Town of Seabrook Island Candidate – Sharon Welch

Each of the three different entities on Seabrook Island will hold elections in the coming months. Since Seabrook Island is a municipal town in SC, its election is on November 2, a statewide election day. The Seabrook Island Property Owners Association (SIPOA) and the Seabrook Island Club will hold their separate elections in early 2022.

The information about the candidate in this post is for the town election only. 

Below is information about Sharon Welch who is running for one of the 4 Town Council seats.

Sharon Welch is a business owner and an active Realtor on Seabrook Island. In addition, she has served as a Planning Commissioner for the Town of Seabrook Island since 2019. She believes that her Professional Experience will bring a fresh perspective as a member of the Town Council.

For almost 40 years, Welch has been a licensed Broker with experience in zoning and development. Before moving to Charleston, she was a business partner with her husband in developing several residential subdivisions in the Atlanta area. In this capacity, she located land suitable for development and worked with Managers, Town Councils, and Homeowner Associations on zoning issues and community standards. This experience helped Welch understand the give and take process of these relationships. She believes success comes because of compromise and that no one ever gets 100% of what they want.

Welch has been honored to serve as a planning commissioner for the Town of Seabrook. It has allowed her to consider issues from the other side of the table.

In 2006, Welch relocated here from Atlanta with her husband when they became one of the partners in the ownership of Bohicket Marina. The Marina falls under the Town’s jurisdiction. The Marina has recently sold, but as a partner’s wife, Welch understands the new owners’ challenges as they redevelop the Marina.

Welch has been privileged to be a partial owner of Botany Island and later served as the Coastal Resource Manager and Caretaker. She worked closely with the Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, and the Charleston County Sherriff’s Department to help protect the fragile environment of Botany Island.

The population increase on Seabrook Island has impacted the island’s quality of life. Welch knows that we need to be proactive in protecting the environment, beaches, and wildlife and ensuring balance in our island’s use. She appreciates the concept of property ownership rights but supports a cap on short-term rentals and grandfathering existing rental licensees. Implementing a cap on short-term rentals is critical to maintaining the island’s quality of life, especially in the residential single-family zoned areas of the island.

But the bigger challenge is how we can find a better balance between those who live here full time and those who invest in short-term rentals? How can we sustain what we have now without some limit on short-term rentals? To resolve this conflict, Welch wants negotiation, not debate. Unfortunately, we see many instances of renters that disrespect our beaches and disregard our rules. Welch knows that this is not going to be an easy issue to resolve. All citizens should have input; however, Seabrook Island’s registered voters should have the final say. This conversation should start sooner than later, and the Town should address it now.

She is a person of faith and humility, is plain-spoken, and always willing to listen. She believes in honesty and transparency. Livability and quality of life issues are of significant concern to her, as are protecting and conserving our environment, wildlife, and beaches.

“What do you want?” That’s the question she will always be asking as a member of the Town Council.

-Provided by Sharon Welch to Tidelines