Apr 24 2018

Sullivan’s Island Mayor’s Message: April 2018

Dear Island Neighbors,

I hope you have enjoyed Mother Nature’s ambivalent start to spring, or at least found it interesting. Things are picking up on the Island, making it a good time for a few updates and a few reminders.


A year ago, through the efforts of our Zoning Administrator and Town Arborist, Joe Henderson, the Town was awarded the Tree City designation by the Arbor Day Foundation, allowing us to join more than 3,400 other US communities. Joe demonstrated that we had satisfied the Foundation’s very commendable standards of sound urban forestry management.

These include: having a community tree protection ordinance and commission or board, supporting urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day.

This year we will combine our Arbor Day celebration with the Thursday Farmers’ Market on April 26, from 2 to 6 p.m. Join Joe to get a free sapling and get your questions answered on tree planting and maintenance. And enjoy the vendors, music and food every week at this great community gathering.

For more Farmers’ Market info, go to bit.ly/SIFARMERMARKET and/or follow it on Twitter:@SIMARKET2016


This is also a great opportunity for a shout-out to our Tree Commission for their unsung efforts. The Tree Commission supports the implementation of our tree protection ordinances and administration of our Tree Fund. Members are Ken Spicer (Chair), Mary English, Milton Langley, Nat Robb and Adele Tobin. Thanks to all of them.

And hopefully you have noted our new rows of sabal palmetto trees on the causeway. They were paid for by the Tree Fund. I’m looking forward to the maturing of their crowns of fronds and the allée effect these trees will add to our entryway. And what better place for such a landscape feature, given that the palmetto’s role as our state tree and nationally recognized symbol of our state, started right here. (If you don’t know that story, time to consult Prof. Google.) Special thanks to Councilmembers Mark Howard and Rita Langley and to Joe Henderson and the Tree Commission for making this happen.


December 18, 2017 marked the bicentennial anniversary of the Island’s first municipality: Moultrieville. Island historian Roy Williams will give an encore presentation on the life and times of Moultrieville at 7 p.m. on May 8 at the Stella Maris Parish Hall for this event sponsored by the Stella Maris Men’s Club. Public is welcome.


 Our hardworking Planning Commission continues its efforts via its Steering Committee to accomplish the state-mandated update of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. This is a very large, important effort that is required by the State every ten years, and the Planning Commission takes this seriously with emphasis on encouraging community input.

The Steering Committee’s next meeting will be on Wednesday, May 9, starting at 5 p.m. This meeting will focus on the Land Use and Natural Resources elements/needs and goals of the plan. Please attend and provide input if you can. If you would like to see where things stand in this process, please go to the project website: bit.ly/SICOMPPLAN. To provide input, you can access the polls by scrolling down to “Sullivan’s Island Public Input”.


Which means it’s time for a reality check with the laws of South Carolina, and the laws of physics, that concern golf carts and lowspeed vehicles (LSVs). Please go to bit.ly/GOLFCARTS for info on the difference between the two types of vehicles, and for more important information on their use.

You may be surprised to learn that under SC law, a golf cart or LSV may be driven only by someone with a valid driver’s license in his or her possession. If your child doesn’t have a license, he or she is not allowed to drive the cart on the streets. If they can’t drive the SUV, they can’t drive the golf cart. It’s a state law.

Standard golf carts may not be driven on ANY roads after dark, nor at any time on State primary roads (e.g., Jasper Blvd. or Breach Inlet bridge).

And please remember, no matter how local, friendly and laidback your golf cart may feel…the laws of physics still apply. You are sharing street space with 2-ton vehicles, and your children (and you) in your golf cart are basically as vulnerable to the impact with them, even at 15 mph, as if you are simply walking in the road. Even with seat belts, you are still largely unprotected.

And if you are walking with an infant or toddler, that child is not very likely to be thrown out of your arms or stroller when you round a corner, compared to taking that corner at 15 mph in a cart or LSV with the child hanging from your or someone else’s arms.


and free of plastic bags and Styrofoam items.

You may be aware that the SC General Assembly has given preliminary approval to bills tying the hands of local governments when it comes to banning one-use plastic bags and polystyrene (e.g., “Styrofoam”) containers. So much for home rule. As of this writing, these bills have not received final approval in the General Assembly. And the Town has not yet passed such a local measure, for several reasons (e.g., the sources of the vast majority of our beach and marsh plastic pollution are off-Island; numerous enforcement complications of banning such items on the beach).

However, do not equate our caution about additional local legislation with lack of concern. For one thing, we are stepping up our enforcement of existing littering laws. Also, we are commencing a public education campaign to encourage our visitors (and us!) to avoid plastic littering or pollution (or any other kind). Please go to bit.ly/SICLEANBEACH for more information.

Do you have ideas about ways to efficiently communicate our nolitter and no-plastics message in a way that is honored by visitors and residents? Please send your thoughts to me at oneilp@sullivansislandsc.com. See you around the Island!

Pat O’Neil, Mayor



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