Mayor Ciancio began the meeting with approval of minutes and a review of the Town’s financials.
Councilman John Gregg reported that the Public Safety Committee is reviewing the consultant’s report of recommendations that resulted from the Town’s participation in the Disaster Recovery Council training exercise on June 7. The DRC will meet on July 27 to discuss the suggestions and decide on updates they will make to the Town’s Comprehensive Emergency Plan.
With support from Charleston County Building Services, the Town has submitted a request to FEMA for grant funding under the Town’s Hazard Mitigation Plan. The funding would help to pay a portion of the cost of the Town’s ongoing project to make storm water drainage improvements to Seabrook Island Road between the traffic circle and the SIPOA security gate. Based on the program’s rules, the value of the FEMA grant could be just over $150K.
Charleston County Building Services is currently revising the County’s Hazard Mitigation Plan, which includes the Town of Seabrook Island’s Hazard Mitigation Plan. Once the County Plan revisions have been presented at their August 22 meeting, the Town will be positioned to review the Seabrook Island portion of the Plan, determine whether there is a need to make any changes, and adopt that portion of the plan as its own.
SIPOA asked the Town to help cover the cost of SIPOA’s project to videotape the 2017 Disaster Awareness Day proceedings. SIPOA has posted the video on the public portion of its website, with each presentation topic available individually, so that people who could not attend the event and people who want a refresher will have access to the information that was shared by the experts. Council members confirmed that SIPOA’s request was appropriate, since the event had been sponsored jointly by the Town of Seabrook Island and the Town of Kiawah Island. Mr. Gregg said that the Town had budgeted $6,000 to pay for the event and, following receipt of a payment of $1,500 from Kiawah for their portion of the expense, had $2,320 in unspent budgeted funds. He then introduced a motion which passed unanimously to reimburse SIPOA $2,153, half of the project cost. Council considers this to be a one-time expense and will decide whether to support this sort of effort in the future.
Councilman Jody Turner reported that he had received a request from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) for the Town to provide comments on BOEM’s plan to include the Mid- and South-Atlantic Planning Areas in their five-year National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024. (Note that the Town had previously sent letters to the Governor and our federal elected officials expressing our opposition but had not been asked to write directly to BOEM.) Council passed a motion authorizing the Mayor to respond to BOEM’s request, and agreed to Councilman Crane’s suggestion that the BOEM request be published in Tidelines so that Seabrook Island residents can realize they have an opportunity to write to BOEM prior to the deadline for comments on August 17, 2017.
Mr. Turner has learned through contacts at the Municipal Association that only three communities in South Carolina have rules about fishing on their beaches. Hilton Head Island, Isle of Palms, and Myrtle Beach have designated specific areas of their beaches for fishing and prohibited swimming in those areas. He felt that this approach might work for some parts of Seabrook Island but not for others, and said he is continuing to look at options for reducing the risk to beach walkers and cyclists from fishing poles that are positioned far back from the water’s edge.
Mr. Turner also noted that the beach patrol has been providing the Town with weekly activity logs which show, among other things, the number of water rescues and violations of the town’s beach ordinances. He noted that there were a number of violations of the leash law, and has asked that the numbers be further broken down by resident or visitor and whether the violation had occurred in the area where dogs are not permitted.
Councilman John Wells reported on the marketing program’s progress by the Lou Hammond Group, naming several periodicals where articles had been published and noting that a freelance travel writer will visit the island from July 25-August 5 to gather information for an article about the Town. About the Seabrook Island Road improvement project, he said that owners of properties adjacent to SI Road had been contacted about granting permission for the Town to access the easements that traverse their property so the easements could be cleaned. He is still waiting for approval from OCRM to perform maintenance on the stormwater system’s flapper gates. Mr. Wells noted that he will meet with officials at Bohicket Marina on July 26 to discuss the road improvement project and its relationship to timing of the Marina’s project to upgrade their access road.
Mayor Ciancio announced that plans are in place for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra to perform at the Lake House at 4pm on Sunday, October 15th. (Rain date will be October 20th.) The 75-minute performance will feature the full 46-piece orchestra.
Utility Commissioner Jim Bannwart reported that SIUC’s June operations were well within requirements, adding that the Commission had received a good report from the audit of their calendar year 2016 operations. Going forward, Commissioners will begin planning for a new contract with Hawthorne Services, as the current contract expires in May 2018.
The Second Reading of Ordinance 2017-02, “An Ordinance to Amend the Development Standards Ordinance—Encroachment Permit,” was passed unanimously. (Note that the amendment is designed to strengthen rules and requirements related to permit applications for new road, driveway, or curb cuts on Seabrook Island Road.) Councilman Wells extended his appreciation to the Planning Commission for their careful work on revising this ordinance.
Mayor Ciancio announced that the Town will hold several budget meetings between mid-August and mid-September.
Official minutes of this meeting will be approved at the next Town Council meeting (August 22, 2017) and published shortly thereafter on the Town’s website.