KICA Member Scott Harvin sent the following letter to KICA Board Chair Dave Schoenholz in March 2015.
To KICA Chair Dave Schoenholz:
I have some comments on the proposals to improve Kiawah amenities that come from over 40 years on Kiawah; my family has had a house here since 1972. I think my property values are actually higher having the Sandcastle within walking distance. People who say they had certain expectations about their neighborhood remaining the same as when they bought have a valid point. However, there are limits, and I think people are relying on things told them by real estate agents far too much. Kiawah has been a place with changing plans and expectations. When the Royals owned the island, no house could be higher than the tree line so as to preserve the natural beauty of the island. That expectation has changed.
The original plans for the island called for a school to eventually be built at the current site of Night Heron Park, much like the Brumleys have done at Daniel Island. That expectation changed.
Many people purchased condos and villas near the old inn in the expectation that they would be able to walk there, and enjoy its pool, bar and restaurant. That expectation has changed.
I miss the old inn, but love The Sanctuary. I miss the “little Pig,” but came to appreciate the “Posh Pig” and now the Village Market. I miss the natural beauty of the old Kiawah with its dirt roads, but recognize that the faux natural, landscaped look has attracted buyers who raised property values. I remember when Rhett’s Bluff was called Blackbeard’s Bluff, and the wild horses roamed there. Was that progress beneficial? I expect most residents of Rhett’s Bluff would say, yes.
I could go on and on, but I think the facts stand that Kiawah is falling behind like-communities in the amenities that today’s buyers want. The failure to address those concerns will harm not only the quality of life for current residents, but future property values. New buyers want those facilities and want easy access to them.
Not all change is good, but to be successful a community must evolve. Kiawah has done well so far. I understand the fear of some who want no change, but to stand still is to fail. There may be locations for the amenities other than Rhett’s Bluff. The board appears to have investigated and come to the conclusion that it cannot be done at the Sandcastle site.
It seems the board has looked for other locations, but I think it is going to be difficult to find one because I doubt that either the resort or the new developers would be willing to part with an appropriate parcel cheaply.