At last Tuesday’s meeting regarding the proposed senior living complex, it became clear to me that residents continue to have a number of questions with respect to the ownership of Seabrook Island Road, the contractual commitment of the Seabrook Island Utility Commission to provide sewer service to the property on which the senior living facility is proposed to be located and the potential development of the remaining property on either side of the road.
With respect to the “ownership” of Seabrook Island Road it is fair to say that the town “owns” the concrete and infrastructure. In 1972 (about the time Seabrook Island was first developed) the South Carolina Department of Transportation received a “Right of Way Easement” from the descendants of the Andell family for the “construction of a section of State highway” 66 feet in width, a portion of which included the roadway from what is now the Circle to Landfall Way. The grant of easement was expressly for the purpose of “constructing, improving and maintaining [the highway] . . . and the right to construct and maintain controlled access facilities to said highway.” In February of 1990, the SCDOT conveyed that easement to the Town of Seabrook Island by quitclaim deed. So to the extent the town has the right to construct, maintain and improve the road and to maintain controlled access, it is the owner thereof. What it does not own is the property on which the road is located. As far as I know the underlying “ownership interest” is in the name of Andell Development Limited Partnership, which at some point changed its name to East Seabrook Limited Partnership.
As a practical matter, it makes no difference who “owns” Seabrook Island Road; all of it is within the town’s legal jurisdiction. In March of 1990, town council passed an ordinance annexing that “portion of Seabrook Island Road (State Road No. 1875) lying outside the Town’s then existing jurisdiction up to the intersection at Kiawah Island Parkway” which includes part of the traffic circle landscaping and the on ramp to Seabrook Island. Accordingly, the developers are required to obtain an Encroachment Permit from the town in order to obtain access to Seabrook Island Road.
Seabrook Island Road is not a private road. It doesn’t meeting the state’s definition of a private road, and in our Development Standards Ordinance it is described alternatively as a public road and an “arterial” road. Our DSO provides, among other things, that it is the policy of the town to “minimize” the number of points of access to arterial roads.
As I mentioned at our Tuesday meeting, the Seabrook Island Utility Commission is obligated to provide sanitary sewer service to the property on which the senior living facility is proposed to be built. The commitment to provide sanitary sewer service to the property in question was made in 1990, by agreement between Heater of Seabrook and the then-owner of the subject property. When the town purchased Heater’s assets in 1996, it took an assignment of a number of Developer Agreements including one to provide sanitary utility services to the property in question (water will be obtained directly by the property owner from St. Johns Water). SIUC has always included in its capacity calculations an assumption that it would provide sewer service to this property. Accordingly, the development of this property as a senior living facility is within the assumed capacity of the SIUC.
On either side of Seabrook Island Road, the town’s jurisdiction does not extend to the circle. On the northeast side of the road (outbound), the town’s jurisdiction extends slightly beyond town hall. On the southwest side of the road (inbound), the town’s jurisdiction extends to the eastern end of Bohicket Marina
At Tuesday’s meeting I noted that there is undeveloped property on either side on Seabrook Island Road that has the potential to be developed. On the northeast side of the road there is a single tract of almost 300 acres, which extends from town hall to and behind the property where the senior living complex is proposed to be located. That parcel is owned by Haulover Creek Development Company. This property is in Charleston County. On the southwest side of the road there are four parcels, two of which are owned by Atlantic Partners II LLC (the same company which owns the property on which the senior living complex is proposed to be located) and two of which are owned by Haulover Creek Development Company. One of these parcels is in the Town of Kiawah Island; the remaining properties are in Charleston County.
It is important to note that the town has not been contacted by the owners of these properties, and we know of no immediate development plans. However, as I stated on Tuesday is the intention of the Town to engage a consulting traffic engineer to help us anticipate for the development of these properties and to ensure that the safe and un-congested flow of traffic on Seabrook Island Road is maintained.
-Submitted by Ron Ciancio, Mayor, Town of Seabrook Island