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Sep 10 2020

Kiawah Island Town Council Meeting: September 1, 2020

By Gregg Bragg, The Island Connection Sr. Staff Writer

Mayor Craig Weaver characterized the use of secondgeneration anticoagulant rodenticides in the past tense at the Sept. 1 meeting of the Kiawah Island Town Council. According to Weaver, all the major players on the island are behind a push to eliminate the use of a toxin that has devastated Kiawah’s bobcat population.

“We know SGAs are a major contributing factor and are responsible for at least seven bobcat deaths in the last year,” he said.

The town has established the Bobcat Guardians to help prevent further harm to the island’s felines. Participants can take the pledge and agree not to use the SGA rodenticides listed at 

Weaver also reported some progress with the Clemson Department of Pesticide Regulation and the South Carolina Pest Control Association. He credited State Sen. Chip Campsen with the progress in reversing their refusal to ban SGAs more broadly.

He said a study of the problem should blossom into species other than bobcats to properly gauge the reach and effects of SGAs on the island.

Weaver also revisited the town’s priority of embracing an adaptive approach to sea level rise. He said Lucas Hernandez and Cathy Pumphrey have successfully established focus groups and seemed pleased with their progress, which will include a survey of residents he expects the Council to be able to review during its November meeting.

 He also pointed out that the prospect of a miniature golf course on the parcel of land adjacent to the municipal center is very real. He noted that Charleston County has jurisdiction over the lot, which limits the town’s sway in the matter. An informal meeting at the site was attended by a few residents of Kiawah and Seabrook, but most of the smattering of attendees were from along Betsy Kerrison Parkway.

 Weaver concluded his report by mourning the loss of Jack Regan, a long-term member of the Public Safety Committee. He was also instrumental in establishing the Community Emergency Response Team and served as its chief executive.

Registration to file for any of the five seats on the Council opened Sept. 1 and will close at noon on Oct. 2, Weaver said. Kiawah residents will elect a new mayor and four Council members, but perhaps with a twist, depending on the fate of ordinance 2020-08, which was introduced in August and was due for a second reading. Residents interested in running need to visit Town Clerk Petra Reynolds for the necessary paperwork and to pay the appropriate fee, said Weaver. The elections are held on the first Tuesday in December. 

Ordinance 2020-08 would increase the terms of office for Kiawah’s elected officials from two to four years.

The mayor promoted the act as an improvement to continuity, a sentiment mirrored by the rest of the Council.

The mayor said he and the Council have received adequate feedback from the community. The significant part of the original measure read: “In order to implement this ordinance and staggered terms, the next election to be held on Dec. 1, 2020, will elect a mayor for a term of four years, two Council members for terms of four years and two Council members for terms of two years. The two Council member candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall be elected to four-year terms, and the two Council member candidates receiving the next lowest number of votes (3 and 4) shall be elected to two-year terms.”

There was a protracted debate around amending the ordinance to allow candidates to file for either a two-year or four-year term during the inaugural year of the measure.

Starting in 2022, all seats will be held for four-year terms. The amended measure passed unanimously.

In new business, Ordinance 2020-10 required a special presentation by Flood Plain Manager Bruce D. Spicher. The Federal Emergency Management Agency began drawing new flood zone maps in 2016 that will soon go into effect, and the town needs to change its code to match.

“The effective date for the enforcement of the flood insurance rate map is Jan. 29, 2021. Our current Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance is required to be amended to reflect required changes to comply with the new FIRM’s and to ensure our ordinance remains an enforceable document based on the latest edition of the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps,” explained Spicher.

The measure passed unanimously.

The Council then turned to the subject of litter, which has been the source of considerable pique lately. The mayor’s description of Ordinance 2020-11 started out sounding innocent enough: Put trash in the right place and make sure it stays there – but then took a turn.

The mayor mentioned cameras and code enforcement officers looking for identifying pieces of trash – an envelope, for example – to find out who is littering and mitigate the issue. Changes to the existing ordinance include:

“No person may place or cause or allow to be placed or disposed of in any manner any … litter or other solid waste upon any public or private property except in an authorized receptacle provided expressly for the purposes of retaining such litter or waste matter. Persons placing litter or waste matter in an authorized receptacle shall do so in such a manner as to prevent the litter or waste matter from being carried or deposited by the elements outside of the receptacle.

“No person may place or cause to be placed … litter, other solid waste or yard debris in any lagoon, stream or other waterway, except during the maintenance of bodies of water by authorized personnel. No person may place or cause to be placed any litter or other solid waste, including recyclable material, at any waste collection site within the town except in an authorized receptacle provided expressly for the purposes of retaining such litter or waste matter. Persons placing litter or waste matter in an authorized receptacle shall do so in such a manner as to prevent the litter or waste matter from being carried or deposited by the elements outside of the receptacle.

“Litter means any organic or inorganic waste material, rubbish, refuse, garbage, recyclable material, trash, hulls, peelings, debris, grass, weeds, ashes, sand, gravel, slag, brickbats, metal, plastic and glass containers, broken glass, dead animals or intentionally or unintentionally discarded materials of every kind and description.

“Whenever any litter or other solid waste which is placed or caused to be placed in violation of this ordinance is discovered to contain any article or articles, including but not limited to letters, bills, publications or other writing which display the name of the person thereon in such a manner as to indicate that the article belongs or belonged to such person, it shall be a rebuttable presumption that such person has violated this ordinance.

“Any person may be held in violation of this ordinance if they direct, advise or cause a third party to place litter or waste matter in violation of this ordinance.”

Although no details were provided, the implied consequences sound serious, and the ordinance passed unanimously.   

The final act of new business was approval of HR&A’s Kiawah Housing Market Study. The Council hired the consultants earlier this year to help explain why property on the island was or wasn’t moving and what to do about it. The document received unanimous support and can be reviewed by visiting uploads/2016/11/Kiawah-Housing

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