After four (Sullivan’s Island) Town Council members forced a lawsuit settlement on the Maritime Forest that was highly advantageous to the few firstrow property owners, and after a landslide election in protest, the new Town Council has hired a new attorney to review the settlement. The Pro-Settlement folks are crying “foul.” Their favorite tactic — predicting “wildfire” — has lost all credibility now that the Army Corps of Engineers has declared much of the Accreted Land to be wetlands. At present their default tactic is to decry any legal challenge to the lawsuit settlement as a “waste of taxpayer money.” This is amusing coming from the folks who started all of this 10 years ago by suing the town to gain control of a valuable amenity that belongs to all of us. But looking forward, lets put “cost to the taxpayers” in perspective. On Sept. 21, 2021 Town Council approved a request for proposal (RFP) for pickleball courts at the Citadel Street playground. I am very much in favor of this investment in recreational amenities, but I am pretty sure that Sullivan’s Island pickleball players are outnumbered by our birders and nature lovers who value the Maritime Forest and do not think that money spent on protecting this recreational amenity will be a “waste.” In addition, there is a major financial benefit to island residents from the maritime vegetation and trees that protect our island from storm, flooding, and sea level rise, and lower our FEMA flood insurance rates. This is more than can be said about pickleball courts.
Fortunately, thanks to the property taxes from new multi million dollar homes, we can afford both the Maritime Forest and pickleball courts.