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Letter To The Editor: Vote For The People

FACTS:  ACCRETED LAND ON SULLIVAN’S ISLAND

I have been fortunate to live on Sullivan’s Island for over 44 years. I was here in 1991 when front beach land owners agreed to the covenants and the conservation district on the front beach to stop future construction as lots accreted. State law had long protected front beach owners by giving them the right to purchase any new accreted lots in front of their homes for $500 to protect their beach proximity, views and hot night breezes. As a member of Sullivan’s Island Town Council for eight years (2007-15), I had the opportunity to serve our Town when we retained Dr. Timothy Kana (Coastal Science & Engineering, the leading East Coast expert on erosion and protection of beaches) to write the Accreted Land Management Plan(ALMP) at a cost of $125,000. In 2010, after much study and input from the community, Dr. Kana delivered his report. His main recommendations were:

  •  Build a secondary dune line to protect against flooding and hurricanes.
  •  Hire an ALMP Project Director to implement a 10-year active management plan.
  •  Hire a professional firm to write the details of implementing active management
  •  And properly maintaining the accreted land.

Town Council, under the influence of Pat O’Neil, ignored these recommendations and did none of them. Pat O’Neil led the effort to remove the “dune proposal” from the plan. O’Neil led the effort to suppress the majority opinion of residents who favored active management, including trimming, limbing up and active maintenance for safety and aesthetic purposes. Instead, O’Neil suppressed the will of residents and engaged in a 10-year effort to stall any efforts to manage the accreted land. This was a total breach of trust of the agreement creating the conservation district in 1991. This has become a WEDGE ISSUE useful for political purposes to whip up PASSION for elections…pitting neighbor against neighbor, for no productive purpose other than to win an election. THIS HAS TO STOP. The Settlement Agreement after Mediation in the Bluestein Case was a reasonable compromise to end this mindless argument. We ALL want to protect the environment and enjoy its natural beauty. Maintenance is NOT destruction. We have been doing maintenance for many years with TOWN COUNCIL APPROVAL.

THE FACTS ARE THAT TOWN COUNCIL HAS FOR YEARS APPROVED TRIMMING, CUTTING, MAINTAINING, AND REMOVAL OF TREES IN THE ACCRETED LAND AND ON PRIVATE AND PUBLIC PROPERTY.

  • In 2014, Town Council approved the Sullivan’s Island Nature Trail at Station 16. To do this,
  • Trees and shrubs were cut and removed and trimmed to create a path and a “beach viewing platform.”
  • Since 1991, the Town has allowed Sand Dunes Club (owned by the power company) to cut and trim in the accreted land to protect their views and breezes.
  • Since 1991, the Town has allowed adjacent landowners to the beach to cut and trim and maintain private paths to the beach as well as regular path maintenance and residential tree removal for “aesthetic” purposes.
  • Since 1991, the Town has allowed SIES (our fantastic school) to cut and maintain a boardwalk to the beach through the accreted land.
  • In 2014, Town Council approved removal of 19 grand trees from STITH PARK, including seven Live Oaks with diameters from 9 inches to 16.25 inches. Attached Park Survey of trees removed)

While I Love our grand trees, I cannot see them in the accreted land because of uncontrolled growth of Cedars, Hackberry, Myrtles and invasive species.

I AM A LIFELONG ENVIRONMENTALIST.

I served six years on the DHEC BOARD. I led the fight to get SC inspectors onto the Savannah River Plant due to toxic pollution on the site reaching the groundwater. I led the fight against Philadelphia garbage barges being sent to our State to bury lead-polluted garbage. I filed a lawsuit against the City of Charleston and stopped the dumping of toxic medical waste in front of a public school (Burke High).

This false WEDGE issue is now the basis for four candidates (O’Neil, Vissey, Millinet & Novak) running as a BLOCK to take over Town Council for their personal and one issue agenda.

O’Neil signed a Mediation Agreement in the 2014 accreted land lawsuit agreeing to remove ALL vegetation in the transition zone except Oaks, Magnolias, and Palmettos 16-inch plus diameter and agreeing to remove all Cedars, Willows, Pines and invasive in the rest of the accreted land.

THIS CONFIDENTIAL SIGNED AGREEMENT IS ATTACHED FOR TRANSPARENCY.

O’Neil owns a back beach lot. He financially benefits when trees block front beach views and breezes. He should have RECUSED himself from voting and manipulating Town policies in the Accreted Land FOR HIS OWN BENEFIT.  

NOW, a cabal of four candidates are running as a block to take control of our Council. IS THAT WHO WE WANT TO CONTROL OUR TOWN?

VOTE FOR THE PEOPLE…

CHAUNCEY CLARK FOR MAYOR    

KEVIN PENNINGTON FOR COUNCIL

TIM REESE FOR COUNCIL

INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES…Who will represent ALL of the residents of SI.

Jerry Kaynard

Sullivan’s Island

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