Barb Gobien has lived on Isle of Palms since 1980. After completing a degree in Radiological Technology at the University of Rochester, she worked as a staff Technologist at Strong Memorial University Hospital for 10 years. She and her husband, Rolf, moved to South Carolina in 1979. On their arrival, Barb became an RT Supervisor at the Medical University of South Carolina Department of Radiology. She resigned this position in 1984 after the birth of her second child. In 1988, Barb and her mom, Joyce, opened Island Cards & Gifts on the Isle of Palms. It became a destination for many residents and returning tourists. In 2003, after the passing of her mom and for business reasons, the store was relocated to Towne Centre in Mount Pleasant, where it operates to this day under the name Sand Dollar Gift Gallery.
Barb has two children, Jeremy, who will earn his PhD this December in Material Science Engineering from NC State University, and Jacqueline, who has her BS in Biology from NC State and is currently enrolled in the Physician’s Assistant program of Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC. In addition to raising two children and running a business, Barb is heavily involved in the activities of the SC Aquarium and its Turtle Hospital. She is also a member of the IOP – Sullivan’s Island Turtle Team.
Through personal observation by living on IOP for almost 30 years, and through listening to innumerable residents in the course of her business both here and now in Mount Pleasant, Barb has observed many unsolved problems and disturbing changes:
1. The increasing transition of family neighborhoods into rental areas.
2. Oversize homes, mini hotels, are popping up in residential neighborhoods.
3. The numbers of day visitors enjoying our beautiful island continues to rise.
4. The cost of services provided for this is borne by the residents through taxes.
5. Parking problems spreading beyond the downtown district and County Park.
6. Increase percentage of rental homes over the entire island.
7. The only growth business on the island is real estate and rental.
8. Persistent widespread drainage issues.
1. Presently, a 7,000 sq. ft. rental house can have up to 28 occupants.
2. Wild Dunes continues to build large rental units which impact the traffic issue.
3. Neighborhoods going from full-time residents and families to part-time residents and rental homes.
5. City governance has been too concerned with those who view the island in terms of return on investment.
4. Livability issues have taken a back seat.
5. We may be reaching a point of no return in this trend, and IOP will turn into another Myrtle Beach or Atlantic City.
Barb Gobien believes that the knowledge she has gained through her training and business experience can be put to work for the residents of this island to maintain or reclaim their family-oriented neighborhoods and to ensure the future quality of life. Managed and thoughtful growth and development is essential in this process. “Let’s keep IOP a family island.”