Bob Graham asked the Council for permission to build a single-family residence at 2118 Ion, a commercially zoned area that only allows businesses and duplexes. The Council seemed in favor of allowing it to be built, but had trouble determining the best way to allow it. One solution which the Council discussed involved adding a permitted use in that particular zone instead of changing the zoning ordinance. Council member Pat O’Neil wanted the Town to “aggressively seek the input of property owners” before making a decision. A meeting is expected to occur between the Planning Commission and property owners in the future.
Coastal Science & Engineering (CSE) will be hosting a public meeting to present and discuss their “draft document” plan for the Town’s Accreted Land. They will present several options for how the land could be handled. The meeting will be held at 6pm on Tuesday, August 4, 2009, at the Church of Holy Cross Episcopal, 2520 Middle Street.
Council member Pat O’Neil announced that he has informally spoken to a representa-tive with a relatively new Mount Pleasant land trust organization that may be able to help protect smaller pieces of Town property as green spaces. The Town has previously approached the Open Land Trust as well as the Trust for Public Land in regards to protecting these parcels of land for future generations. Neither organization would deal with the properties because of their small size. Land trust organizations typically place deed restrictions on land in order to protect them from development in the future. The Council agreed to schedule a meeting with the company to see if they might be able to provide the necessary service.
The Town is preparing to pass first reading of the 10-year comprehensive plan which the Planning Commission has worked tirelessly in order to generate. A public meeting was held on May 26 for residents to see the plan and comment. The Town received 68 survey responses regarding the plan, most of which presented noise, split-zone lots, and the preservation of the residential nature of the island as their main concerns.
The Council agreed to pursue first reading of the Plan at their regular Council meeting with an addition presented by Hal Currey on behalf of the Planning Commission, which encourages the pursuit of a bicycle-friendly lane across the island.
Tracy Lewis and Jason Lemieux gave a wastewater model presentation that suggested the Town’s water lines are in need of some love and care. The main problem was “infil-tration”, which is water seeping into the lines through various sources such as rainwater into manhole covers and groundwater through leaky pipes.
During rain events, much of the water that the treatment plant is forced to pump is rain-water and groundwater; which can occasionally comprise up to half of the plant’s payl-oad. There is a 570,000 gallon/day limit on how much water the treatment plant can handle without being forced to endure a mandatory and expensive expansion. The plant currently handles around 440,000 gallons/day. The company Lewis and Lemieux stated that by participating in the Sanitary Sewer Evaluation Survey (SSES), the City would benefit by reducing operating and maintenance costs. Currently, 50 and 10 year storm events could be problematic, which are 9″ and 4″ rain falls, respectively. Recent rains have dumped about 3.25 inches of rain.
Council member Mike Perkis suggested identifying the worst areas and starting there.
Mayor Carl Smith and Council member Mike Perkis attended a conference in which local representatives gave opinions and suggestions on various aspects of beachfront management for State officials. It was pointed out that Bill Eiser, of the Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) division of DHEC, stated that sandbags will be much harder to come by for erosion control as they will only be permitted for storm events and not chronic erosion.
Mayor Smith was in the “erosion” group, where new erosion control devices consisting of oyster shells was discussed. He pointed out that the State should contribute more money to maintain the beaches, which are available to everyone. He also criticized the State’s retreat policy, which makes it extremely difficult to get erosion help for homes about to fall into the ocean but allows an armored wall to be built in order to protect State roads. He pointed out that the OCRM admits that renourishment works and that it is only a matter of money.
Perkis was in the “beach nourishment” group, where he argued that the State should pay for renourishment. However, Kiawah and Isle of Palms representatives were “hesi-tant” to agree as they both have beaches that do not qualify as public, he said.
Mike Perkis announced that the Town has paid off all of its leases as the Council agreed to do in June. Interest rates had changed to such a degree that it made financial sense to do so at this time. As a result, money that had been budgeted in the 2009-2010 budget for these payments will now be made available. Furthermore, he stated that the Town actually received a significant amount of revenue above the budget they had estimated in May. Building Permits and Franchise Fees both came in over budget.
Anybody need a rain barrel?
The Water and Sewer Department is overstocked with polyphosphate barrels and can not get rid of them. The company that used to pick them up no longer does so and the department is at a loss as to what to do with them. In the meantime, they are piling up. Water and Sewer Manager Greg Gress announced that they can retrofit these barrels and turn them into “rain barrels” at a relatively low cost. They will be cleaned out and can be painted by the purchaser to match a home or anything else. Interested residents should contact the Water and Sewer Department at 883-3947.
Just a shade lighter
At the request of a resident, Council member Pat O’Neil questioned the necessity of darkly tinted windows on the Town’s police vehicles. The tint, he said, makes it nearly impossible to tell if a person is in the vehicle and may run counter to the friendly image which the Police Department is trying to present. Police Chief Danny Howard explained that the tint is actually a tool that helps protect the $15,000 worth of equipment in the vehicles from heat. However, he did state that his officers had already been instructed to ride around with their windows down when weather permits in order to be more visible.