By Mimi Wood, Island Eye News Staff Writer
July’s IOP City Council Meeting opened with a twist; by closing an Executive Meeting that convened immediately preceding it.
A vote was taken on a resolution arising from that closed session prior to the Call to Order of the regular monthly meeting. Passing unanimously, the Council voted to “authorize legal expenditures relative to inventory of roads up to $20,000.” This resolution has arisen as a result of some yet to be disclosed litigation concerning the city and a group identified as “The Beach Owners Property Association, Inc.”
The regular monthly meeting of the IOP City Council was then called to order. After formalities, Mayor Dick Cronin presented a Trophy Cup, rivaling the size of the Stanley Cup, awarded to IOP by the Municipal Association of South Carolina in recognition of the island’s “superior performance in improving quality of life,” referencing none other than the Recreation Department’s Doggie Days, held earlier this year.
The first order of business was the latest iteration of the IOP Marina Redevelopment Plan, presented by Kirby Marshall, of ATM. Diligently working between the city, citizens and Marina tenants, Marshall presented schematics which appear to appease all parties.
Highlights include: no dry stack, compartmentalization of boat trailer traffic, and utilization of the existing boat ramp. The Marina Market will remain intact; however parking and traffic flow will be segregated from the commercial enterprises.
A pedestrian boardwalk is proposed for the perimeter of the property, providing contiguous access to all Marina businesses, including a proposed pedestrian bridge over the boat ramp, which may prove to be a source of entertainment for non-boaters.
Green park space along the water’s edge, along with a dedicated City Dock, and a public kayak launch are proposed additions.
Parking for 159 cars, down two spaces from the existing 161, will be vastly improved. Additionally, 53 spaces are proposed for golf carts. Boat trailer parking will increase by 14 spaces, from 44 currently to 58. These additional spaces should relieve trailer parking on 41st, and on Waterway. These additional spaces come at the expense of some upland boat storage.
Earliest anticipated start date for the redevelopment won’t be until 2018; the City is hoping to offset a portion of the expense by applying for, and hopefully receiving, some grant money through the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Said award will not be announced until March, 2017, when the cost of the project will be presented.
With further tweaking still to be completed, a site forum is tentatively planned for this autumn, at which time citizens would be invited to walk the site, and envision the proposed changes in situ.
Mayor Dick Cronin reported from the Ways and Means Committee that the preliminary, unaudited revenue statements for FY15 appear to be within 1 percent of budget; and expenditures within 98 percent. All good news.
A motion amending the contract with the beach trash removal service, to increase beach garbage removal to 7 days per week, in season, passed.
Additionally, a motion awarding a contract to Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson, to evaluate problems, and make recommendations, associated with the bulkhead at the Marina passed.
Federal funding of beach restoration has been delayed, as the site for the proposed work turns out to be the ‘final resting place’ of Stone Fleet # 2, a fleet of old whaling vessels, purposefully sunk by the Union in an attempt to cut off supplies to and from Charleston during The War between the States. Costs to move these historic ships is being evaluated.
Most standing committees did not meet in July, those that did filed abbreviated reports. Jimmy Ward reported the exciting news from Public Works that within 45 days, the island should have a golf cart path from 20th Avenue to the Island Center. Jimmy Carroll updated everyone on the various summer activities and fall registrations under the auspices of The Rec. The Personnel Committee posted an opening in for the newly created position of Payroll and Human Resources Officer.
There was a bit of a discussion regarding a Special Exception approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals; the addition of an Airstream camper at The Boathouse Restaurant, at Breach Inlet.
Jimmy Ward noted that now, as ever, (even during the Hugo Reconstruction) mobile homes and food trucks are prohibited on the island.
Barb Bergwerf recounted the minutes from the Real Property Committee, the most noteworthy of which includes: an ongoing discussion regarding the ditch adjacent to the Marina at 41st Street…to fill or not to fill, that is the question. Shifting parking for Marina employees to The Rec, and possibly the municipal lot was discussed, which would require a shuttle for said employees. Beach access is slated to be improved at the Sea Cabins, 21st Avenue, 31st (A) Avenue, and 42nd Avenue. The contract for a handicapped parking space at 42nd Avenue has been executed.
As the meeting concluded, a resolution was passed, approving the FY 2017 Budget for CARTA, the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority. As a member of CARTA, the city is required by state law to approve its annual budget.