From The Blog
2023 Flood Mitigation Special Assessment and Project Updates
In the spring of 2020, Kiawah Island Community Association (KICA) members voted to approve a Flood Mitigation Special Assessment to fund six infrastructure improvement projects that reduce flooding susceptibility on Kiawah’s main roads to keep them passable in many heavy rainfall scenarios. These strategic safeguards required a five-year special assessment of $130 per improved property and $65 per unimproved property, which is billed annually in June through 2024.
The 2023 special assessment will be charged to your KICA member account on June 5. Notices will be emailed to the primary contact of your household. Payment is due by July 5, 2023. To pay this assessment, login and visit the Billing and Payment tab of your member account. (If you purchased your property after May 1, 2020, the balance of the 5-year special assessment should have been paid in full by the previous owner at closing.)
If you have questions about your statement or need assistance making a payment, contact KICA’s accounting department at [email protected] (preferred) or 843-768-9194.
DID YOU KNOW?…
The final special assessment payment will be collected in 2024. If you’d like to knock out your final 2024 special assessment payment with your 2023 payment, contact [email protected] (preferred) or call 843-768-9194. KICA’s accounting team will add the second charge to your account, so you don’t have anything left to pay next year.
On Kiawah, infrastructure is typically built by the developer and conveyed to the community association to maintain in perpetuity. So KICA has funding to maintain infrastructure, but has no funding structure for building new infrastructure, like drainage. This is the reason these projects required a vote of the membership and a special assessment.
KICA’s Flood Mitigation Efforts
Water is one of Kiawah’s greatest assets – the ocean, marsh, river and ponds. The island’s natural abundance is a big reason why people are drawn to the island and why they stay, but living with water requires careful stewardship.
In 2019, KICA established the Water Management Task Force to evaluate and refine KICA’s approach to stormwater management, and determine a comprehensive solution to address Kiawah’s commonly recurring flooding issues.
As the first step to any short or long-term flood mitigation efforts, international water resilience experts encourage communities to focus on water removal through drainage optimization. The task force determined that six strategic infrastructure improvement projects would optimize Kiawah’s drainage system, allowing water to more efficiently exit the system. This would eliminate hazardous flooding in significant portions of the island during many heavy rainfall events and position Kiawah to recover more quickly from storm surge.
Before the infrastructure improvements, a severe rainfall at high tide could flood Kiawah’s main roads, limiting access to and from the island. Statistically, this happens annually and it’s a public safety issue. In the same rainfall scenario, with improvements to Kiawah’s infrastructure, main roads remain open to traffic and hazardous flooding on common property throughout many neighborhoods is resolved.
The new infrastructure was developed by Stantec, an international engineering firm that has a successful history working with the association. The projects were selected because they each solve an existing detrimental flooding issue, and they work in tandem to relieve the drainage system and maximize efficiency.
In two independent digital hydrologic models of Kiawah Island, simulations confirm that the new infrastructure successfully eliminates hazardous flood waters, in the scenario of the highest average annual rainfall at an average high tide, with no unintended water displacement or erosion issues. Now that several of the projects are complete, two tropical storms and a hurricane have also confirmed their effectiveness.
These strategic improvements communicate that Kiawah is a proactive barrier island community that safeguards property values by implementing strong flood mitigation practices. In the short and long-term, property values on Kiawah will be strengthened with this new infrastructure.
Projects and Status Updates
Five of the six infrastructure projects are now complete. The final project is expected to be competed by the end of 2023. Learn about each of the six infrastructure improvement projects here.