From The Blog

Message from the Chair: Navigating the Maze

The maze of K’s; who does what on Kiawah can be confusing. All of us probably have a document buried away somewhere explaining the responsibilities of the various island organizations. The latest version of that document, titled the Maze of K’s, is available on KICA’s website ( and the KICA mobile app (available for download on Android and Apple devices), so it can always be at your fingertips. The four major organizations on Kiawah are KICA, the Town of Kiawah Island (TOKI), Kiawah Partners (KP) and the Kiawah Island Golf Resort (KIGR). To give you a better idea of who does what, I thought it would be useful to provide a summary of each organization.

There are just over 4,000 residential property units on the island including villas and homes; approximately 640 of those are lots that have been sold but not yet built upon. KP has about 125 additional lots to be developed (excluding Cassique); most of those are located at Ocean Park. Based on an average of two people per household, KICA has over 8,000 individual members, about 15% of who are full-time residents. Villa, cottage and some single-family communities are additionally governed by individual regimes that are responsible for the maintenance and care of those building exteriors, parking areas and landscaping. Cassique is not part of KICA or the Town of Kiawah Island. However, as Kiawah Island Club members, Cassique owners are entitled to club access, and pay 50% of KICA’s per lot annual assessment.

KICA represents all of the island’s property owners. Key areas of responsibility include:
• Gate access
• Safety and security
• Infrastructure management
• Land and lakes management (including common
area landscaping and drainage)
• Member services and communications
• Strategic planning
• Common area landscaping
• Recreation, community groups and events, and
community outreach
• Facility management (Sandcastle Community Center;
Rhett’s Bluff Landing, Cinder Creek Pavilion, etc.)
• Community boardwalk and leisure trail management
• Enforcement of community standards and covenant compliance

KICA’s operations are principally funded through annual property owner and commercial assessments, buyer fees on real estate transactions and commercial pass fees.

TOKI provides services relating to:
• Public safety
• Street and drainage maintenance on Beachwalker and the Parkway from the Main Gate to the traffic circle
• Solid waste disposal, including recycling facilities
• Planning and zoning administration
• Municipal court administration
• Beach maintenance, re-nourishment, safety, trash receptacles and chair/umbrella rentals
• Wildlife management

Business license revenue, franchise fees, accommodation taxes, solid waste fees and other miscellaneous revenue fund the town’s operations. Unlike most municipalities in South Carolina, TOKI does not levy property taxes to its residents. Kiawah’s property taxes are levied by Charleston County. Freshfields Village, owned and operated by Northwood Investments and Retail, is within the town limits, as is the land where the new Municipal Center is being developed on Betsy Kerrison Parkway. They were annexed into the town’s corporate limits in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
KIGR owns and manages:

• The Sanctuary – a five-diamond, five-star resort hotel and villa rental program
• Four on-island golf courses and Oak Point off-island on Betsy Kerrison
• East and West beach tennis facilities
• Each Beach Conference Center
• The Straw Market
• The land where the old Kiawah Island Inn was located (behind the Straw Market)
• Night Heron Park and Nature Center

The resort operates the by-membership Governor’s Club, which provides property owners with enhanced access to resort facilities. As master developer, KP develops new communities like those at Ocean Park, The Settlement and the Preserve among others. Excluding Cassique, their largest remaining community underdevelopment is Ocean Park. Kiawah Island Utility, previously owned by KP, was sold this year to an independent utility operator. KP also owns and manages:

• Kiawah Island Real Estate
• The private Kiawah Island Club facilities (Cassique, the River Course, the Beach Club and the new Marsh House at Ocean Park)
• The Kiawah Architectural Review Board (ARB) Those are the highlights.

When in doubt, you can refer to the Maze of Ks document both on the web ( or on your mobile device, or call KICA 24/7 at 843-768-9194.

All the best,
Bruce Stemerman
Chair, KICA Board of Directors