Today I want to review from a Seabrook Island Property Owners Association (SIPOA) perspective some points of reference as we continue to move through this COVID 19 emergency. First, thank you to the Tidelines Editors for presenting an overview of the current situation. If you have not had the chance to read it, please go to the link below.
As I noted in previous messages, the SIPOA Board of Directors (BOD) has been monitoring an everchanging situation over the past 2 weeks. We, along with SIPOA staff, have been meeting remotely through video conferencing, on-line forums and phone calls and voice conferencing in order to monitor the current condition and attempting to carry out the daily business of SIPOA. We have also been in consultation with our SIPOA outside attorney. We have had conferences and meetings with the leadership of the Town of Seabrook Island (TOSI) and the Seabrook Island Club (SIC) in order to monitor the planning and actions of each group.
Please keep in mind the following as we continue to move forward through the coming days. SIPOA is simply a Homeowners Association (HOA) and as such our powers are very limited. We are not a municipality. As an HOA, we have no governmental authority to carry out state, county or municipal decisions and actions, including the Governor’s recently announced quarantine for visitors arriving from the northeast. Consequently, SIPOA Security’s scope of responsibility is very limited. Also, SIPOA Security is charged with manning the gate and patrolling our roads. They do not have any policing powers. They are not first responders. They are not to enter any home. They are not able to enforce any state orders such as stay-at-home, shelter in place or restricting visitors.
And finally, as I conclude this message, I am faced with a task that I never thought I would need to do as a SIPOA board member. I will be composing a letter of apology on behalf of the BOD, to a Seabrook Island visitor who was anonymously told last week to go home. It didn’t matter that this visitor had been coming to Seabrook for over 20 years or had owned 2 properties over that time or had to explain to their children what the message meant. No, a property owner asked that perceived stranger to leave. I realize that we are living in a confusing time. We are all concerned, perplexed, and anxious. We are being bombarded with information that can cloud our actions. But, as a place that prides itself as being a welcoming and friendly community, this action can tarnish our thoughts about who we are as a group of people. This is something we read or hear happening in other places, not here. I also recognize that the overwhelming number of Seabrook property owners would never consider such an action, you can say I’m “preaching to the choir”. But it did occur and as the Tideline Editors outlined in their overview, it is not isolated. As we move beyond this point during this confusing time, it is my sincere hope for this place we love to visit and call our home, that some are able to find that welcoming feeling again.
-Submitted by SIPOA, sipoa.org or 843 768-0061