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May

20

2021

From The Blog

Preserve Neighborhood Landscape Standard Vote

The Preserve neighborhood and its road rights-of-way landscaping was developed in a different way than typical neighborhoods maintained by the Kiawah Island Community Association (KICA). The landscape standard in the Preserve requires additional landscaping services compared with a typical neighborhood that KICA maintains. Beginning in 2019,  Preserve property owners received an increased annual segment assessment to cover these services. The KICA Board of Directors is requesting a vote of Preserve property owners to determine if the neighborhood would prefer to maintain the current additional landscaping services and correlating annual segment assessment, or if the neighborhood would prefer to change the standard of landscape to that of a typical Kiawah neighborhood, which would significantly reduce the annual segment assessment. 

Kiawah Standard vs. Preserve Neighborhood Standard

Through the years, the master developer constructed and then deeded to KICA most of the road rights-of-way on the island.  Generally, in a residential neighborhood, a road right-of-way is 50’ in width, with an approximately 22’ wide asphalt roadway located within that road right-of-way. This leaves approximately 8-15 feet of land bordering the asphalt roadway. Cul-de-sacs, medians and neighborhood entrances are also located within these road rights-of-way. 

Although primarily owned by the association, there are numerous entities and/or individuals involved in the care of road rights-of-way, to include the developer, the Kiawah Island Golf Resort, the Town of Kiawah Island, KICA, regimes and individual KICA members. There are 31 regime neighborhoods located on Kiawah Island. These include Summer Islands, Ocean Oaks, Ocean Green, Terrapin Island, The Settlement & Indigo Park. Each regime has its own homeowners association, with a board of directors and professional management (separate from KICA). In many cases, regimes opt to increase landscaping services within their neighborhood, including on KICA-owned road rights-of-way.  These increased landscaping services are paid for by the members living within these neighborhoods. 

On spine or parkway roadways, like Kiawah Island Parkway, Governors Drive & Ocean Course Drive, members will observe that KICA maintains a higher landscaping standard, as previous boards have considered these roadways as the “front door” or entrance to the various neighborhoods across Kiawah Island. 

In a typical residential neighborhood, where KICA provides landscaping services, community members owning developed lots are encouraged to “adopt” the road right-of-way in front of their home to the edge of the roadway asphalt. If the right-of-way is “adopted” by the member, it is incorporated into their landscape plan and the member pays for any landscape, irrigation and maintenance. If the right-of-way is not adopted, KICA maintains it at the typical “Kiawah standard,” allowing natural growth with no irrigation, regular mowing, and any damage is repaired with hydroseeding, as opposed to sodding. In front of undeveloped lot areas or areas without homesites, a similar standard is maintained without irrigation and permitting natural growth in areas.  

The Preserve neighborhood differs from this typical “Kiawah standard” as many of the road rights-of-way are irrigated and sodded with St. Augustine grass, which requires chemical treatments. Damaged grass is repaired with new sod rather than hydroseeding. Pine straw is installed annually.

The KICA board is seeking the input of current Preserve members in determining the path forward by offering two landscape maintenance options.

OPTION 1

Maintain the Current Landscape Standard in the Preserve with the Additional Landscaping Services

If the Preserve neighborhood votes to maintain the current landscape standard, with many irrigated road rights-of-way, sod and pine straw, the current annual segment assessment would be maintained. KICA would retain responsibility for care of all the road rights-of-way throughout the Preserve neighborhood.

The annual segment assessment (2021 rates: $1,302 per improved/developed property or $651 per unimproved/lot property) that correlates with tracked costs of maintenance would remain in place. The primary drivers of these expenses in 2020 were labor expenses for KICA’s landscape contractor, the Greenery (32%); water costs for irrigation (30%); and annual replenishment of pine straw (26%). The total collected for the segment assessment in 2020 accounted for $174,143 of the $181,855 incurred expenses for additional landscaping services in the Preserve neighborhood. 

OPTION 2

Make a Change in the Landscape Standard in the Preserve, Eliminating the Additional Landscaping Services

If the Preserve neighborhood votes to change the landscape maintenance standard to that of a typical Kiawah neighborhood, KICA would turn off road rights-of-way irrigation throughout the Preserve, with the exception of irrigation that directly supports the neighborhood entrance, medians and cul-de-sacs. Grass would be permitted to return to natural growth (with regular mowing), would not be chemically treated, and would be repaired with hydroseed rather than sod. Annual pine straw application would be discontinued to all areas except the entrance, median and cul-de-sacs. If this option is selected, KICA would develop a reasonable transition timeline.

Preserve owners with developed properties would be able to “adopt” the rights-of-way in front of their home into their landscape plan. They would be permitted to extend their irrigation systems into this area and assume the maintenance and expenses for the road right-of-way. They would also be able to discuss potential changes in the road right-of-way landscaping, in front of their homes, with the Architectural Review Board. For members of developed properties who do not choose to “adopt” the road right-of-way, it would be maintained by KICA without irrigation and permitting natural growth.

A change in the Preserve fence is not a part of this vote.  The annual segment assessment would be substantially lowered to cover the cost of maintaining the Preserve’s fencing only. An estimate to maintain $14,000 in fence expenses annually, with the current property mix, would equate to approximately $104 per improved property (residence) and $52 per unimproved property (lot).

More In-Depth Information

To fully understand this topic prior to voting, please review the following provided resources before making your decision. The two neighborhood Town Hall meetings began with a presentation to outline the voting options, and include questions and comments by your neighbors.

Preserve Vote Overview Presentation – Standards, Financials & Voting Details – View PDF

Town Hall Meeting 1 with Q&A Session – May 7 – Watch Recording

Town Hall Meeting 2 with Q&A Session – May 12 –  Watch Recording

Voting

Vote: Open May 24 – June 22

Each property in the Preserve neighborhood is allocated a number of base votes (two for an improved property and one for an unimproved property, the same allocation as all KICA votes).  Members will be asked to cast an online ballot between May 24 and June 22 to participate in this vote. The primary contact of each managing household will be emailed the voting information and the ballot on May 24, unless no email address is on file, in which case the voting information will be mailed to the primary contact.

51% of Preserve properties (managing households) must participate in order for the landscape standard to be changed.

For assistance casting your online ballot, contact [email protected].