By Gregg Bragg for Island Eye News
Mayor Jimmy Carroll opened the July 23 Isle of Palms City Council meeting saying, “This is a tough one, here. Isle of Palms city clerk, Marie Copeland, her last time at bat calling the roll. She’s given us twelve years of service here on Isle of Palms, and we cannot thank her enough. She has to put up with all this… So anyway, let’s give her a big round of applause.”
“If I could take a minute, I would like to tell y’all it’s been a pleasure,” said Copeland. “I don’t know how many council members… I haven’t tried to count up how many I’ve worked with, and three mayors. You have all been wonderful; you’ve been very kind, and very thoughtful. And at times a little bit difficult, but it has been an honor and a pleasure and I do thank you.”
Mayor Carroll continued the meeting by addressing an emergency call the city’s fire and police responded to the prior night. “Last night we had an emergency call for a four month old baby in cardiac arrest. They were there to save that baby, and the baby is alive with us today. So again a big [round] of applause…,” said Carroll. It was difficult to hear the rest because the room, full of attendees, erupted into a raucous standing ovation. The applause-a-palooza didn’t end there either, as the mayor moved to welcome a parade of new employees to the IOP family.
Next, the mayor administered the Oath of Office to William “Liam” Farrell – fire department, Andrea Harrison – recreation department, Tharin Hamilton will be the newest CDL driver for public works, and Joshua Anderson, Dylan Graham, and Christopher Sanders were added as patrol officers in the police department.
Approving three sets of meeting minutes rounded out parliamentary actions.
Mayor Carroll next opened citizens’ comments by saying council was trying to be proactive and get the word out about Dominion Energy’s planned tree trimming, coming soon to a neighborhood near you. He then introduced a contingent from Dominion Energy (DE). Bill Turner, vice president of electric operations, and Clay Chaplin, a forester and arborist with DE, each took a turn at the microphone.
Turner said safety was the driving force behind the tree trimming. He defined safety as both power outages from fallen trees, and the potential for fires precipitated by the interplay of limbs and electricity. Turner cited a number of statistics DE is constantly trying to improve, and suggested they couldn’t combat threats to energy supplies without the trimming. Turner then stepped aside for Chaplin’s overview.
Chaplin hop-scotched through a presentation, which ultimately conveyed DE’s adherence to ISA best practices/ANSI-300 standards.
The technical terms mean DE will be trimming 10’ on every side, 20’ above the lines, and 10’ below.
Post cards and emails alerting residents to the work in their specific neighborhoods will be sent to residents. The communiques will include contact information, and people are encouraged to get in touch with DE with any questions/concerns when their turn comes. However, given the number of complaints received by Island Eye News following some of DE’s work on Sullivan’s Island, residents may want to contact DE prior to trimming in advance of receiving notification by calling 1.800.251.7234.
Katrina Limbock, an IOP resident and local business owner, said her contribution to citizens’ comments was about “talking trash,” to council. Appreciative chuckles followed as she proposed the “Put A Lid On It” campaign to council members. She wowed council with a prop for show-and-tell; a covered trash can she claimed is compatible with the load capacity of IOP’s trash collection vehicles, while being heavy enough it won’t blow over in a gale. “Yeah, I know, it’s my pride and joy,” said Limbock, laughing along with council and attendees alike.
Limbock also addressed the prohibitive $350 per can cost in two ways. She contacted the vendor and got the price down to $280 a can, and added some detail to her “Put A Lid On It” campaign. Use social media, where complaints about trash on the beach flourish, to solicit donations from area businesses, as well as residents. She dropped the mic to applause.
Tidal Wave Water Sports co-owner Michael Fiem opened his remarks by saying “…this [iteration] of council was the most responsive they had ever worked with.” He thanked council for consistently reaching out and listening to them, as he leafed through a prolonged, prepared presentation. His company is in trouble and he thinks council’s decisions to not renew the lease is partially responsible.
An accident to one of their boats in early July necessitated $72,000 in repair costs.
Tidal Wave paid the costs out of operating funds they can’t be without, Fiem said.
According to Fiem the company was subsequently denied loans by several long term banking partners for the same reason. “Council voted not to renew Tidal Wave’s lease during the April city council meeting,” he said. Fiem added that they still have several extensions available to their existing lease, no one likes the one they have, and Tidal Wave has capitulated to requests for changes in the lease made by the city. Fiem noted the April vote included the promise to quick resolution by council, which to this date, has not happened.
Stuart Coleman of 10 Live Oak Dr. introduced himself as a representative of the Wildwood subdivision.
He was there with no less than twelve of his neighbors to express their opposition to a proposed “emergency gate” that would route traffic from Morgan’s Cove Rd. onto Wildwood Road. “It is a residential neighborhood with children, pets, and people who enjoy the quiet of our secluded neighborhood,” he said. Coleman went on to say he and his dozen floated the idea of an alternative to Wildwood Rd. with representatives of Wild Dunes, but he wasn’t taking any chances.
Coleman asked council to deny any request for a passage through his neighborhood.
Gary Nessler of 17 22nd Ave. stepped up as the peacemaker. He, too, lauded this iteration of council as the best, most transparent, and most productive council he could remember. He suggested, however, that whenever there were contentious debates involving council members, both parties should recuse themselves and allow others to make the decision. “Whether it’s renewing a lease, or putting in an emergency gate. Keep it clean, keep it transparent, and, above all, keep it friendly,” he advised.
Council got down to business an hour and five minutes after the start of its meeting. The exercise in transparency may have streamlined the rest of the meeting starting with council member and Ways & Means Committee Chair Jimmy Ward. He presented council with a very positive financial picture to close out the fiscal year. He then moved for approval of a little over $395,000 to complete phase two of work on the Public Safety building, and found unanimous support.
Council member and Public Safety chair Ryan Buckhannon moved for approval of a mutual aid agreement with the Town of Sullivan’s Island. Police Chief Kevin Cornett stressed that IOP currently has only two active mutual aid agreements [Mount Pleasant, and the City of Charleston] after legislation invalidated previous agreements, and was a matter of legal housekeeping. The motion passed with unanimous support.
Council member and Public Works chair Randy Bell said local developer Jeremy Graves talked to his committee about purchasing 1100 Palm Boulevard. Bell said Graves hopes to build a boutique hotel at the location, and wanted to give council a heads about the matter.
Council went through the remaining agenda items in about ten minutes.
Ordinance 2019-12 was read for the second time. The measure allows for small unobtrusive movies/pictures etc. to be made on IOP with only staff approval. The measure passed unanimously.
Ordinance 2019-14 was also read for the second time. The regulation requires all dogs to have both a free written permit from the city and also a tag issued by South Carolina certifying they are free of rabies. The ordinance passed with unanimous support.
There was also a second reading of Ordinance 2019-15. This ordinance authorizes the city administrator to execute the necessary documents to execute a commercial lease agreement between Isle of Palms and Barrier Isles for work on the Morgan Creek Grill dock. An amended version of the ordinance passed unanimously.
Ordinance 2019-16 was read by title only and will apply the same nuisance and property maintenance standards to vacant buildings as currently apply to occupied structures.
“Filing for the November election began Monday, Aug. 5. The filing fee for city council is $100, and candidates can file at City Hall. The filing period ends promptly at noon on Monday, Aug. 19h,” said the mayor in closing.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.