Earlier this year, Kiawah Partners (KP) sought approval from the Town of Kiawah’s planning commission to extend Duneside Road to Beachwalker Drive. The proposal would have created a second entry to the island, which sparked concerns about island access and safety. Though KICA’s ability to stop the proposal was based on an untested legal position, KICA’s board formally opposed the proposal. KP voluntarily withdrew the proposal, and chose to work with the board in order to avoid litigation and seek a compromise.
In the ensuing months, KICA continued to oppose any plan that resulted in a road connection to Beachwalker Drive and a second access point to the island, and insisted that any compromise had to include the following:
– No connection of Duneside Road to Beachwalker Drive.
– A limitation on the number of units accessible by the extended Duneside Road.
– A financial contribution toward improvements deemed necessary to address safety concerns on the existing portion of Duneside Road.
– KICA and the community would require legal protection that upon approval of any compromise, KP (or any successors) would be prevented from altering the plan in the future.
Several weeks ago, KICA met with representatives of the nearby regimes, along with their attorney, and explained the general framework of a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). While they and KICA would have preferred no extension of the road, failure to compromise could result in a costly legal battle, with an uncertain outcome and at worst, a full connection to Beachwalker as originally proposed with unlimited traffic. Following that meeting, their lawyer sent KICA a letter that continued to express reservations but said the conceptual framework we shared struck a “seemingly reasonable compromise.”
Last week, KICA’s board discussed this legal and contractual matter in Executive Session, and ultimately voted unanimously* to approve an MOU with Kiawah Partners that accomplishes the goals outlined above. A copy of the MOU may be accessed here, along with the covenants and restrictions for the property here. To summarize, the MOU accomplishes the goals set forth above:
– The proposed road extension terminates in a cul-de-sac instead of connecting to Beachwalker.
– The maximum number of units accessible by the proposed extension has been reduced by close to half.
– Kiawah Partners will contribute up to $100K to KICA for safety improvements.
– A Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions will be filed to provide assurance that this issue is resolved once and for all.
While KP and KICA have reached a compromise, the matter will be ultimately decided by the Town of Kiawah Planning Commission. It is anticipated that this item will be on their Dec. 5 agenda. Further information on this meeting can be found here. KICA will provide another update to members after the planning commission meeting.
*Developer-appointed board member Townsend Clarkson recused himself from the Executive session discussion and vote.
The six elected members of the KICA Board of Directors previously expressed their opposition to Kiawah Partners’ proposal to create vehicular connection between Beachwalker Drive and Duneside Road. For those unfamiliar with the proposal, KICA’s prior communication on this matter can be read here. Yesterday, KICA sent a letter to the Town of Kiawah Island Planning Commission that states the following:
March 29, 2018
Town of Kiawah Island Planning Commission
Attn: Fred Peterson, Chairman
4475 Betsy Kerrison Parkway
Kiawah Island, South Carolina 29455
Dear Mr. Peterson and Commission Members,
The April 4, 2018 Planning Commission agenda includes an item related to a final plat associated with Kiawah Partners’ development of parcels on the west end of the island. Given the community reaction to this matter, I am certain you are aware of it. The Kiawah Island Community Association elected board previously went on public record expressing their opposition to the substantial change of the final plat, and shares the many concerns that have been expressed by community members.
The purpose of this correspondence, however, is to transmit official notice that the properties in question are encumbered by recorded convents and restrictions. Furthermore, the covenants are contrary to, conflict with, and perhaps even prohibit the permitted activity. South Carolina statute 6-29-1145 states that a planning agency, upon notice of such a conflict, may not issue a permit until it has received confirmation from the applicant that the restrictive covenant has been released for the tract or parcel of land by action of the appropriate authority or property holders or by court order.
KICA’s covenants establish a number of functions and responsibilities, including the provision of security services, the operation of guardhouses, the ownership and maintenance of its common properties, and other authorized services. Buyers for 40+ years have relied on these covenants, and property values have most likely benefited from their existence, along with the exclusivity and security provided by a gated community.
Were the Town of Kiawah Island Planning Commission to approve this plat, and approve a second entry point to the island, it would have essentially created a perpetual unfunded mandate for the association and its members to construct and operate a guardhouse. Failure to do so would eliminate controlled access to the island, thereby exposing the association to claims for breaching the functions and responsibilities imposed by the KICA covenants.
In closing, thank you for your service to the community, and please know that I sign this letter on behalf of the six elected members of the KICA board who unanimously support this position.
Jimmy Bailey, Jr.
Chief Operating Officer
At the March 5 meeting of the KICA Board of Directors, COO Jimmy Bailey reported that the six elected directors are opposed to a recent proposal by Kiawah Partners (KP) to create vehicular access to the island between Beachwalker Drive and Duneside Road. The seventh director is a developer-appointed seat.
KP, which sold an almost 3.5 acre tract near the end of Beachwalker Drive to Timbers Kiawah last year, contends that traffic on Beachwalker Drive prevents convenient access to Timbers and to future developments on Beachwalker, necessitating the connection. Duneside is presently a dead-end road which serves Sparrow Pond and Duneside Cottages. These regimes and others have expressed numerous concerns about traffic, safety and livability issues, and are vigorously opposed to the proposal.
Bailey also stated that a recent Island Connection article reporting that KICA is behind this proposal, and that the Kiawah Island Architectural Review Board (ARB) is a function of KICA, is inaccurate. KICA did not propose these changes, and the ARB remains a function of KP, the master developer.
The proposal is expected to go before the Town of Kiawah Island Planning Commission at its April 4 meeting, which will be at 3 p.m. at Town Hall, 4475 Betsy Kerrison. Check the town’s website for meeting agendas, changes, etc.
KICA will continue to update members as information is available.
On Feb. 21, Town of Kiawah Island Mayor Craig Weaver issued a statement about a plan by Kiawah Partners (KP) to extend Duneside Road to the Timbers property in West Beach, and create an additional security gate and access point to the island. In his statement, Mayor Weaver indicated that the town’s Planning Commission would defer action on the proposal until April, giving all parties, as well as the community, more time to understand the issue and provide input. Read the mayor’s statement here.
Opening the road is a reversal of KP’s prior commitment that this location would not serve vehicular traffic. KICA’s five property owner elected directors met earlier this week by phone to discuss concerns expressed by community members, as well as KICA’s role and legal rights associated with this issue. The elected board shares in the frustration and disappointment expressed by many that this has occurred. However, its primary focus is on assessing the traffic, safety and security implications, as well as what legal authority KICA has to influence the situation. In that regard, the deed that conveyed the road to KICA in 1982 includes certain reserved rights for the developer, including the right “to use the aforesaid property for purposes of ingress and egress and the right to cross and recross the said property.” View a copy of the deed.
The one month delay announced yesterday by Mayor Weaver gives KICA leadership and the community some time to understand the proposal, and offer input. As KICA continues conversations with Kiawah Partners, we’d like to hear from you. We invite members to make comments at the conclusion of the Annual Meeting next Friday, March 2 at 2 p.m. Please note that due to construction at The Sandcastle, the meeting is being held at the new Town Hall on Betsy Kerrison. All board members and key staff will be in attendance, and it will be a good time to offer your perspectives. Like many of you, we’re still trying to understand the implications associated with this.