From The Blog

Architectural Review Board

The general covenants recorded in 1976 by the Kiawah Island Company established an Architectural Review Board with authority to review construction plans from an aesthetic viewpoint. While contractors had the responsibility for construction methods and design, final decisions about the appearance of buildings on Kiawah Island rested with the ARB. When the present developer, Kiawah Development Partners (KDP) purchased Kiawah, this ARB structure was maintained.

The standards and guidelines for the ARB were designed after those of the Sea Pines Plantation Development in Hilton Head, South Carolina. When KDP purchased Kiawah in 1988, the review board was kept intact along with the basic guidelines. These guidelines have been updated and clarified as new issues presented themselves over the past thirty years.

The ARB’s goal has always been to maintain the natural beauty of the island by using colors that are harmonious with the natural context that surrounds us. All new development plans and renovation projects must conform to these evolving guidelines. “There is a heavy focus on maintaining an aesthetically pleasing and natural environment,” says Amanda Mole, ARB Manager and architect. The Architectural Review Board meets twice monthly to discuss various construction and landscaping issues which make up the agenda. Amanda says: “These meetings generally run five to six hours each and the agenda averages 20 items for discussion at every meeting.” The board members are Roy Smith, outside architect serving as Chair; Amanda Mole; Jennifer Hayes, Landscape Coordinator; Mark Permar, outside architect; Jane Maybank, outside architect; Spencer Nash, KDP landscape architect; Lois Bryant, present KICA member; and Hal Fallon, present KICA Director. Amanda, Jennifer, Mark and Spencer are permanent members of the board while Roy, Jane and Lois rotate off the board after a three-year period. The KICA Property Owner Director is a non-voting member of the board.

“The ARB strives to be consistent with the guidelines yet does give consideration to specific issues that may be presented by a property owner,” says Amanda. Members may ask the ARB to address an issue by requesting an appointment to discuss their concerns and by requesting formal agenda review. Some of the questions that may come before the review board concern house colors, pruning to open viewing corridors, and contractor activities. Fines are often assessed when removal of trees and extreme pruning of shrubs go against the established guidelines. There have been occasions when the ARB has banned a contractor from the island due to continual disregard of the regulations.

The ARB works closely with the KICA Covenant Compliance Committee regarding grounds and property maintenance, members’ responsibility for keeping their properties well maintained, and the contractors’ responsibility for keeping a development site clear of debris and of not causing damage to KICA common property (e.g., the rights-of-way). When asked for a comment regarding the recent “modular” home which was delivered to the island, Amanda responded, “We do not dictate construction methods. This is the responsibility of the contractor. They must abide by the rules of the Department of Transportation, the Town and KICA security when delivering previously constructed sections.” While there were varying opinions on the modular housing method, the delivery of seven previously built sections included seven flatbed trucks arriving on the island over a day and a half, as opposed to daily trips by carpenters, electricians, and other craftsmen over a period of many months to construct a house from scratch. General on-site construction takes more time and more trucks, but has been the norm and, therefore, not as controversial. Will there be more modular housing built here? This decision is in the hands of the members who will be building and the contractors. It does not conflict with the guidelines as established under the general covenants and is, therefore, not an ARB issue.

The Architectural Review Board has a one-page information website at http://www., which provides hours of operation, location and phone number. (The direct link will be They have been working on an expanded website which will include standards and guidelines, staff and board member profiles, upcoming meeting agendas and related information. The ARB hopes the improved site will be up and running by the end of the summer. While each member is given the guidelines when they purchase property on the island, these will also be listed on the website for easy reference.

While the covenants state that the ARB will ultimately be under the control of the Kiawah Island Community Association, Amanda states that the “ARB will most likely remain under the control of the developer until all KDP property is sold to a third party.” Discussions are underway to have KICA assume responsibility for review of renovations.