By Meredith Powell
The Town of Kiawah has been busy negotiating with the Kiawah Island Golf Resort since 2005 in order to prepare a new development agreement, appropriately named the TOKI/KIGR Development Agreement. Though the documents are now available to the public for viewing online, Council officials also wanted citizens’ direct input. Public information session meetings were scheduled at the Town Hall on August 2, 4 and 6, as well as two webinars hosted by the Kiawah Island Community Association the following week, to offer an open stage for every opinion and concern.
The proposed Development Agreement encompasses 11 parcels owned by the Kiawah Island Golf Resort totaling 866.37 acres, and creates two new residential zoning districts. The more concrete plans for the town include changes on both West and East Beach, all while addressing issues such as density, traffic mitigation and open space in hopes of solving as many problems as possible in the most widely-agreeable manner for residents. The R-3 zoning district presents limitations and offers improvements such as prohibiting open storage, permitting only 12 dwelling units per acre, and requiring 10 square feet of swimming pool and contiguous pool deck area per bedroom, while the R-2 district would abide by similar guidelines with the exception of allowing only seven dwelling units per acre. Mayor William G. Wert reminded everyone present that while much has been accomplished, “This is still somewhat of a work in progress. There is still some crossing of ‘t’s and dotting of ‘i’s to be done.” Some of the loose ends include a final decision on what is to be done with the Old Inn and its surrounding property, and the allowed maximum height for future buildings. However, current guidelines do require the Resort to inform the Town of its intentions with the Old Inn within 60 days of signing the agreement.
According to Mayor Wert, a primary advantage of the plan is “so the Town will know what is going to happen in the next ten years and the Resort will know what they are allowed to do in the next ten years.” Although all involved parties are striving for the most ideal outcome, there will nonetheless be some compromises.
While some residents believe implementation of the project is not happening soon enough, others have been asking what the real hurry is with the plans and why the town is on such a compressed schedule. Mayor Wert pointed out, however, that they are not rushing this project; the idea has been in the works between the Town and the Resort for more than four years. Perfecting it is taking a fair amount of time, but it is time well spent.
Public hearings on the agreement will be held September 1 at 2 p.m. and September 30 at 10 a.m. in Town Hall chambers.
For more information, stop by Kiawah Town Hall at 21 Beachwalker Drive on Kiawah Island or call 768-9166. To view the entire agreement and to see the Mayor’s , visit www.kiawahisland.org.
Town benefits of the 10-year Resort Agreement
According to Mayor Wert’s presentation, the plan is consistent with land development regulations and provides for:
- Low density development.
- Preservation of open space.
- Improved traffic flow.
- Consistency in neighborhood appearances.
- Maintenance of an Island Park – Night Heron Park remains unchanged.
- 20 parking spaces and pedestrian access to the beach at West Beach.