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Mar 18 2010

Kiawah Island Town Council – March 2, 2010

Kiawah SealSecond reading of ordinance 2010-02: Fence amendment

The amendments to this ordinance clarify the definition of a “fence”, which includes hedges as well as a more specific definition of height, which includes any ornamentation in the height limit of five feet for a fence. There were no comments given during the ordinance’s public hearing before the meeting, so the amendments were passed unanimously.

KICA landscape contract agreement

Town Administrator Tumiko Rucker stated that the Town and the Kiawah Island Community Association spoke with The Greenery, a landscaping company which had previously been hired to landscape the Kiawah Island Parkway, about increasing their maintenance area to include all landscaping services for the Kiawah Island Parkway from the security gate to and including the roundabout, as well as Town Hall, the flagpole median and Beachwalker Drive for an annual cost of $32,460 which also includes materials. The amendments to The Greenery agreement were approved unanimously.

Parkway change orders and sewer work to begin March 22

Councilman Orban reported on a few change orders for the Kiawah Island Parkway and Bike Path project that came up in the past month. Changes included adding a drainage bridge abutment to the bridge as some of the rip rap on the bridge washed away with all of the heavy rain and high tides, balancing out material quantities, and realigning 330 feet of sewer pipe. Orban pointed out that the old sewage pipe was 32 years old and significantly deteriorated, “So we replaced it while we had the chance and so as not to leave the problem to later councils.” The project will also require 8 or 9 manholes to be raised and Orban expects work to begin on March 22 and will take approximately a month and a half to finish. The total cost of the Parkway and Bike Path project to date is $2.8 million, which Orban pointed out is being done without the Town going into debt. Mayor Wert added that the original cost projection of the project was $4.5 million and the Council joked that they could all go to Hawaii with the extra. “Everyone except the Town attorney,” Mayor Wert laughed.

Great season for the Arts Council

Councilman Charles Lipuma reported that they have had several notable events over the past month and a half, though many were disappointed that the spiritual ensemble had to be rescheduled to March 5 due to the “big snow.” The Andrew Thielen Big Band performance was well attended, but the most unusual event, said Lipuma, was the Amori Vini presentation. Composer Edward Hart wrote three original pieces, one for each of the wines being tasted at the event, and a string quartet from the Charleston Symphony Orchestra led by Concertmaster Yuriy Bekker played them as the attendees enjoyed the wine. Lipuma was thrilled to note that a photographer in attendance created a short film of the event and showed it to the Council. To view the clip, please visit

7,000 pounds of tilapia lost

Councilman Harry McHugh was sad to report that, with all of the cold weather and rain over the past couple of months, the Town has lost roughly 7,000 pounds of tilapia. “The consequences are that those little babies are the ones that eat all the weeds,” said McHugh, noting that the salinity of the ponds also helps to keep the weeds down, but with all the fresh rain, that’s disappearing, as well. He did state that KICA is planning to reduce the levels of the ponds in order to increase their salinity. Secondly, McHugh noted that KICA has been working with computerized, satellite-controlled rain gauges for area sprinkler systems, and in the first month of usage, saved almost 80% compared to the same time last month. This technology, McHugh pointed out, is also available for homeowners and anyone interested should get in touch with Dave Achey.

Lastly, McHugh reported that the solid waste program is at the point where it is being implemented, the printed materials are designed and proofed, garbage containers are out and they are hoping to add some more recycling sites, “but at this point we can see where recycling is increasing around the island,” said McHugh. “My hat is off to Tumiko and her staff, and to the members of the oversight committee.”

Mayor Wert threw in a quick “congrats” as McHugh finished his report, congratulating him for returning from his weekend in Vail with all of his appendages and the fact that he will be taking off for Key West soon. “Literally a Man for All Seasons,” smiled the Mayor.

External Affairs

Councilman Alan Burnaford stated that there wasn’t much to report on the LPA study being conducted for the Johns Island Greenway and the widening of Bohicket and Main roads. The study should be done by the end of March. For further information, visit

“Also looming is the Charleston County Council elections,” said Burnaford. With Curtis Inabinett, representative for District 8, and Paul Thurmond, representative for District 9, not running in the upcoming elections, the floor is open to newcomers. As of the Council meeting, Joe Qualey, Amy Fabri and John Dubois have declared that they will be running for District 9, and Thomas Legare, Fran Roberts, Anna Johnson and Parris Williams are running for District 8. “People are coming out of the woodwork,” smiled Burnaford.

Town Administrator’s report

Town Administrator Tumiko Rucker announced that Kiawah is gearing up for Earth Day week, which will be held April 19 – 23 across the island. Many of the events will take place at Night Heron Park and further details will be provided in the April edition of the Town Notes. Rucker also noted that the town will be doing more with the River/Marsh Sweep this year, a state-wide project which the town began participating in last year.

Also in environmental news, Rucker announced that the town was recognized in Columbia during an awards luncheon, wherein the town received an award for having an Outstanding Municipal Waste Reduction and Recycling Program in a town with less than 20,000 population. “Yes! We’ve overcome every obstacle!” cheered Councilman McHugh.

In reference to a citizen’s comment made during the February meeting, Rucker stated that she sat down with the concerned property owner and discussed the new dog ordinance and why it changed. “I think we met with a happy medium,” said Rucker.

Lastly, Rucker reported that the new Haut Gap Middle School has been completed and is now open. The school welcomes any visitors who would like to tour the new facilities.

Mayor’s report and CERT on Kiawah

Mayor Wert congratulated Laurie Burpee, who has recently been named the president of KPOG. He also noted that people will see a new face at Town Hall. The town’s financial clerk, Stacy, has moved on to work for a small college and former front desk clerk Catherine McLaren has moved into her position. Stephanie Braswell, the assistant to the Town Administrator, has temporarily moved to handling the front desk as well as her current duties. “In the spirit of cost savings, we’re trying to save the expense of an additional head,” said Wert.

The Mayor also took a moment to announce that the town will be undertaking a new initiative: CERT, which stands for Community Emergency Response Team. The town of Seabrook already has a CERT program in place, and the town of Kiawah is working with the CERT training facility to see if there would be a way to have the trainees come to the island to do full 8 hour days of training instead of sending residents to Charleston County headquarters once a week for 4 hours over 8 weeks, which is the current training period. “When trained to be a full Community Emergency Response Team member, you can respond to any emergency,” Mayor Wert elaborated, including earthquakes across seas or hurricanes here. It costs $150 per person to train and the Mayor stated that they would like up to 30 people on the island to be trained. The town and KICA are currently applying for a $15,000 grant in order to set up the program. The trouble is, the Mayor pointed out, that the town will be dealing with Homeland Security for the grant, with SLED for training as well as the County. “It will be fun to see if we can manage our way through that maze,” said the Mayor. “We’ve only just started to climb this mountain and it will be interesting to see if we’ll get to the top and see the other side.”

Citizen’s comments

Amy Fabri, candidate for Charleston County District 9, introduced herself to Council and gave a little of her background, pointing out that she is a James Island resident and an operations manager for a family-run chemical business. She noted that she has attended almost all of the meetings on the Greenway project and was happy to say that she is up-to-speed on the issue and is eagerly awaiting the final report from LPA. “I want to do what’s right for this district, so whatever it is, that’s where I want to be,” Fabri said. For more information, visit

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