From The Blog

Land Trade Vote Benefits KICA, Kiawah Conservancy

The recently proposed land trade between KICA and Kiawah Partners (KP) would secure land for KICA’s daily operations while preserving more of the island’s natural environment. This land trade requires a vote of the membership.

In December 1995, KP deeded to KICA the 10-mile stretch of beach from the dunes to the mean high water line, in accordance with the terms of the development agreement. Included in the transfer was a4.6-acre section of property (pictured above) near Beachwalker Park(2.9 acres of which is seaward of the state determined baseline, and not developable). Years after the conveyance, KP informed KICA that it had transferred the property in error, as it was a small part of a much larger conveyance. KP requested that KICA issue a corrective deed and transfer the property back to KP. The KICA board concluded that regardless of whether it had been conveyed in error, the property had been properly conveyed as common property. By covenant, common property cannot be sold or transferred without the affirmative vote of 75% of the votes cast by association members. KP sought judicial reformation of the deed; to date, the courts have ruled in favor of KICA’s position. The appeals court recently heard the case again and a decision is pending.

KICA and KP have been discussing the possibility of a land trade to settle this issue for some time. The two entities have recently come to an agreement on a proposal which has been submitted to the membership for vote. Information and ballots were mailed to primary members on Aug. 14.

Details of the Agreement
Despite the parcel being oceanfront, it has very little value to KICA, or to anyone other than KP, for two reasons. First, there is no access to the property other than from the beach, as it is surrounded by property owned by KP. And, through legally binding development agreements, KP is the only entity that has the right to develop the property. Below is a summary of property KICA and the conservancy would receive. For details about the benefits of the exchange, visual exhibits of land locations, an FAQ on the proposal and more, please visit

KICA Operations
KP will transfer several parcels of land to KICA in exchange for the 4.6 acres near Beachwalker Park. These properties include:
• Additional land for parking at its 23 Beachwalker Drive administration building, which will now house many of the community group meetings, relieving crowded conditions at the Sandcastle,
• Additional land for future expansion of the member beach parking near existing Ocean Course Drive beach parking,
• Maintenance parcel currently leased from KP for equipment and other storage as well as a greenhouse for landscaping, and
• Equipment storage rights in Ocean Park.

Kiawah Conservancy Habitat Preservation
In addition to transferring these operational properties to KICA, KP has agreed to other actions that will help to preserve
natural habitat for 15 different wildlife species. KP would grant
to the Kiawah Conservancy:
• Conservation easements on approximately 700 acres of marshland stretching from the Kiawah Island Parkway bridge all the way to Rhett’s Bluff (pictured above).
• Conservation easements on two parcels on the left side of the parkway, between the bridge and the main security gate, preserving the entrance to the island. Currently, KP has development rights and zoning to build up to 25 units on these parcels.
• Transfer of a 7.7-acre island off of Bass Creek.

If the members vote in favor of this land trade, KP has agreed to several other items with the conservancy that will provide long-term benefits to the island and to all property owners.
• KP will grant the conservancy a favorable purchase option on a 6.2-acre parcel directly across from Kiawah Island Real Estate that presently has zoning and development rights for 19 units.
• KP will not act on its OCRM permit request to relocate sand from its west end development site to the beach, an act some members are uncomfortable with.

Combined, these efforts will permanently protect 18.87 acres of developable parcels which are zoned for a combined 44 units.

Deed Transfer
In exchange for the above, KICA will deed back to KP the4.6-gross-acre property. As part of this transfer, KICA will place a deed restriction on the property that is designed to prevent any portion of the 4.6 acres being used for an access road for the development of Captain Sam’s Spit. This parcel is not needed for Captain Sam’s access, but the KICA board understands the community’s feelings about Captain Sam’s and would not support this deal if it enhanced the possibility of development there.

Construction, if any, on the 1.7 acres of developable property would be incorporated into the surrounding property, which is already approved for development that will occur in the immediate area whether this trade moves forward or not.

Voting Information
KICA, along with the conservancy, believes this is a very good deal for the community. In order for the parcel exchange to be approved, at least 75% of the total votes cast at a duly called meeting must vote in favor of the transfer. In order to be counted, ballots must be received by (KICA’s third-party balloting firm) no later than 5 p.m. on Sept. 13.

Voting can be completed by return paper ballot, telephone, or online at, using the code printed on your ballot. The special meeting will be held on Friday, Sept. 22 at 3 the Sandcastle ballroom, located at 1 Shipwatch Road. In person or proxy votes will be accepted at this meeting, as long as no previous vote has been cast.

If you have any questions regarding the proposal or vote, contact KICA at [email protected] or 843-768-9194. Additional information regarding the details of the agreement can be viewed at