Nov 30 2009

Kiawah Town Council – November 3, 2009

Public hearing: second reading for ordinance 2209-10

A public hearing was held for the second reading of ordinance 2009-10: Health and Sanitation, at 1:30pm before the 2pm Council meeting. A few residents arrived to speak at the meeting, all of them thanking the Town and Councilman McHugh for working with them on the issue.

“Speaking on behalf of a coalition of regime directors representing 421 villa owners,” said Kiawah resident Marilyn Olson, “The Town appears ready to adopt ordinance 2009-10.” While the coalition understands and accepts the passing of the ordinance, they wished to suggest that the Council should create a committee of staff, rental companies, property managers and property owners to implement and manage the program, and they should begin creating a timeline of implementation before the January 1 deadline. Olson also noted that the coalition of regime directors does not believe that the evidence provided to date shows that the Town can provide solid waste collection on a more cost effective basis than what is currently being done by the regimes. “Prospective costs have been very hard to pin down,” Olson continued. “The Town has said that it will assume existing contracts, including current fixed cost rates, but a review of the budget process shows that there could be a significant increase in the cost of collecting solid waste, and the cost of recycling could be 300% greater than historic costs. Collection of both solid waste and recycling should be monitored and tracked, and we should reevaluate the costs and effectiveness of the program one year after it begins. We hope Council will be open to these suggestions.”

Kiawah resident Marilyn George also spoke, pointing out that the informative recycling magnets which will be given to island residents have conflicting information with the sign at Sora Rail concerning what items can be recycled. “For example, Charleston County only accepts 1 and 2 plastics, while the magnet simply says ‘plastic’,” said George.

Finally, resident Greg Vanderwerker thanked the Council for all of their hard work. “It’s going to be difficult for a while, but it is a good step forward,” he said.

Official Town Council meeting

Second reading: ordinance 2009-10: Health and Sanitation

“We have gone back and forth on this for four or five months and I think we have a philosophy and concept on what we need to move forward and meet everyone’s needs,” said Councilman McHugh. “It would be best not to rest on our laurels in terms of implementing it. Now is the time we get into the specifics.” McHugh also noted that they will form a committee of owners and agents to be the implementation arm of the recycling program. The motion was approved unanimously.

Carol Ann Smalley (center) accepts the Arts Council Service Award from Mayor Wert (left) and Arts Council Chairman Charles Lipuma (right).

Carol Ann Smalley (center) accepts the Arts Council Service Award from Mayor Wert (left) and Arts Council Chairman Charles Lipuma (right).

Arts Council Service Award

Councilman Charles Lipuma recognized Carol Anne Smalley, who has served on the Arts Council since its formation in 2004. She is retiring to spend more time with family and grandkids, as well as to work with other volunteer programs with which she is already a member. Lipuma noted that her area of excellent was classical music and she was responsible for bringing Fred Moyer, the Barcino Baroque and other chamber performances to the island. “She will be missed,” said Lipuma, with Mayor Wert adding that “Carol Ann epitomizes volunteering and what it means on Kiawah.”

Smalley thanked Council for their support and for allowing them to be “very creative with our performances”. “Charles Lipuma has been a great chairman,” said Smalley. “Thank you very much; it’s been a real privilege.”

Appointment for St. Johns Fire District Commission

Kiawah resident Thomas Kulick was nominated to serve at the Kiawah Island representative on the St. Johns Fire District Commission. Kulick has served on the board since 2001, and was chair of the Commission in 2004, 2005 and 2007. “It’s rare to find someone who has served on a board, loves to serve and will continue to serve,” said Mayor Wert. The appointment was approved unanimously.

Appointment to the Board of Zoning Appeals

Lou Anderson has retired from the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Chairman has asked that Ben Farabee be appointed to fill the position. Farabee has owned property on Kiawah since 1994 and moved to the island permanently in 2003. He chaired the KICA Human Resources Committee and was Treasurer for KPOG. For the past four years, he has volunteered one day a week with Sea Island Habitat for Humanity, and as a mentor at Frierson Elementary. The appointment was approved unanimously and his term will expire in 2012.

Consulting Agreement Amendment – Thomas and Hutton and KDP

Councilman Steve Orban reported that the parkway and bike path engineers, Thomas and Hutton, have requested some increases to the budget, which have tentatively bee agreed upon subject to approval. “Based on additional construction work that arose,” Orban explained, “as well as extra studies and drainage issues, and supervisor hours which earlier budgets did not take into account, Thomas and Hutton has requested an increase of $44,000 to the budget.” Since the amount was below $50,000, Council did not need to vote on approving the expenditure.

Parkway Construction Change Order approvals

Councilman Orban also reported on two bike path/parkway construction change orders which need approval from Council. One is to place new guardrails on either end of the bridge at the cost of $52,890, and the other is for new guardrails between Mingo Point and Little Rabbit at the cost of $56,580. To date, there have been ten change orders with only these last two falling above $50,000. “The total cost of the project to date is $1.497 million,” said Orban, “which falls well below the $2.5 million budget.” Ways and Means previously reviewed both change orders and recommended approval. The change orders were approved unanimously.

Contract Amendment -Fennell Container

Town Administrator Tumiko Rucker reported that, now that the Health and Sanitation ordinance (2009-10) has been approved, an amendment to the Fennell Container needs to be added which will include pick up via dumpsters, and extends the contract with Fennell one year for solid waste and recycling services through June 30, 2012. Rucker explained that the cost of the service will not change, and the addition of one year to the contract only ensures that the cost of their services will remain the same through June 30, 2012. The motion was approved unanimously.

Arts Council

Councilman Lipuma reported that the Duda Lucena Quartet performance and the pantomime event at Turtle Point were both big hits with a great turnout, and the Piano Bar lounge series at the Sandcastle was also well received. In fact, the Council added another show, with pianist Mark Rosenberg performing for one extra night. Also, nationally recognized painter Rick Reinert created a still life painting on linen during a demonstration at the Sandcastle on October 30. When finished, the painting will be displayed at the Sandcastle and will be available for purchase through a silent auction. All proceeds from the sale will go to benefit arts programs in local high schools. Lipuma reminded everyone to mark their calendar for the Holiday Strings Concert with CSO Concertmaster Yuriy Bekker on Thursday, December 3, at Holy Spirit Catholic Church. “It’s the right kind of music for the season and we’re expecting a large crowd,” said Lipuma.

Update on the Parkway

“We’re in paving mode,” Councilman Orban reported regarding the progress on the Kiawah Island Parkway. Paving took place at night from 7pm to 7am, and the landscaper should begin work around November 16, after the paving and grading of the road is completed. Guard rails and hand rails still need to be installed, but the materials for those projects probably won’t be in until December. “Landscaping will probably take a couple months and the St. Augustine grass won’t be planted until the spring since it’s too late in the season to plant it now,” said Orban. “But the bike path should be ready for use sometime around Christmas.” He reminded everyone that they just need to be patient. “We’ve been at this for three years or so, so another couple months shouldn’t make a difference,” he smiled.

Mayor Wert remarked to Orban that he had come to think of the Parkway and Bike Path project in a somewhat simplistic manner. “I have been thinking of the Parkway as ‘The Holiday Project’,” Wert smiled. “With the deadlines: first it was July 4, then Thanksgiving, now Christmas. Thank you for all of your hard work. It’s more than an eight hour a day job.”

Public Safety report

According to the County Sheriff’s department, things have been fairly calm on the island. Councilman Orban noted that Captain Brady of the County Sheriff’s department had remarked on that fact that he sometimes sees mailboxes open and full of mail around the island, and suggested that if people will be leaving home for three days or longer, they should have someone take in their mail for them. Orban also noted that the white fog lines on either side of the Kiawah Island Parkway will be lined with white “warning” strips, similar to those on either side of River Road.

In terms of local emergency response units, the Fire Chief for St. Johns Fire Department noted that in January or February of 2010, the St. Johns Fire Department will go on the new central 911 system. “It should probably save first responders five to ten minutes of time and will get people to an incident sooner,” said Orban. Finally, several signs on the beach are showing some age, so Town staff is in the process of replacing them with new signs, including the dog signs which will have the new ordinance number printed on it for reference.

Environmental Committee

“As I think back to my appointment to the Environmental Committee, I wonder if they [the Council] just picked the least qualified among us,” smiled Councilman McHugh. “But in the time I’ve been a member of the Committee, I’ve been incredibly impressed with the environmental expertise of our community. One of the things that has impressed him the most, he said, was the Resort, which just this past week received two statewide environmental awards: the SC Pride Award and the Green Hospitality Award. “As a member of the Environmental Committee, the example that the resort provides makes it all a lot easier,” said McHugh. “Thank you.”

External Affairs

Though there’s nothing immediately being done on the Johns Island Greenway, Councilman Buranford reported that the project continues to move along. “Right now we’re waiting to see when the study will begin which will evaluate costs,” said Burnaford. “It probably won’t be done before the holidays, but it will possibly be done in January.” He noted that the Town has been working with Seabrook and will be meeting with the newly appointed Mayor Holtz and Council to discuss how they can help each other in their talks with County Council. “ There’s still a lot of concern about it [the Greenway], and it probably won’t happen before the PGA tournament,” said Burnaford. “It’s just a long and expensive study process.”

Mayor Wert agreed that the process won’t be quick, “But our Parkway and bike path took us six years to get permitting and only four months to get in place.”

Town Administrator’s Report

Tumiko Rucker reported that she is continuing to meet on a weekly basis with those involved in the Parkway project, pointing out that Councilmen Orban and Lipuma should be commended for all of their hard work. She and the Town staff are continuing to work on solid waste and recycling, having implemented all of the recycling in the regimes except for the on-site containers. “Now that we have adopted the ordinance, we can focus in on the ‘how’,” she said. She also noted that the Town is working with the ARB (Architectural Review Board) and KICA for holiday decorations, which should be up by the first of December.

Furthermore, if anyone is wondering what’s going on around Beachwalker Drive across from the entrance to Inlet Cove, “It’s a beautification project associated with Palmetto Pride,” said Rucker, stating that the Town has already submitted the 2010 application to Palmetto Pride to help beautify the Parkway.

Finally, Rucker stated that the Town has received the $250,000 reimbursement from County for the Parkway, and the County has informed the Town that there is an additional $50,000 available. “We will send in for that as soon as we get the check,” Rucker smiled.

Mayor’s report

Mayor Wert complimented the Town Administrator for handling the submission of so many grant requests, “which are usually very bureaucratic”, bringing almost $500,000 to the Town in the past couple of years.

In his report, the Mayor remarked on the oil spill which first showed up a week ago on Sullivan’s Island and the Isle of Palms in very small globs. “It moved down to Kiawah’s eastern side and found its ways to the main beach,” said the Mayor, though the globs discovered were only about the size of quarter or smaller. “The Coast Guard and DHEC took control of the clean up and did a great job, picking up the oil as well as driftwood, branches and sticks. The beach is the cleanest it’s been in ten years,” he smiled. “Great job done by the Coast Guard.”

In terms of the Parkway, Mayor Wert stated that the speed limit will remain at 35mph for a while, pointing out that the police officers along the sides of the Parkway are serving a double duty. “They’re slowing down cars as they travel, and they’re also parked at the ends of the bike path to remind people not to ride on it,” said Wert. “It’s just not safe and we won’t open it until it is.”

Mayor Wert also publicly thanked KICA for delaying the paving on Governor’s Drive until the Parkway was finished. “It should have begun in the middle of this week,” he said, “but the contractors would have had to move all of their equipment out to Governor’s Drive from the Parkway, done the work and then come back, leaving the Parkway a mess in the meantime.”

Lastly, the Mayor noted that “This whole recycling and solid waste ordinance just shows what can be done when we all work together,” he said. “There was a lot of opposition when it started, but we’ve worked together and now we have an ordinance that works well.”

Council comments

Councilman Burnaford thanked Roger Warren and the Resort for allowing the Parkway pavers to park in extra spaces and in nearby fields.

Councilman Orban noted that the Town has a plan lined up for the Kiawah Marathon, which should keep everything moving along well. “The Resort has great plan to minimize traffic delays normally incurred day before marathon,” he stated, thanking the Resort and Elizabeth King for all of their hard work.

Councilman Lipuma stated that posts are being installed from the Club to the beach and that progress is going well. He also pointed out that he attended the Kiawah River Estates public hearing concerning the development at Mullet Hall. “When you look at all those living units, commercial spaces, hotels and golf course,” said Lipuma, “heaven help us, but we’ll need that Greenway.”

Lastly, Lipuma noted that the new beach patrol contractor, IBS (Island Beach Services), has transitioned seamlessly into their position and everything is going nicely on the beach. “I can tell you personally that the beach is pristine,” he smiled.

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