Jan 25 2022

Major Changes Ahead For Beachwalker Drive

By Theresa Stratford for The Island Connection

Kiawah Island Town Council started 2022 off with a town council meeting on Jan. 11 that highlighted an informational session on the parcels located between the general store on Kiawah Island and the Kiawah Island Community Associations’ offices off Beachwalker Drive.

Mark Permar, who is a local representative with Kiawah Development Partners, presented the informational presentation.

Before Permar spoke, he announced that there would be no actions or approvals taking place at the meeting. He was there to give background information on how the parcels were acquired in the first place.

Permar explained that back in 1974, when a group from Kuwait owned the island, there was a “master plan” for development. “A church was in the proposal and the Kuwatis held it as a requirement for development.”

This original master plan was approved by Charleston County in 1975. In 1988, the Town of Kiawah Island was established and many of the entitlements went to the Town. The community evolved and in 1994, 20 years after the original masterplan, an update to the plan was needed.

Since 1994, Permar explained that three updates occurred in years 2004, 2005 and 2013, including 15 amendments to ordinances.

Kiawah Development Partners bought some of the parcels in 2008 and in 2016, and KDP acquired the land that was supposed to be a church originally.

Since the 2013 set of amendments to the masterplan, Kiawah Partners is now proposing another amendment. Although no action was taken in the Town Council meeting this time, they would like to propose a consolidation of parcels 8, 9, 10, 11 and the former church parcel that all lie between the KICA offices and the general store. They want to make all these parcels into one large parcel.

Permar said, “This should be one singular parcel, not cut up. We need to take a comprehensive approach, not piecemeal.”

According to Permar, the one parcel would have common standards, sensitive open space, suitable land-use patterns and a safer trail system. Kiawah Partners would leave the current standards for dwelling units, commercial area limits, building setbacks, open space and off-street parking standards.

They also propose to limit the number of potential multifamily residential buildings to no more than 12 – four of which may house up to 10 dwellings each and the remainder may contain up to eight dwellings each. Single family detached and townhomes would be allowed as presently permitted.

Kiawah Partners intends to keep the building height standards of 2.5 and 4 stories. Parcel 10 will be a designated open space.

“We look forward to the next level of studies and to reconnect with the Town,” Permar said.

Brad Bell, who represents the Riverview community located across the street from the parcels, spoke up during the citizen’s comments portion of the meeting in relation to Permar’s presentation.

“We are not opposed to some kind of development on these parcels – either configured as they are or combined,” Bell explained. “But what Mr. Permar is suggesting is three times the dwelling density at four stories. We want to know exactly what they plan to build there and how that will affect traffic. Let’s see how this develops. We need more public comments and community outreach.”

Permar also represents Riverstone Properties, which is run by the Goodwin Family who also owns the Kiawah Island Golf Resort. He presented the preliminary plans for the development of the Andell West property – a grocery, retail and dwelling space development located between Cassique and Freshfields Village – back in September 2021.

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