By Andy Benke for The Island Eye News
Good afternoon island residents,
I trust everyone is enjoying the arrival of spring on the island. I have a few items of interest to pass along as the weekend approaches.
Colorado State University has been publishing storm forecasts since early 1990s. The University accurately predicted a very active 2020 season. While a precise 2021 forecast has yet to be published, an early January prediction using weather patterns and circulations has yielded a 25% probability of an above normal season that could net as many as 17 tropical storms, 11 hurricanes and up to five major hurricanes. Be sure to follow the predictions for this season in the local media.
Hurricane season begins on June 1 which is only 81 days away. It is never too early to begin work on your family hurricane plan. You may visit the Town website at www. sullivansisland.sc.gov or Charleston County charlestoncounty.org for disaster preparedness and models for a family hurricane plan.
Summer Life on Sullivan’s Island
The same warm weather which allows residents to enjoy the beach will also draw a large crowd from off Island for the day. Under normal circumstances, inbound traffic is known to back up as far as Moultrie Middle School on Coleman Boulevard during the morning beginning around 11a.m. and outbound traffic off the Island will back up beginning around 4 p.m. Factors that contribute to the congestion are sudden rain events, accidents and on the hour bridge openings for water traffic. This year those conditions are exacerbated by the Mount Pleasant Waterworks waterline construction on the northside of the Ben Sawyer Bridge where the speed limit has been lowered to 30 mph (and note that the speed limit has been vigorously enforced on the northside of the bridge in the past few weeks).
Always plan your trips off-Island with these factors in mind.
Dog Permits and Rules
Please remember to renew your dog permit for 2021.
Contact Rachel in Town Hall at 843-883-5743 or by email at rdownie@sullivansisland. sc.com for information or assistance while Town Hall is under controlled access in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Effective May 1 the beach hours for dogs will change as follows:
• 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. – dogs may be on the beach and off leash but under voice command
• 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. – dogs are not permitted on the beach
• 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. – dogs are permitted on the beach and must be leashed
At all times dogs must have the Town permit and rabies certificate displayed; owners are responsible to clean up dog waste; and, dogs should not be permitted to chase shorebirds or disturb shorebird or turtle nests
In 2019 the Town Council codified ordinances prohibiting single use plastic products and smoking on the beach. Alcohol continues to be prohibited on the beach.
Remember to exercise caution when entering the water in the following areas:
Station 12 west toward the harbor – note that passing cargo vessels create modest waves and suction when passing
Station 12 east to Palmetto Street – entering the water is prohibited in this area
The sandbar in the general area of Station 26 east to Station 30 – at times between flood slack and ebb slack water the current can move swiftly through this area
Station 32 east and north to the Thomson Bridge at Breach Inlet – entering the water is prohibited
Summer Household Garbage Collection
It is anticipated that the Town will shift to twice per week household collection during the first week of June. Please follow the website sullivansisland.sc.gov for further details.
If you plan to leave the Island for your summer vacation, be sure to contact the Police Department to place your property on “House Watch”. Chief Griffin can be reached by email at cgriffin@sullivansisland. sc.gov or Captain Wallace at Cwallace@sullivansisland.sc.gov for further details.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control continues to report that COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are still at high levels in South Carolina. DHEC advises the everyone continue to take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, washing hands frequently, get tested and get vaccinated when the opportunity is available. On whole, conditions are expected to improve dramatically by summer but the variant strains remain the unknown factor. Visit South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control www.scdhec.gov or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at cdc.gov for additional information.
While Governor McMaster has relaxed restrictions and recalled his state of emergency, on Sullivan’s Island the Mayor’s State of Emergency is still in effect with those requirements for social distancing and face covering. Please be guided accordingly.
Because of present conditions and future uncertainty, large events such as the traditional St. Patrick’s Day celebration, Sullivan’s Island Volunteer Fire and Rescue Oyster Roast, Farmers’ Market, Sullivan’s Island Volunteer Fire and Rescue Fish Fry, the Floppin’ Flounder and Independence Day fireworks in Stith Park (fireworks will move to the first Friday in December) have been cancelled (we do expect that the Independence Day Golf Cart Parade will occur).
Sullivan’s Island Town Hall is currently operating under controlled entry; however, it is expected that the Town Hall will be completely open as of 8 a.m. Thursday, March 18.
Restrictions on beach fires and beach weddings have been rescinded.
Capital Project Update
Wastewater Treatment Plant –
The much needed upgrade to the 1969 wastewater treatment facility is progressing nicely. Most of the major operational components have been installed and Dominion Energy brought power to the plant this week. This project should reach substantial completion by June 2021.
Lift Station Upgrade Project –
The lift station upgrade has been moving along since commencement.
As this work is located very near homes, every effort has been made by the project team to protect the quiet repose and comfort of the neighborhood. Work has occurred at all five lift stations to date and continues to progress. This project should reach substantial completion by early August.
Fire Station and Storage Facility
As the project is to be delivered under the CM@Risk method, Town Council, staff and the design/ construction team continue to work through the process to obtain a guaranteed maximum price. It is anticipated that final design will be submitted for approval at the May 18t meeting of Council. The project is a complete refurbishment of the fire station to meet the needs of present day staffing. The operation has been relocated to Hennessy Street at the Fish Fry Shack while construction is underway.
Special shout out and word of appreciation to the Volunteer Fire and Rescue personnel for assisting and funding the upgrades to the Fish Fry Shack to safely house the fire apparatus and rescue equipment during the construction period. Please consider a donation to the Volunteers as their two main fund raising events have been cancelled in response to COVID.
The Volunteers fund all of the water rescue equipment used by the Town.
Ben Sawyer Intracoastal Waterway Water Main Connection Project –
A project by Charleston Water System and Mount Pleasant Waterworks which will bring more reliable and sustainable water to Mount Pleasant by connecting the CWS watermain on Sullivan’s Island to a Mount Pleasant Waterworks watermain near Toler’s Cove Marina. The project is expected to reach substantial completion in June.
For additional information or to view the construction documents for the Town projects contact Benke at email@example.com.
Sorry for the lengthy message but hope you find the information helpful.
Enjoy your weekend.