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Letter To The Editor: Unfair Criticism

The author of  March 12, 2021, Letter to the Editor (The Silent Majority) criticized his neighbors who support ecologically sound management of the Accreted Land (AL). Supposedly this point of view causes neglect of other important needs on Sullivan’s Island. The writer need only peruse Town Council minutes during the tenure of Mayor O’Neil to prove himself wrong. Then go visit our new Wastewater Treatment Facility! Another claim is that nothing has been done to manage the AL due to opposition from the “do nothing crowd,” and the lawsuit has been necessary to obtain a plan.  Council records prove the opposite is true. A systematic planning process in 2007 produced an initial draft plan in 2009. The lawsuit followed, in 2010, when this plan did not include sufficiently extensive vegetation removal. A draft Accreted Land Management Plan (ALMP, November, 2011) and 60+ public meetings have accomplished emergency beach paths, removal of non-native invasive vegetation, a nature trail with board walks and benches, a tree survey (2015), and adoption (2016) with implementation (2019) of a widely accepted Transition Zone Plan (TZ). Major delays have been caused by the lawsuit itself. Town attorneys advised pausing during active court proceedings. Case in point:  the TZ Plan, adopted in February, 2016, was tabled for 18 months until an Appeals Court ruled in favor of the Town (September, 2018) and cleared the path forward. In June 2019, Council accepted a contractor bid to begin TZ work, over the opposing votes of Chauncey Clark, Tim Reese, and Kaye Smith, who sought to stop implementation until the TZ Plan could be revisited and expanded. At present, the TZ work is sitting half finished, because the mediation settlement is promising more extensive TZ cutting.

Susan Middaugh

Sullivan’s Island

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