By Katy Calloway for The Island Eye News
The March 26 meeting of the Isle of Palms Town Council got off to a routine start. After the usual protocol citizen’s comments were opened by Michael Fiem co-owner of Tidal Wave Watersports. He has been working to come into compliance with DHEC cited violations that precluded his lease at the Marina. He stated that he is happy to work with the City on this, and hopes that the City will work with him too.
Henry Hagerty was next up and spoke of his concerns regarding Forest Trail Circle and the coming development. Numerous residents have spoken over the past months about the flooding issues in this area and the impact that the new development will have. Add Hagerty’s name to that list.
Beach Santa, Howard Hogue, was up next. He is a resident of Monck’s Corner, but a constant on the IOP beaches. This past July he was asked to start documenting what he collects on the beach. He presented his results: In 2018 he’s made 34 trips to the beach, collected 279 straws and stirrers, 5138 cigarette butts, 744 Styrofoam® pieces, totaling 10,283 documented pieces of trash in 2018.
So far in 2019, he has made 24 trips to IOP resulting in 426 straws and stirrers, 5,523 cigarette butts, 76 pieces of Styrofoam® totaling 11,538 total items.
Hogue urged Council in their evening’s considerations, to “ban the right things”. He then received a landmark standing ovation from Council and audience members.
The Ways and Means report, shared by Councilmember Ward included a couple of highlights. The City recently became aware that the Tidal Wave dock was out of compliance with the most recent permit issued by DHEC in 1995. The City was told it has two options, to submit an application asking for the existing structure to be permitted or to make the dock compliant. Ward stated the procedure to bring the dock into compliance is straightforward.
The Real Property Committee recommended the City move forward with two permits, one to bring Tidal Wave and the dock structure into compliance and two to allow the rest of the dock rehabilitation to occur. No permits are likely to be approved before September.
Numerous action items consisting of contract awards and change orders were approved unanimously including a contract for emergency repairs to Marginal Rd., and a contract to pressure wash, caulk and paint Fire Station #2.
The last item, a Change Order to pursue the necessary permits on behalf of the City to ensure the existing Tidal Wave dock is compliant, passed 8-1, with Councilmember Kinghorn registering the dissenting vote. Kinghorn’s proposed amendment that before the City move forward with permitting, a meeting be held with stakeholders to devise a comprehensive plan, did not receive support.
The Public Safety Committee report included discussion of coyote management, a total of 3 coyotes have been trapped in 2019. Nine traps have been removed for cleaning and will be replaced. Coyote sightings appear to be down. The committee is moving forward with a management assessment of the Police Department and is asking other municipalities for input. Interim Chief Ursy stated that state law requires that the beach be handicapped accessible. The Committee plans to address options at their next meeting and have full access in place soon.
Councilmember Rice reported that the Public Works Committee reported that garbage levels are down and yard debris collection is consistent. Front beach lots have been prepared for the season. Phase Two Drainage, a seven-year project, is complete. The committee voted to expand the exemptions in the plastic bag ordinance to include plastic lids and condiment packaging, with the belief that consistency will make community awareness and education easier. Rice noted that a water bottle refill station is being installed at Front Beach to encourage reusable bottles.
A motion was made to approve a request from the 48th Avenue LLC to tie into the City’s drainage system and was approved unanimously without discussion.
Lastly, Dominion Energy is getting ready to trim trees prior to hurricane season. There will be a public meeting scheduled prior to action.
Councilmember Kinghorn commented that the City should redouble efforts on litter education and create a robust pack in/pack out policy at Front Beach.
Councilmember Bell supported this suggestion and expressed specific concern about cigarette butts on the beach.
Councilmember Smith reported that the Rec Committee has voted to move the Farmers Market to the Rec Center. The Committee also agreed to support a practice of allowing school teams, with Island residents involved, to reserve the field at no cost, rather then renting out facilities.
Councilmember Moye, newly appointed Chair of the Personnel Committee updated Council on the hiring process for the Chief of Police and the City Administrator. The Committee took over the process from the Mercer Group.
Vetting for the Chief of Police position is currently being conducted by staff. Staff is sending out the pre-employment assessment screening for the City Administrator position. There were approximately 60 applicants.
The Real Property Committee discussed a moratorium on future lot subdivision, though it was not recommended, due to the need to address the underlying issues, which Bell suggested may be addressed at future meetings.
Councilmembers jumped to address the second reading of the single use plastic bag ordinance. The ordinance passed unanimously.
Several first readings were approved including:
- Increasing fees for short-term rental licenses
- Increasing the stormwater management utility fee
- Increasing minimum lot size for subdivisions.
In conclusion, Mayor Carroll proclaimed April as Sarcoidosis Awareness month. The next meeting of the IOP City Council will be Tuesday, April 23 at 6 p.m.