From The Blog

KICA Updates Boardwalk Policy for High Density Areas

Over the last several months, KICA and others have been busy working to restore beach access. We know that the beach consistently ranks as the top amenity the island offers, and with the spring and summer approaching, people are anxious to see this work completed. In addition, we’ve received considerable feedback from the community on the policies that guide our decisions with respect to the types of boardwalks we build, particularly as it relates to stairs vs. ramps. As a result, we’ve revised our policy to designate high density areas as locations where exceptions may be made to accommodate ramps.

Due to 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), which ensures its 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 DHECC-OCRM).

Current Status
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.
• At time of publication, KICA has completed construction on boardwalks 8A, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16.
• KICA has received approvals on 7, 10, 29, 31 and 33 and is proceeding to contract shortly.
• Other association boardwalks remain in design. KICA has been and will continue to send weekly updates on its boardwalk repairs in the email news updates sent to members each week (if you are not signed up to receive these updates but would like to be, contact [email protected]).

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 has necessitated the use of steps as a repair solution in many locations.

We are not permitted, under normal regulations, to run aboard walk parallel to the shore and dune line, and must seek an exception for this type of construction. Our preference is to build shore perpendicular ramps 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 is our applying for ramps at boardwalks 8B, 22 and 27. These are high density areas and we believe exceptions are warranted.

For more information and updates on boardwalk construction, as well as a map of the high-density boardwalks that are receiving ramps, visit