Island Vibes April 2024

hile one Isle of Palms resident is facing potential penalties for building an illegal erosion control device on his property, other island residents still have time to build permanent devices on their properties. In February, the Isle of Palms City Council voted 7-2 to allow such leeway for owners of beachfront properties located between 100 and 914 Ocean Blvd. Residents in this area will have through April 19 to act on the ordinance, which is within the guidelines and approval of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM). “We’re giving homeowners some protection of their foundations,” said Councilman Blair Hahn. “And that’s what everybody has said they want.” Reasons for the temporary ordinance include emergency erosion conditions in the named area, such as damage incurred by Hurricane Idalia in August 2023, coastal flooding, storm surge and subsequent king tides, and wind and wave events. “The general process will be to have OCRM physically mark their jurisdiction on each property and then engage an engineer to design and submit documents to the city for approval,” said Douglas Kerr, director of building, planning and licensing, in a presentation before council on Feb. 20. 6 NEWS Emergency ordinance permits erosion control with OCRM approval By L. C. Leach III W GUIDELINES • Eligible residents can install a revetment or a seawall entirely landward of the critical area markers placed by OCRM and no more than 20 feet seaward of the maximum building line. • Erosion control structures need to be designed by a registered, qualified engineer who can certify that the structure will not accelerate erosion or negatively impact adjacent or downdrift lots and be designed and built to withstand a storm event. • Seawalls and revetments cannot not be made of recycled concrete/materials, unless specifically designed for the purpose of marine construction. • Property owners will be responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of the erosion control system and ensuring it is in good condition. Kerr clarified that April 19 is the deadline for residents to be issued a permit. “The permits are good for six months to allow owners to finish construction,” he said. Kerr pointed out that the new measure “doesn’t solve the issue of getting equipment between houses.” All seawall construction equipment and vehicles would have to be brought in from the landward side – meaning that contractors cannot use the beach side to access properties for seawall construction without the permission of OCRM. “OCRM has advised us that it would violate their statutes to work from the beach,” Kerr said. “The new measure is intended to give property owners the option for some form of protection against erosion until emergency conditions have passed.” For example, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is expected to initiate a project this year to place 550,000 cubic yards of sand in critical areas and alleviate the temporary emergency conditions. The project is a result of severe erosion that the island experienced on Dec. 17, 2023, from strong northeastern winds and record high tides. The city has also received an emergency order from OCRM approving an emergency contract to restore the dunes in the erosion area by scraping sand between 100 and 314 Ocean Blvd. after Hurricane Idalia. After April 19, the ordinance could be extended at council’s discretion. Hahn indicated that he hopes it won’t be necessary because of concerns about eventually ending up with “a seawalled island.” “We can’t back off the 45-year-old ban on seawalls,” Hahn added. “But I think we can compromise and protect home foundations.” “Very knowledgeable, responsive and honest. We have bought and sold over 20 homes and never experienced the quality of service that Andrea provided” “...extremely helpful in making recommendations to get our house market-ready. With her suggestions for home improvements, our house sold in a week at the high end of market value.” “Professional, diligent, informed, persistent, good advice during price negotiation, provides assistance and advice through the whole buying process. Andrea is ‘tops’!” 843.532.3010 - CALL ANDREA ROGERS SOUTHERN PROFESSIONALISM A way of life, The way to be Helping people achieve their dreams $95,444,575 in sales (2023) Photo Provided.