” He stated that the study will determine the most appropriate path through Johns Island and the actual costs associated with its construction. “The Council will then decide whether or not to go forward with it,” he said. Burnaford then motioned that the Town forgo a $200,000 application to Charleston County to assist in funding the Kiawah Island Parkway, and asked that the funds be used instead for the Greenway study. Councilman Lipuma also noted that Dr. Paul Roberts and Councilman Burnaford are considered to be informal authorities on the Greenway project. “I’d hate to give them [the company to be hired by County to conduct the survey] money and then have them go off and start from scratch,” said Lipuma. “I’d suggest that you both be involved in the study.”

Councilman McKeown also commented on the $200,000 proposal, stating that, as a responsible member of the community, the funds would be much better used to conduct the study to get the data, which would help them decide whether or not to go forward with the Greenway project. He also noted that the $200,000 from the County had not been included in the original budget, “So while we’re giving up funds, we hadn’t planned on receiving any,” he said.

“The real issue is that Charleston County sees this as the right way to go,” said Orban. “Hopefully this is the key; to get a solidification of the study and to get a real idea of where this is going.” He then read the formal resolution, which states that the Town of Kiawah Island agrees not to apply to Charleston County for up to $200,000 of the monies Charleston County has appropriated to assist the Town of Kiawah for the construction of the Kiawah Island Parkway/Bike Path improvements. The monies shall be used to pay for consulting services which will determine alignment and estimated costs for the proposed Sea Island Greenway.

Burnaford wrapped up the discussion by pointing out that the name “Greenway” is for a reason. The 300 foot wide, ten mile stretch of limited access, two-lane road will be in a park-like setting with possible bike and equestrian paths. Mayor Wert concurred, pointing out that, “for the first time in ten years, we’ll have facts. That’s all we’ve been asking for these many years. It may be that the decision is not to build the Greenway; we don’t know. We just want a final decision to see if it would help reduce traffic.” The resolution as read by Councilman Orban was approved unanimously.

Environmental report

Councilman McKeown joked that he had been promoted recently; from “Czar of Garbage” to “Magnet of Garbage” as per an email from Town administrative assistant Stephanie Braswell. Along those same lines, McKeown noted that the Solid Waste and Recycling committee which he is heading up had sent out a “straw man proposal” for a new Ordinance that will hopefully satisfy both the Regimes and the Town. The committee’s goal is to have a satisfactory Ordinance receive its first reading in October and it’ second in November so that everything will be ready for the new collection program by January 1. “Anyone who wants to join the committee is welcome,” said McKeown.

Arts Council report

Councilman Lipuma reminded everyone of the Fred Moyer Jazz Arts Trio concert on September 30, 7:30pm, at the Church of Our Saviour. “This is an early start to our Arts season,” said Lipuma, “but his availability schedule was just too good to pass up.” This event is free and open to the public. Tickets are available at Town Hall.

Town Administrator’s report

Tumiko Rucker noted that she has been working with Councilman Burnaford and Dr. Roberts on the Greenway project and everything is going along well. She is also working with Councilman McKeown on the recycling program, and wanted to point out a correction to a recently sent letter. The letter was meant to read that each property owner in Inlet Cove, Greenslake, Night Heron, Sparrow Pond and Ocean Woods will receive a 35 gallon recycling rollout between September 14 – 23, and collection will begin on Monday, September 28. Pickups will be every Monday. If you have any questions, you can reach Town Hall at 768-9166.

Lastly, Rucker stated that she is working on achieving an extra 250 points for the Town through their building rating system. If the points are received, property owners in the Town could potentially reduce their insurance by up to 5%. The onsite review for the Town will take place between September 21 and 23.

Mayor’s report

Mayor Wert was pleased to announce that he spoke with Barbara Neil of the OCRM (Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management) about the setback lines that “had us so agitated” a while back. Wert stated that Neil promised the Town an answer on the setback lines in the next two weeks. “At least we’ve talked to a real person,” he said. He also noted that the OCRM has recently changed their policies. They now make a decision and appeals have to be sent in after the decision is made. “It’ seems a little backwards to me, but there you have it,” he said.

Wert also stated that the Town had discussed putting advertising on the Welcome to Kiawah website, but they concluded that placing ads would probably be more detrimental than helpful.

Citizen’s comments

Dr. Paul Roberts thanked the Council for all that they’ve done to help get the Greenway study approved. He stated that many have asked why they need this study when five others have been done already, and Roberts reminded them that in the past, all of the studies looked at the broadest of all recommendations. When the man who conducted the last study, Chris Christensen, was asked by County Council what it would cost to put a road in where the Greenway has been proposed, Christensen said that he didn’t know, they hadn’t looked into it. However, when pressed, he threw out the number “$150 million” as a guess. “This is not a tollroad, a parkway or an expressway,” said Roberts. “It’s much different than what we’ve talked about. I personally think that the people on Johns Island will best be served by something that does what we think it will do.” He reminded everyone that comments in the past have shown remarkably more people in favor of the Greenway than against it.

Resident Kelly Bragg was next, thanking the Town for their help in moving one of the sea turtle nests which was positioned awkwardly behind a telephone pole on the beach between the Sanctuary and the Beach Club. “Now about 148 little turtles can get out. Thank you from the Turtle Patrol,” she said. “It was a gigundous problem and the Council helped immediately.”

Mayor Wert thanked her for her kind words, and, smiling, replied that, “We respond to gigundous problems.”

Wendy Kulick was the last resident to speak, asking if the several power outages that have taken place on the island recently were due to the work on the bike path. Councilman Orban replied to her question, though Council usually does not reply to citizen’s comments until the next Council meeting. He said that the power outages were due to lightning strikes, though he too had worried that the contractors had hit a power line. “Fortunately, the construction work hasn’t caused any interruptions. It’s been lightning strikes on junction boxes,” he said.

Hurricane reminders

Lastly, Councilman Lipuma was happy to report that the passage of the two recent hurricanes off our coast had not caused any obvious damage to the beaches, and Councilman Burnaford reminded everyone to stay alert during hurricane season. “From now until October 15 is the peak of the hurricane season,” he said, reminding everyone who either went out of town or left for the season, to make sure that they didn’t leave any loose objects in the backyard and to be sure that everything in and around their house is properly secured. The hurricane preparation group for the Town will be updating citizens on a regular basis, “but I can tell you where they go for their information,” said Burnaford. “Just go to nhc.noaa.gov to get all you want on hurricane paths, timing, etc.”

The next meeting of the Kiawah Town Council will be October 6, 2009, at 2pm at the Town Hall.

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