The meeting of the Kiawah Town Council was preceded by two public hearings. The first meeting was held at 1pm for Ordinance 2009-06: relating to the control of pets. The second meeting was held at 1:30pm for Ordinance 2009-07: amendments to Health and Sanitation. There was no comment for the Control for Pets ordinance at 1pm. However, the Health and Sanitation hearing was attended and speakers were heard by the Council.
Public hearing for Ordinance 2009-07: amendments to Health and Sanitation
Before the speakers began, Mayor Wert noted that there had been a series of casual and personal meetings on the Ordinance, mainly instigated by the Kiawah Island Community Association (KICA) and Joe Bunting. One meeting was also held at the Sandcastle. Several letters had also been sent in by representatives of many of the Town’s regimes, including Inlet Cove, Turtle Point Two, Duneside Two and Windswept Three. These letters were all entered into the record. Mayor Wert commented that all of the letters pretty much carried the same tone: “yard debris should not be under the ordinance”, “We’re in favor of recycling, but you haven’t looked at the specific needs of our regime closely enough” and third, “We want to know more about the trash pick-up system currently in place”.
Before getting into the comments, Councilman McHugh, who is heading up the committee looking into this Ordinance, reviewed the timeline of the recycling program. In 2008, the Town began work on a program to make recycling available to the island. It was with that objective that they began making contact with regimes and talking about a non-mandatory program. As they were looking at the program, it became evident that the regimes were out of step with the single family homes, which has yard pick up, solid waste and recycling, for which the Town is providing a subsidy of $255 per home. “When that came in to focus, the recycling program seemed incomplete for the regimes,” said McHugh. To make that consistent, the Town went back to the ordinances and found that it was mandatory for single family homes to participate in the solid waste program of the Town. So to make both programs the same, the Town looked into bringing both under the same ordinance. “Obviously, it’s not going to work that way,” said McHugh. “I just wanted you all to understand how we got to where we are.”
“Just to clarify,” said the Mayor, “this isn’t a stimulus program. ‘Subsidy’ means that we do not now charge single family homes to pick up their recycling or solid waste if they bring it to the curb. We’re talking about providing that service at no cost to a regime, not just giving you $255.”
Colonel Stanton, president of Ocean Woods, spoke first and began by questioning the definition of “regime”, asking if Ocean Woods was included as a regime or as single family homes. Stanton also expressed concern over the storage of the new recycling containers, as space is fairly limited in most regimes. He also pointed out that the current garbage collection service does not replace the current garbage cans correctly.”If we’re going to do this, let’s have the people who pick up the garbage do it properly.”
Another regime resident stated that she was interested in the recycling program because it has not been easy in the past. She suggested a voluntary recycling program as a solution. The resident also suggested that attractive fences be built around the larger recycling bins so that they would hide any spilled garbage. “Find people who want to recycle. They will participate and do it properly,” she said.
Regular Town Council
Polo on Kiawah
The meeting opened with a citizen’s presentation by Joe Bunting of KICA, who asked the Council’s opinion on holding an old-fashioned polo match on the beach on September 20. “Historically, wild horses could be found on Kiawah until the 1970s,” said Bunting, “and American Quarter Horse racing was held on the beach until 1984.” So KICA had an idea; to bring horses back to Kiawah’s beach. The game would be held at low tide and the environmental impacts of the event have been extensively investigated and adjusted for, as well as the safety and comfort of the players and horses. The event itself would be free for Kiawah Islanders to attend, but there would be a paid social event which would benefit the Kiawah Island Habitat Conservancy. The social event would include an opening reception before the game so individuals can meet the riders and enjoy canapés and champagne. They would also receive preferred seating on the beach and after the game, would attend a large social event at the Beach Club. The Polo match was approved unanimously by the Council later in the meeting.
Ordinance 2009-06: relating to the control of pets
The Mayor stated that, as there were no comments or suggestions during the public hearing, he moved for a second reading.
Councilman Lipuma noted that there was a set of recommendations in the information packet which, he felt, has a lot of logic and appeal. He presented a map which shows the eastern most end and the western most end of the island as critical protected habitats. The stretch going toward the beach, from the Beach Club to the Ocean Courts pedestrian access on the eastern side, and the area from the Beachwalker Park vehicle access to the critical area habitat on the western side, would be designated as off-leash areas year round as long as the dog is under voice command. The central area would require dogs to be on a leash at all times.
Town attorney Rhoad stated that this would extend what was already defined as critical areas on the beach. The Mayor motioned to modify the Ordinance to include this new designation, and the newly modified Ordinance, in its first reading by title only, was passed unanimously. The public hearing on this ordinance will be held at 1:30pm on September 1, just before the next Town Council meeting.
Ordinance 2009-07: amendments to Health and Sanitation
“We have received enough information that there will be very substantive changes to this Ordinance,” said the Mayor. “So much so that to have a second reading would be against the law.” He referred the ordinance back to a committee chaired by Councilman McHugh, volunteers from the regimes and other island associations. He asked that the committee come back to Council with an ordinance more in line with the input received and asked that they plan on passing an ordinance by January 1 so that the Town can negotiate new contracts with the Town’s trash pick up services.
“It was unintended consequences that got us where we are, but it’s a good intent, to provide recycling to all of Kiawah,” said the Mayor.
First reading of Amendments to Article 17: Tidelands Management
Mayor Wert stated that this Ordinance is to clear up a loophole with property owners regarding any requests for bulkheads that are being sent to the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM). The Ordinance requires that property owners notify the Town at the same time as the OCRM. “This does not say that we have ‘approval’ of anything, we just want to know what’s going on,” said the Mayor. Council approved the amendment unanimously. A public hearing will be held on this amendment, now Ordinance 2009-08, at 1pm on September 1.
Arts Council report
Councilman Lipuma stated that, since the Art Council is not in-season, he had nothing to report.
Councilman Orban stated that work on the Parkway and Bikepath was progressing well. Berkeley Electric is just about done with their work and is finishing the tie-in boxes, “but they’re far enough along that we can start,” he said. Orban also reported that the contractor working on the bridge has completed eight piles for the bridge and is now working on pier caps and abutments. Landscaping and irrigation plans will be done by mid-August and hopefully will start in early September following the paving of the Bikepath. “Finally, after all these years, we’re moving along well,” he smiled.
Public Safety report
Councilman Orban reported that on July 16, Public Safety heard comments from Joe Croughwell about a series of incidents of stolen bikes, broken lights, trash in swimming pools and broken mailboxes. “It seems to have stopped, so the perpetrators must have gone home,” said Orban. He also noted that false alarms are up. About 20 were made last month and each one costs the Fire Department, as they have to report to each one. “There are several habitual malfunctioning alarms,” said Orban. “We tried to fix the problem through education, but we might have to pass an ordinance.”
Orban also remarked on the issue of traffic clearing. In regards to the accident on the Parkway a few weeks ago that stopped traffic for two hours, the problem seems to be the wait for wreckers. In this case, the wrecker had to come from North Charleston, so it took an hour to get here. “I’ve suggested that we could use Fipps, who is fairly local and could save us some time in clearing accidents,” said Orban. There was also an incident of a wrecked beach vehicle by the Beach Patrol recently. “The Mayor was kind enough to sit down with them and raise the roof about providing better service and doing the job they were contracted to do,” Orban reported.
Mayor Wert noted that according to the Fire Department, if there is one accident on the island and another one occurs that emergency vehicles need to get to, fire trucks would be used to push the vehicles out of the way; “But only in extreme situations,” said the Mayor, “as we are a litigious society”.
Councilman McHugh noted that there was no Environmental Committee meeting this month.
Councilman Burnaford stated that the Greenway proposal is going well. Last month, Paul Roberts, Joe Croughwell and Al Burnaford met with Colleen Condon, Elliot Sumney and Vic Rawle of Charleston County Council to give them the updates they received on the accidents on Johns Island between 2007 and 2008.
A letter was sent to Teddy Pryor, the chairman of Charleston County Council, Mayor Riley and a myriad of other people, suggesting a process to get the Greenway on the agenda in order to proceed. “I would like to rescind my feeling that this would not be done by the time I’m 98; now I’m thinking 80, and it might be sooner than that,” Burnaford smiled. Burnaford suggested that the funds that would potentially be used to widen Maybank could be used to make the Greenway instead, since if the Greenway was built, the Maybank widening would not necessarily be needed. ‘This is with or without 526,” said Burnaford.
Town Administrator’s report
Town Administrator Tumiko Rucker reported that she had been working with Councilman Orban on the Parkway project in bi-weekly meetings. She also spoke with the Beach Patrol about their performance on the beach and noted that they have been responsive to the issues pointed out, including replacing the lost vehicle, improving uniforms and correcting arrival times. Their activity will be monitored on a daily basis. Also, the issues with the garbage contractor have been raised and the company stated that they are working on acclimating their new employees with the routes on Kiawah.
Rucker was happy to report that the Wildlife Department has started a new initiative of bird banding involving a large net, resulting in the gathering of several smaller birds which were not previously in the island’s annual bird survey. In regards to external affairs, Rucker attended a CARTA meeting, where it was discussed that they would be purchasing new busses with ARRA funds, since the current busses are from the Atlanta Olympics. CARTA also received a clean audit opinion for their most recent fiscal year, which Rucker noted speaks volumes to their financial strength.
Finally, Treasurer Kenneth Gunnells attended the Association of Public Treasurers annual conference in Spokane, Washington, where Kiawah was recognized for it’s second certification of excellence in investment policy. Gunnells received a plaque on behalf of the Town.
Mayor Wert clarified that the term “vehicle lost” did not mean it was lost, it was just damaged beyond repair.
The Mayor also reported on the alligator spotlight survey, which reported a total of 450 alligators for 2009. “It’s not definitively scientific, but in 2003, there were 250 alligators, and in 2008 there were 537 counted,” said the Mayor. “Please don’t think there’s been a great reduction of alligators on the island; that’s just how many we counted this year.”
Finally, the Mayor congratulated Tumiko Rucker for receiving the Liberty Fellowship. She was selected from 250 nominees that go through an incredibly intense screening process, and Rucker was one of the 21 selectees. She will be a representative for the next three years. “Congratulations,” said the Mayor.” We’re very proud of you.”
Wendy Kulick reminded everyone that the drive for school supplies continues for Mount Zion Elementary. Residents have continued their incredible generosity, and the donated goods will be much appreciated. Kulick can be contacted at home ((843)768-7466) or via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Councilman Burnaford noted that Charlie Larson, who had been attacked by a dog on his bike some weeks ago and damaged his shoulder, completed a 150 mile race in Massachusetts with his son, David. The race is for cancer and over the years, he has raised over $21 million for the cause.
Councilman Orban attended the Charleston Region Community Leaders meeting on Shoreline Change held by DHEC on July 13. There were representatives from the beach front communities of Folly Beach, the Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, Seabrook Island and Kiawah Island. It was essentially a brain storming session for DHEC, said Orban, and an outline of the discussion is available at Town Hall for anyone interested.
The next Kiawah Town Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 1, at 2pm.