My wife, Joy, and I have been property owners on Seabrook since 2003 when we bought a lot and then started building a house. The island commended itself to us for its natural environment, its sense of community, its weather and its proximity to Charleston. It still does. We have been residents since 2004. I’m retired. We have three children.
My college education led to degrees in physics, business administration and climate science. An entire career in business saw me consulting for, and running, companies in various parts of the world in a variety of industries: semiconductors, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, banking, power generation, healthcare, packaging and paper.
With that experience, I’m very comfortable generating data and analyses as well as dealing with issues involving finance and strategic planning. My personal contributions to the SIPOA Board’s policy making would involve discussion and decision making based on resident input, interactions with residents, context, fact, logic and a long term perspective. The experience I have had on both the General Operating & Maintenance Committee (GOMC) and the Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) means I am already familiar with SIPOA’s strategies, policies and issues.
With the benefit of my committee experience, I believe I have an informed perspective on the issues SIPOA should be wrestling with in 2020 and beyond. I would make the case for a “Top 10” of issues that includes include two associated with different types of flooding, a couple associated with growth, and three on infrastructure maintenance and development. I also believe we should develop a strategic perspective on where Seabrook wants to be on the Community-Resort spectrum. Obviously we are more “Community” off-season and more “Resort” on-season but clarity on what we want the overall balance to be out into the future would better inform policy and spending priorities.
Lastly, there are a couple of pieces of context for Seabrook sea level rise (SLR) that I believe we should discuss, agree on and make explicit. The data over the last 100 years from Charleston Harbor’s tide gauge show us the SLR trend has been steady. SLR has been making (and will continue to make) itself felt on Seabrook through increasingly frequent nuisance tidal flooding over time. In gradually adapting to the evolving impacts of SLR over the medium and long term, SIPOA will have to spend significant amounts of money on road and drainage infrastructure. Given the importance of that adaptation, I believe that we should have an explicit, non-inflammatory assumption of what rate of sea level rise we are planning for. Next, a significant proportion (some 30%) of sea level rise on this stretch of the coast is attributable to widespread subsidence caused by groundwater pumping. Seabrook and (even more so) Kiawah have been pumping groundwater from local wells for the last 45 years or so, mainly for (or to supplement) golf course irrigation. As we begin to adapt to the impacts of sea level rise, I believe we should confirm and acknowledge that this significant proportion of our local sea level rise is largely of our own making.
-Submitted by the SIPOA Nominating Committee