Message From The Mayor: May 2022

Dear island neighbors, 

A few items worthy of your attention: 


Joe Henderson, who, since 2013, has served very admirably as our Director of Planning and Zoning, has been promoted to the position of Deputy Administrator. In this capacity, he will assist Town Administrator Andy Benke in the day-to-day operations of the Town and its myriad of projects. Before joining us here, Joe had served as Zoning Administrator and Interim Planning Director for the City of Conway and GIS technician for the Horry County IT Department. Joe holds a master’s degree in public administration from Clemson University and the College of Charleston and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Coastal Carolina University. He lives in Mount Pleasant with his wife and two children. I am delighted that Joe will become our first full-time Deputy Administrator, so that he can assist Andy with his ever growing responsibilities. 

Charles Drayton has joined the Town to succeed Joe as Director of Planning and Zoning. 

His responsibilities will include but not be limited to providing advice, guidance and interpretation of the zoning ordinance to members of Council, residents and members of various boards and commissions; reviewing and updating the Town Comprehensive Plan; reviewing building plans submitted by residents; enforcing the Town’s zoning ordinance and making recommendations concerning any needed revisions; and assisting the Town Administrator and Deputy Administrator with planning strategies for the Town. For the last eight years, Charles has worked as a city planner for the City of North Charleston’s growing municipal planning department, involved with various long-range comprehensive planning efforts, transportation planning, and a multitude of other daily activities of the department. He served as principal staff member to the City’s Planning Commission and the City’s Flood Wise Action Group, and as liaison to multiple regional committees. Charles is a native of the Charleston area who now lives with his wife and four children in Mount Pleasant. Growing up in the Lowcountry he recalls spending time with his family on the beach at Sullivan’s Island and throughout the grounds of his family’s ancestral home (Drayton Hall) where he learned about historic restoration. He has a longstanding interest in the fields of historic preservation, geography and urban planning. He graduated from Bishop England High School and attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Appalachian State University, receiving degrees in Geography and Architectural Studies. Please congratulate Joe and welcome Charles when you get a chance. 


I’m delighted to report that WCIV ABC News 4 has been working with the Mayors, Administrators and Police Chiefs of Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, Mount Pleasant and Folly Beach to create a new digital product to better inform the Lowcountry about traffic and other conditions that can affect trips to…and from…our beaches. If you think about the growing population of the region within a day trip of any of our beaches, it’s obvious that we have more people each year trying to access the same amount of beaches. It stands to reason that anyone planning to head out from any of the surrounding communities for the beach might want to know what the conditions are, especially traffic… just as when they head out to work MondayFriday. We mayors of Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms and Mount Pleasant had previously been meeting, with our Police Chiefs and Administrators, to try to coordinate our beach traffic management efforts, part of which must include providing current traffic info to visitors. Kudos to Mayor Haynie of Mount Pleasant for enlisting the folks at ABC News 4, including their well-known traffic guru, Trooper Bob, to really amp up this effort by getting real-time info out to the greater Charleston region about traffic and other relevant conditions. The hope is that folks planning on a day at the beach will check the site to learn about current and expected traffic conditions, as well as weather conditions. Then they can adjust their plans accordingly, and possibly reduce the likelihood of heading for an incipient traffic jam. And we islanders can also use that info to plan our trips off and on our islands. The beach info site will be updated with live info on the weekends. It will be at: abcbeachinfo. Check it out. 


 In case you missed it, the hours for dogs changed May 1, as they do every year. 

Here they are:

 • 5-10 a.m.: off-leash allowed (but still must be under control of owner) 

• 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.: no dogs on the beach

 • 6 p.m. -5 a.m.: dogs allowed on leash only 


Administrator Andy Benke reminds us: “June 1 marks the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season. Early predictions by the forecasters at Colorado State University call for an above normal season with 19 named storms of which include nine hurricanes. Of the nine predicted hurricanes, at least four are expected to be major storms at Category 3 or above (Category 3 is 111-129 mph winds sustained). It is never too early to craft your family hurricane plan. Guides and examples can be found on the Town website (sullivansisland. or Charleston County website ( First up is ALEX so work on your plan.” 


The fire station rebuild is 65% complete as of April 30. Expected delivery is August. I’m sure our great firefighters will be happy to move back to their much improved quarters, and out of the trailer. Contact Andy Benke if you want to learn more or arrange a tour. 

See you around the Island! 

Pat O’Neil, Mayor 

(843) 670-9266 


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