Important News and Announcements from KICA
For many years KICA’s Annual Report was included with the Annual Meeting election materials. This report was more of a “year in review,” focusing on the association’s major projects and accomplishments throughout the prior year. This year, the report focuses solely on financial information and was moved to a later distribution date so that any figures were based on the approved audited financial statements made available in the spring.
The 2017 Audited Financial Statements, along with other financial information, can be viewed at kica.us/finances. To view the full Treasurer's Report presentation from the 2018 Annual Meeting, visit kica.us/treasurerreport.
In January, Digest launched the first in a series of articles and surveys on the core services provided by KICA. While big projects such as the Sandcastle renovation are exciting, execution of a set of basic responsibilities is the backbone of the community. The purpose of this series is to inform, but also to gain broad-based feedback from our members via brief surveys.
The May Digest featured the second article in this series, focusing on Land and Lakes Management. Read the article online.
As with the first article in the series about Security and Safety, KICA asks members to take a moment to answer a few questions regarding KICA's Land and Lakes Management.
In this issue, learn about another of KICA's Core Functions, Land and Lakes Management. Also, find out about how you can help our sea turtles during nesting season, how you can keep Kiawah special by following our community standards, and how you can help out our Sea Island neighbors in need during Kiawah Cares Giving Month.
Over the last several months, the KICA Finance Committee has worked to craft a new Investment Policy Statement to govern the manner in which the community's reserve funds are invested. At last week's meeting, the committee voted unanimously to send this draft to the KICA board for consideration. KICA's standard procedure is to share policy drafts with the community for input prior to making a final decision. After reviewing the attached draft, if you wish to share any comments, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 2.
KICA funds major repair expenses (planned repair and replacement of roads, bridges, drainage, etc. - not unplanned major expenses such as storms) from three primary sources:
Contributions to Reserves (CTR's): CTR's are transfer fees on real estate sales, and represented 43% of reserve fund revenue in 2017.
The Reserve Assessment: Formally referred to as the Supplemental Annual Assessment, this assessment is billed to all members along with the Annual Assessment. It represented 39% of reserve fund revenue in 2017.
Commercial Access Fees: Commercial Access Fees are charged to contractors and other service providers who perform work on Kiawah Island. Beginning in 2017, a portion of these fees was allocated to the reserve fund for major repairs. They represented 14% of total reserve fund revenue.
The remaining revenue (4% of total in 2017) is provided by investment income.
In some years these revenue sources are sufficient to cover all reserve expenses. However, there are times when expenses exceed revenue, and reserve funds are needed to make up the difference. Having a healthy reserve is the best way to avoid special assessments, and KICA's reserve stands at $7.5 million today.
KICA's investments have historically been held primarily in cash and money market accounts, though in recent years the association has built a small ($3.8 million) laddered portfolio of high quality, "A" rated or better corporate bonds. This strategy has improved KICA's investment returns, but not enough to keep pace with inflation. Continued losses in purchasing power could have a significant negative impact on KICA's reserve funds over time.
The Finance Committee has drafted a new investment policy with the goal of keeping up with inflation. The committee believes this can be accomplished by investing approximately 70% of the funds in fixed income investments similar to what we have done in the past (individual investment grade bonds with maturity of 10 years or less) and 30% in equities (active and indexed mutual funds, no individual stocks or alternative investments). This balanced investing strategy has historically been very effective (it has never lost money over a 5-year period), although it would be subject to some moderate level of risk and volatility. More aggressive approaches weren't deemed necessary to meet KICA's objectives.
The management of the portfolio (within policy guidelines) will be the responsibility of Moneta Group. This firm has done an outstanding job managing KICA employees' 401K funds, and was selected after an extensive review process by the Finance Committee and Board of Directors.
Thank you in advance for your input. Any decisions on this topic will be reported after the May Board meeting.
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
Introducing Around Kiawah, KICA's new member-to member email discussion group. Around Kiawah offers a four-in-one platform; subscribe to just one topic category, all four, or anywhere in between. Select from events, classifieds, property services and discussions.
This unmoderated discussion platform will replace the outdated KICA-List platform. Assuming most users of our former KICAList will move to Around Kiawah, there may initially be a slight delay in verifying property ownership. After the initial phase, verification is expected to be prompt. KICA-List will be phased out on May 1, 2018.
For more information or to sign-up for Around Kiawah, visit kica.us/around-kiawah.
The April 2018 Digest is Now Available Online!
In this issue, get details on exciting new enhancements coming to the Kiawah Island Golf Resort, including a new beachfront hotel, conference center, Cougar Point Clubhouse, and other additions. Also, get the latest on the Sandcastle renovations, hear from new KICA Chair Ben Cheatham, learn about Around Kiawah - a new way for members to connect with one another - and more.
In this issue:
- Cover Story: Resort Announces New Hotel, Additional Improvements
- Annual Meeting: New Directors Elected, Covenant Amendment Passes
- Message From New Board Chair Ben Cheatham
- Exciting Progress on The Sandcastle Beach Experience
- April and May Community Events
- Ernst and Young Gifts $20,000 to KCF to Support Students
- Kiawah Cares Wants to Know What You Think
- Learn From the Experts at the Landscape Symposium and Plant Sale
- KICA Launches Around Kiawah, A New Way for Members to Connect
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.
Did you know you can pay your annual assessment online for no additional fee? Payment for this assessment is securely processed by Payment Service Network (PSN).
On Thursday, Dec. 7, representatives from KICA, Kiawah Partners (KP) and the Kiawah Conservancy officially signed and executed the Parcel Trade Agreement. The agreement was approved by vote of the membership in September, with 87% of the voters supporting the trade.
Representatives from KICA, KP and the Conservancy Signed the Parcel Trade Agreement on Dec. 7, 2017.
"We would like to thank everyone who helped make this trade a reality," said KICA COO Jimmy Bailey. "This agreement is not just beneficial to KICA, but to the entire Kiawah community."
Part of the agreement included KP granting the Kiawah Conservancy a favorable purchase option on a 6.2-acre parcel directly across from Kiawah Island Real Estate that has zoning and development rights for 19 units. As was announced by the Conservancy earlier today (view full announcement), they have officially raised enough funds to purchase the land.
"We would like to congratulate the Conservancy and the community for raising the necessary funds to protect this parcel of land," said Bailey. "This transaction, along with the two parcels acquired by KICA through the vote, will help protect the entrance to our island in perpetuity."
For more details and background on the Parcel Trade agreement, visit kica.us/parceltrade.
Construction at The Sandcastle is really coming along! We were lucky enough to get a look at the progress on Thursday, Dec. 7. The majority of work so far has been focussed on the entry way and first floor fitness space (which is being completely reimagined to add additional space and eventually provide gorgeous ocean views!).
KICA COO Jimmy Bailey presented the 2018 budget for approval at the Nov. 6 board meeting. This presentation highlighted the variety of concerns and considerations taken into account during budget creation.
Hear Jimmy Bailey's comments and explanations of the presentation by watching on the KICA YouTube Channel.
Loggerhead sea turtle nesting season is in full swing. Nesting activity typically begins in mid-May, and female turtles will continue coming ashore to nest until August. Nests will begin hatching in July and finish by October.
During nesting season, it’s important that we do all we can to protect this threatened species from any further perils. To avoid unintentional harm to these beautiful creatures, follow these tips during nesting season:
-If your property is visible from the beach, turn out all exterior lights (flood and deck) from dusk to dawn.
-If any interior lights are visible from the beach or cast light on the beach, close blinds or drapes at 9 p.m. or turn them off.
-Flashlights should not be used on the beach at night during nesting season. Do not carry flashlights or play flashlight tag on the beach.
-Fill in large holes dug on the beach at the end of the day, as adults and hatchling sea turtles can become trapped in them.
-Observe sea turtles quietly from a distance - never disturb a nesting sea turtle or hatchlings.
-Do not shine lights on a sea turtle, including cell phones and flash photography.
Help keep Kiawah special and our turtles safe by following these guidelines or sharing them with family, friends and vacation rental guests. Learn more about Kiawah’s Loggerhead population.
During Hurricane Matthew, KICA received damage to 23 of its 25 boardwalks. Our general maintenance team was able to get some of these boardwalks re-opened with minor repairs. The timeline for boardwalks requiring extensive repairs is somewhat longer, though all involved have been extremely cooperative in order to expedite this important work.
KICA uses a consulting structural engineer to ensure what we build is safe and will withstand many years of “normal” wear and tear. Once that work is complete, it then goes through the approval process with the Architectural Review Board (ARB) and the Town of Kiawah Island (TOKI). This ensures TOKI’s ordinances are followed, as well as the regulations imposed by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (SC DHEC-OCRM).
We initially placed the priority on boardwalks in the area of Eugenia Avenue to Windswept, as this was an area where KICA had no open boardwalks.
- As of Feb. 15, KICA has completed construction on boardwalks 8A, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16.
- We just received approvals on 7, 10, 29, 31 and 33, and are proceeding to contract shortly.
- Our other boardwalks remain in design.
KICA has been and will continue to send weekly updates on its boardwalk repairs in the Thursday email update to the membership. (Access the Beach With Safety)
Policies and Regulations
In building the beach boardwalks, KICA adheres to design regulations specified by the ARB, TOKI and SC DHEC-OCRM. To comply with these regulations, boardwalks must meet the beach perpendicular to the shore and within 10 feet of the primary dune. In the five years preceding the storm, we had rebuilt 22 of our boardwalks (approx. $1 million) and were fortunate that significant accretion of the beach resulted in a dune profile suitable for ramps in most locations. Unfortunately, those dunes are gone – along with the bulk of the previous five years’ investment. This loss has necessitated we use steps as a repair solution in many locations.
We are not permitted, under normal regulations, to run a boardwalk parallel to the shore and dune line, and must seek an exception for this type of construction. Our preference is to build ramps perpendicular to the shore where the dune profile accommodates this type of design; however, Hurricane Matthew has caused us to consider new guidelines that provide an objective way to determine where exceptions should be considered.
One of those new guidelines considers the density of property located near a boardwalk. Areas where larger than average numbers of KICA member properties are concentrated in close proximity will be given extra consideration for ramps. This will result in our applying for ramps at boardwalks 8B, 22, and 27. As the map image below indicates, these are high density areas and we believe exceptions are warranted:
Alligators are a common sight on Kiawah Island and can be found in just about every pond on the island. Almost everyone who lives, works or visits our island has seen these animals. Now that spring is here, alligators have become much more active and visible and have resumed feeding after the cold winter months. While alligators can appear lethargic and docile, they are capable of great speed, power and agility, especially when pursuing prey.
In early April, an alligator on the western end of the island caught and killed a dog that had escaped from a nearby home. This unfortunate incident is a staunch reminder that alligators are potentially dangerous animals and should always be treated with respect. It is also a reminder to keep pets on a leash at all times on the island (as required by Town Ordinance) and to keep them away from ponds and pond edges.
In light of the recent incident, we ask that all island residents and visitors review and adhere to the following safety rules for alligators listed below. We have also included a short FAQ with answers to the most common questions regarding alligators on Kiawah Island.
Alligator Safety Rules
-Never approach an alligator. Maintain a distance of 60 feet from alligators unless on an elevated dock or boardwalk.
-Do not feed alligators.
-Do not poke, prod, throw things at or otherwise harass alligators.
-Do not throw fish scraps or bait into ponds when fishing or crabbing.
-Keep children and pets out of ponds and away from pond edges.
-Do not approach alligator nests or hatchlings. Female alligators are very vigilant and protective of their young.
-Do not retrieve golf balls that land in ponds or near an alligator; take a drop.
-Do not attempt to pick up or handle an alligator for any reason.
Frequently Asked Questions
How common are dog/alligator incidents on Kiawah Island?
Uncommon. Over the last 20 years, Kiawah has averaged about one incident every three years. Most incidents have occurred when dogs accidentally, or unknowingly, escaped from their owners and entered ponds or approached a pond edge.
How common are human/alligator incidents on Kiawah Island?
Alligators do not view people as prey and incidents are extremely rare. There have been two minor incidents on Kiawah Island in the last 40 years. Both of these incidents could have been easily avoided if safety rules had been followed. Statewide, there have been a number of documented incidents, but never a fatality.
How many alligators live on Kiawah Island?
Approximately 600 - 700 alligators live on Kiawah. Kiawah’s alligator population is allowed to fluctuate naturally and has remained stable over the last 10 years. It is safe to assume that there is at least one alligator, usually more, in every water body on the island.
What is a nuisance alligator?
A nuisance alligator is an individual alligator that has become a significant public safety risk. This typically occurs when an alligator has been fed and has lost its inherent fear of people. All reports of nuisance alligators are evaluated by island biologists. If the alligator meets the nuisance alligator criteria, it is captured and killed using "nuisance" tags issued by SCDNR. There is no other harvest or removal of alligators on Kiawah Island.
If an alligator approaches me while fishing or crabbing what should I do?
Use caution and remove your lines from the water. If an alligator is hooked on your line, cut the line immediately. Report the incident to the Town of Kiawah Island (843-768-9166) during normal business hours or to KICA Security (843-768-5566) at all other times.
Why are alligators important to Kiawah Island?
Alligators have been on earth for almost 100 million years and are a vital part of the delicate Kiawah Island ecosystem. Young alligators provide food for many species of birds and mammals, larger alligators help control populations of prey species, and abandoned “gator holes” or wallows provide critical freshwater habitat for countless species of animals. Their presence is an indicator of the health of the island’s lakes and ponds and the island itself.
Did you know KICA offers, at request only, the expertise of its irrigation technicians for basic backflow testing and repairs?
Backflow prevention devices are used to protect potable water supplies from contamination or pollution due to backflow. Kiawah Island Utility requires residential water systems be tested every two years to ensure that they are working properly.
Please note that this is a service offered on-demand by KICA. To receive a backflow inspection, you must contact KICA and schedule the service in advance.
Cost of Services
Request Backflow Certification Services
Email email@example.com or call 843-768-9194 to schedule an appointment. Services will be billed to your existing KICA member account and invoiced to you.
These updates are sent via email weekly and as needed to all property owners and provide news updates and event information for the coming week and beyond. Subscribe to these updates.
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