September 15, 2009
Right of ways
The Council continued to discuss the possibility of protecting smaller parcels of land from development or sale to adjacent private property owners by using a small local land trust organization; Mount Pleasant Open Space. Council member Kaynard wondered why the Town needed to put such restrictions on property when the Town has not had any problems protecting the land without deed restrictions. However, Council member O’Neil, who initiated the project with Mount Pleasant Open Space, explained that while the current Council has no desire to sell the property, there is nothing to stop future Councils from doing so. The deed restrictions that a land trust can provide will be in effect regardless of what a future Town Council might look like. Furthermore, he added that the potential is there as the Town has recently been asked by a property owner to sell such a piece of property in order to extend their yard.
The Town Council unanimously agreed to “test” protect two parcels of land, the Dump Site and the landing on the Sullivan’s Island side of the old Pitt Street bridge.
In an effort to curb the Vegas atmosphere that apparently comes to life in the commercial district at night, Police Chief Danny Howard investigated the jurisdiction that police have on private property. The main issue seemed to focus on being able to keep people from drinking outside, such as in parking lots adjacent to restaurants. It was reported that people can not currently be prohibited from drinking beer or wine in a private parking lot, but can be prohibited from drinking liquor.
Dogs are taxing
The City Council is looking to increase the fees for non-residents to obtain a dog license on Sullivan’s Island. This is a non-issue for most residents since it will not affect them. However, increasing the freedom people have to take their dogs on the beach was a concern. Furthermore, a non-resident who attended the meeting stated that she would be willing to pay more for a license if the Town would extend the days that dogs are allowed on the beach. Council member Perkis stated that the Council may consider Labor Day to Memorial Day restrictions in order to increase the time dogs are allowed on the beach.
Zoning the Commercial District
The Town previously discussed the possibility of changing the zoning laws for the commercial district to allow a residential home at the request of a property owner who wants to build a house for his son. Residential homes are not currently allowed in the commercial district. As the discussion continued, the Council realized that duplexes are allowed and considered banning those while allowing single family homes. However, they agreed to allow property owners who would be affected by the change to discuss the matter with the Planning Commission before making any decisions. That meeting has not yet been scheduled.
The Town is still considering a Commercial District Master Plan which was presented by hired consultants to the Council earlier this year, but any progress on a public presentation has been delayed due to the discussion over reverse angle parking, a new parking concept which is not favored by the State’s Department of Transportation. A meeting with the DOT was expected to take place on September 17 for a final decision on the matter.
Randy Robinson reported that the Town could be receiving an increased ISO rating which could make flood insurance more affordable for island residents. Fire Chief Anthony Stith also mentioned that the Town’s ISO rating in regards to fire prevention increased from a 4 to a 3 and could go as high as a 2 with the new dispatch service, which the Town will go online with next year.
Flu shots for Town employees
Council member Jerry Kaynard announced that Town employees, their families and members of Town Council will be offered regular flu vaccinations as well as H1N1 (swine flu) vaccinations.
“With the concern of pandemic levels of H1N1 and infection levels that could reach up to 30% of the population, the Town is taking steps to be confident that the day to day function of government and services will continue,” Town Administrator Andy Benke told the Island Eye News. The flu shots are a benefit of the wellness program and a benefit package for Town employees and will not be extended to island residents.
The brown plague
What would the Charleston area be without mosquitoes? Paradise. But no matter how much energy and poison you use, there are always going to be mosquitoes. However, some residents have referred to mosquitoes as an issue that needs to be addressed with the accreted land management plan.
As a matter of point, Town Administrator Andy Benke provided some information regarding mosquitoes on Sullivan’s Island. Benke says that there are over 3500 species of mosquitoes in the Southeastern United States and that the island has been seeing more of the brown salt marsh mosquitoes lately, whose populations have been aided by Northeast winds and tides. He also stated that data collected suggests that Sullivan’s Island has a 15 bite per minute ratio, while McClellanville has a rate of 60. But perhaps the most important piece of information was that the County is responsible for battling mosquito populations and that they should be contacted for requests and complaints.
To contact Charleston County Mosquito Control with questions or concerns, please call (843) 202-7880.