From The Blog

A Report from the Board Planning Retreat

Dear members,

The Kiawah Island Community Association’s board met for a planning retreat on May 13 to discuss key priorities for 2021. We focused our discussion in two areas:

●     First, near-term projects that can be implemented this year.
●     Second, activities with long-term impact on the community, which contain key deliverables to be executed this year.

The following is a summary of the output in each category. An important part of each activity will be the economic analysis of the project so that we can determine the feasibility and timing of projects. We have also assigned leadership roles, as appropriate.


The first major project for the year is setting consistent quality standards for several key areas of infrastructure maintenance: roads, common-area landscape and boardwalks. The full board has been involved in this effort.

Standards for roads have been defined, resulting in the board’s endeavor to bring all of our roads up to the engineering study rating of “good” quality. The cost of resurfacing the roads that don’t meet this proposed minimum standard and a completion timeline is being outlined by staff. This will be provided to the Finance Committee for review and input. From there, the committee will make a recommendation to the board on how to proceed.

The second area is a standard for landscape maintenance. We have four sites where we are implementing enhanced maintenance this summer, and we will conduct before-and-after assessments of the work. Furthermore, the upgraded landscaping for the PGA offers comparisons to what is possible if it is so desired by the community. These efforts will be evaluated and will inform a standard definition for KICA’s landscape maintenance. The definition is anticipated to be solidified this fall.

The last infrastructure project for the year is enhancing boardwalk maintenance. We have planned to invest in dedicated labor this summer to ensure sand is appropriately cleaned from the base of the boardwalks and that minor maintenance can be handled swiftly. This item is still pending, due to the current labor shortage in the area.

Along with infrastructure maintenance standards, several other near-term projects were identified. There was substantial discussion of enforcement of KICA rules at the retreat. Jerry McGee, David DeStefano and director of Security Tony Elder will take the lead on this project. This topic will likely be broken into two efforts:

Education: The group will work on plans to communicate with transient populations as they come on to the island. We will need to set up a monitoring system so the group can obtain feedback.

Coordination: The second area of focus will be looking at the coordination of resources among the town, resort and KICA. This includes an analysis of the gaps in enforcement capabilities of each entity. The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) and Town Code Enforcement can’t enforce KICA rules (e.g., prohibited cycling on Governor’s Drive). Conversely, KICA security doesn’t have the enforcement powers of the Sheriff’s Office. The group will work with the standing Town of Kiawah Island Security Committee that includes KICA’s director of security, CCSO, St. John’s Fire Department and resort security.

Another focus of the board will be to improve our response time to inquiries by community members to [email protected]. Sandy Devine and Jerry McGee will lead this effort. The goal will be to have feedback to community members within 48 hours of submission, with assistance from interim COO Shannon White. The COO will respond to operational questions, with the vice-chair and secretary responding to other inquiries and member inputs. A strategy is being developed to track feedback and use automation to capture and report member inputs, where possible.

The people on our KICA team are always at the top of mind. The HR Committee with director of Human Resources Sarah Bond, director Beth Zampino and myself (Dave Morley) will lead this effort. In our post-pandemic world, attracting, retaining and compensating employees is a significant challenge. Additionally, we would like to look at skills assessments, succession planning, diversity and inclusion, and work environment. We will consider the steps to achieve “best place to work” recognition for recruiting purposes.

Lastly, in near-term projects, we will create a Sandcastle User Task Force. The goal is to create a customer input mechanism. This will be chaired by Aaron James, our new director of Recreation. Potential topics for the group will include things like the reservation system, program offerings, the inclusion of 18-year-olds versus 21-year-olds at the Oceanview Pool and general standards for the Sandcastle. Shannon and Aaron will develop a charter for the group.


Traffic has a major impact on the quality of life on Kiawah. Decisions made by surrounding communities, as well as local development plans are big drivers of future traffic. Gaye Stathis and Brad McIlvain will coordinate with Town Councilman Dan Prickett to monitor, understand and communicate activities around us that impact all our members. Examples of areas of focus will be:

●     Maybank Highway/Betsy Kerrison Road improvement plans
●     Charleston County zoning changes
●     Construction of the senior living facility and MUSC emergency facility
●     Construction of the Cape on Kiawah
●     Possible Harris Teeter relocation/expansion

Most of these activities are not within KICA’s purview, however, the group will inform us of key decisions so that community input can be provided. They will also look into communicating key times when we should be aware of traffic issues due to things like construction timelines.

Amenities are an important part of the experience of Kiawah Island. Ensuring the long-term competitiveness of amenities, as well as and securing appropriate funding sources, are critical as we move forward. David DeStefano and myself (Dave Morley) will lead a task force to study this issue, to be supported by Aaron James, director of Recreation. We will look for broad representation across the island to participate in an Amenities Task Force. The leaders will develop and publish a charter for the group and then ask for applicants. The board will vote on the final membership.

The environment is on everyone’s mind today. KICA has agreed to work with the town, resort and Kiawah Conservancy to lower the carbon footprint for the island. This group will be chaired by Scott Parker of Town Council, and will have representation from director Brad McIlvain with support from Lucas Hernandez, resilience specialist. The goal for 2021 is to develop a multi-year plan to reduce our carbon footprint. Ideally, we will be able to measure our carbon footprint and set measurable reduction goals.

Lastly, but importantly, we will look at our governance structure. We have some old governing documents that may not reflect our current needs and need to be updated. Additionally, the Partner’s development agreement expires in 2023 (with an option to extend to 2026 if both parties agree). We need to be prepared for that eventuality. Sandy Devine and Brad McIlvain will lead an effort to review existing documents, translate them for general understanding, identify gaps or modifications and identify a pathway forward.

This summarizes the KICA board’s discussion and planning from the May retreat. Along with updates as each of these projects and efforts progress, we plan to circle back at the end of the year or beginning of 2021 to report on these strategic initiatives as a whole. Although we’ve got our work cut out for us this year, we’re excited that these projects will build a foundational structure that will serve the association and the membership for years to come. We look forward to discussing these initiatives at our next board/community discussion session on June 7.

Dave Morley
KICA Board Chair