Highlights from the Seabrook Island Town Council Meeting on October 25, 2016

Highlights from the Town Council Meeting on October 25, 2016

Following the Pledge, Council approved minutes of last month’s Town Council meeting, three Special Town Council Meetings (9/30 and 10/11 on the Town budget and 10/4 to prepare for Hurricane Matthew), and last week’s Ways & Means Committee Meeting—the Town officials and staff have been very, very busy. (Note that minutes are typically posted to the Town’s website within a few days of these approvals.)

Mayor Pro Tem John Gregg reported that Ed Maher had been introduced to the Public Safety Committee (as a new member completing Steve Bottcher’s term). The committee has completed drafting contents of a refrigerator magnet providing emergency contact information for residents and guests on Seabrook Island; the next step is to solicit cost information from vendors. On Thursday, October 27, the Town will host a Disaster Recovery Council meeting where our consultant, Scott Cave, will lead representatives of Town, SIPOA, Club, and other community emergency response groups in a discussion of lessons learned from the Hurricane Matthew experience.

Councilman Jody Turner said that the buoys recently installed on the beach to mark boundaries of the dog off-leash area were relocated by Hurricane Matthew—one had been moved to the dunes and the other is gone. Because the SC Department of Natural Resources has experience in this area (e.g., buoys at Deveaux Bank that seemed to survive the storm unharmed), he will ask DNR for advice about what we might use as replacements.

Councilman John Wells said that the Robert George consultants had lost 3 workdays’ progress due to Hurricane Matthew; their current task involves documenting all property lines and easements along Seabrook Island Road between the traffic circle and Landfall Way. He announced that the ATAX Committee has received three applications for 2017 funding, all from groups that received ATAX funding in 2016.

Councilman Skip Crane reported some highlights from the recent SIPOA Board meeting. He said the Marina and Camp St. Christopher are working on post-Matthew cleanup, but both reported very little damage. He emphasized the importance of the November 1 meeting (5 pm, Lake House) in support of the Audubon International Sustainable Communities Program that involves all elements of the Seabrook Island community. This is an open meeting, and attendees are invited to provide their input on goals and strategies for several topic areas of our island’s long-term sustainability plan.

Mayor Ron Ciancio took a few minutes to name a number of individuals and organizations who participated in the island’s emergency response to Hurricane Matthew and to extend heartfelt thanks for the dedicated work that is making our recovery such a success.

Commissioner Jim Bannwart reported that the Utility Commission will swear in Tim Morawski at its next meeting. Regarding Hurricane Matthew, he said there were a few challenges as power was turned on, all quickly resolved, but it was a great help to have the submersible pumps that were acquired a few years ago through a FEMA grant.

From the audience, Sue Holloman suggested that the Town and SIPOA jointly send a letter to residents who had chosen not to evacuate during Hurricane Matthew. The point would be to make them realize that we were very lucky this time and a future hurricane could be quite different. Mayor Ciancio said that a slightly different storm, whether in strength or in direction, might mean that the island would be closed for many days instead of just one or two. Councilman Crane noted that the post-Matthew initial assessment teams found a great deal of tree damage through the center of the island, flooding on the south and east, but very little damage on the west; he added, “people who were safe this time around could have a very different experience in a storm whose winds are stronger or come from a different direction.” Deputy Chief Jackie Stanley of the St. Johns Fire Department added that he “saw relief in the faces of many residents on seeing that STJFD had arrived on the island.”

-Submitted by Tidelines Staff

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