Coyote Howlings

The howling about coyotes got so intense that the website NextDoor banned all discussions of the issue. Alas, the issue is flourishing on Facebook. It is close to reaching hysteria level and psychiatrists may need to be called in to defuse the situation with medication.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal on March 12, there has been one human death attributed to coyotes. It was a 3 year old girl in Glendale, Arizona in 1981.

I run very early in the morning and have routinely seen coyotes on the island and they want nothing to do with me. (Of course, that could be saying something about me…)

It is quite possible the coyotes have killed a cat or two, but I don’t think this has ever been proven. But if so, it is easily prevented. Keep your cat inside. This really isn’t so bad. Most pet owners view their pets as members of their family. Well who lets a family member run around the neighborhood in the middle of the night?

Furthermore, in my experience, most pet owners are animal lovers. Well, shouldn’t we also love coyotes? After all, they are animals, too, and they are not killing us and they don’t even eat our flowers like the deer do in my front yard.

Finally, cats are well known to kill pretty, defenseless birds! I like birds. Should we kill your cat if it kills a bird? Well, there is one way to protect the birds. Keep your cat inside.

The poor coyotes, they don’t have a spokesperson. If they did have one, Rodney King Coyote would be saying, “Can’t we all just get along?”

Political Activism – 102

I am hearing a lot of chatter on the island about things people are not happy about.  Coyotes.  Street signs.  The new Parking Plan.  Lots of phone calls, emails and Facebook postings.

Only city council can pass ordinances that will effect change.  Period, end of story.

So, you basically have 2 options:

  1. Run for city council, propose an ordinance, and get 5 of 9 councilmembers to vote for it.
  2. Organize a sizable group of people to show up at council meetings and speak directly to council about their concerns.  Alternately, you can organize a petition drive.

Any, and everything else, while it may make you feel better, is not going to bring about change.

Here is what doesn’t work:

  1. Posting a bunch of stuff on Facebook.
  2. Sending out emails to all your friends.
  3. Posting stuff on the website Nextdoor.
  4. Calling an old IOPNA member to see if the IOPNA will lead the charge.  (For the record, the IOPNA has been dead for years – killed off by apathy.)

What do all the above methods that don’t work have in common?  They don’t require much, if any, effort.  You can use these tools to organize a petition drive or to get a group of people to speak before council, but anything else is wishful thinking.

You see, to change something takes effort.  And what most people are doing is putting their concerns out there and hoping someone else will run with the ball while they get back to watching some television show.

Again I repeat the words of Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert:  Passion is bullshit.  What matters is personal energy.

Wall Street Journal – Oct 2

The following was a full page article in the WSJ on Oct 2.

Sullivan’s Island: The Sleepy South Carolina Enclave with Big-Ticket Real Estate

The explosive growth of Charleston, S.C., has heated up the real-estate market on nearby Sullivan’s Island, a laid-back beach town where the median sale price is $1.4 million

The locals nicknamed Sullivan’s Island, a quaint 2.5-square-mile enclave off the coast of South Carolina, “Mayberry by the Sea.” But if Sheriff Andy Taylor were around today, he might have trouble paying $1.4 million—the island’s median sale price—for a home here.

This historic beach town—population 1,790—has long been a well-kept secret among South Carolinians. But with the explosive growth of nearby Charleston, where Boeing Co. is expanding its 265-acre campus and Volvo is set to open its first U.S. plant in 2018, word of Sullivan’s Island’s charms is spreading. Now buyers from New York, California and even London are staking their claim on the island, just a 15-minute drive from Charleston.

“We’re going to sell more houses on Sullivan’s Island in 2015 than we ever have in history,” said Everett Presson, a real-estate agent who has practiced on the island for 37 years. At the market’s peak in 2005, 45 of the island’s 900 homes were sold. In 2015, 39 home sales have closed through August. With demand high and only 41 homes on the market, the median sales price has increased by 15% since 2014 to $1.4 million, according to data from Charleston Trident MLS.

Though summer is Sullivan’s Island’s busiest season, 80% of its residents live there full-time, according to Mr. Presson.

After traveling from Knoxville, Tenn., to the island for a wedding in 2003, Cortney and Baker Bishop fell in love with the “easy, breezy, preppy-cool lifestyle” of Sullivan’s, Mrs. Bishop, a 42-year-old interior designer said. They set their sights on a circa-1890 traditional low-country home where she had attended a cocktail party.
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They purchased it a year later for $1.8 million. The house includes five bedrooms, five baths, a pool, and is two blocks from the beach, two blocks from the island’s marsh front and two blocks from a new oceanfront elementary school. “This house is the best decision I’ve made in my entire life, for my whole family,” said Mrs. Bishop, whose two young children attend the new school. “I mean, what place in the United States can you still just take off on your bike without your parents in the third grade?”

Steve Hamontree, a former medical executive, and his wife, Lynne, an artist, both in their late 50s, are happy to have settled in a place that doesn’t feel like a retirement community. “There are families with young kids and there are single people who aren’t yet married,” said Mr. Hamontree. “This variety in the people makes for a real sense of community.”

With their two children grown and out of the house, they’ve listed the 5,000-square-foot home they purchased for $2.5 million in 2006 with the hopes of building something smaller elsewhere on the island. The four-bedroom, 4½-bath home includes a pool, an expansive third-story screened-in porch, and a light-filled third-floor artist’s studio. The rooftop deck has 360-degree views of the island and its surrounding waterways. They’re asking $2.5 million for the property.

The island’s allure is due, in large part, to a handful of ordinances passed over the past 30 years that have blocked the development of high-rise condos and the kind of spring break-style debauchery that has plagued other East Coast beach towns. “We’ve outlawed weekly rentals, so you don’t have a bunch of people partying in the house next to you,” said Mr. Presson, who served on the town council from 2005 to 2009. You can’t construct a building over 38 feet tall, or a home over 5,600 square feet, even if you bought 10 contiguous lots.

For Wes Fuller, 41, the executive managing director of investments for Greystar, a Charleston-based international real-estate firm, his wife Betsy and their three young kids, easy access to the beach and the marsh was a big factor in their decision to buy on Sullivan’s Island in 2012. “Whether you want to go surfing, or paddle boarding, or fishing, or whether you just want to go swimming in the ocean, you have all of those options on Sullivan’s,” said Mr. Fuller.

They’re selling their newly built 3,700-square-foot, five-bedroom, 4½-bathroom house for $2.475 million after a recent relocation to London for Mr. Fuller’s job. They purchased a larger, 0.90-acre marsh-front lot earlier this year for $1.35 million, where they plan to build a bigger home upon their return to the U.S. in 2016.

“People here are laid back,” said Mr. Fuller. “They don’t ask you about your work. They don’t care what you do for a living. You really do feel like you’re always on vacation.”

No need to fear faithful reader.  The WSJ will never publish an article like this for the Isle of Palms and for reasons unknown to this editor this makes many on the IOP quite happy.

No Rest at this Room

Public restroom exterior

Public restroom stall

Public restroom hallway

You might think this was a prison restroom as seen on MSNBC’s Lockup.  Nope.  It is the IOP public restroom at the front beach and attractive it is not.  In fact, it borders on awful.  In fairness, though, I have to say it is clean and tidy.

Every resident should “take a tour” of this grand facility.  There is no natural light, no ventilation and it feels very claustrophobic.

Given a choice, would you go here to pee or would you just go in the ocean?

The ATAX fund has over 2 million dollars in it.  ATAX stands for Accommations Tax and it is money generated from from taxes on rooms/houses rented and meals served on the IOP.  This money can only be used for projects and activities that in some way benefit tourism.  So, for example, it could be used to hire an extra policeman but it couldn’t be used to repair City Hall.

Let’s get city council working on putting in a nice restroom.  Give them 10 years to talk and plan and maybe this could get done before 2030.  Maybe.

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

At which of these two places would like to spend an evening:

Freshfield 1Freshfiield 4

Front beach 1Front beach bench

Question:  Does anyone reading this ever spend an evening at the IOP Front Beach Business District (also known as North Charleston at the Beach.)  Why not?  The answer, of course, is obvious.  There is one nice restaurant and a nice pizza place and that’s about it.

The top 2 photos are from Freshfields Village at Kiawah.  The bottom 2 photos are from the IOP front beach business district.

Here is the really sad part.  Had previous city councils had a vision and worked to implement it, we could have had something similar to Freshfield.  But all city council wanted to do was see how many parking spaces they could put on the street.  This, of course, was after they bowed to threatened lawsuits and permitted the front beach BUSINESS district to be built out with  condos instead of actual businesses.

Think for just a moment how nice it would be if there were shops and restaurants and nice pubs with outdoor seating and a large green space where all those cars are parked.  Would non-IOP residents come across the connector in the fall, winter and spring to spend an afternoon or evening there?  Of course they would.

The point is this:  Had city council been proactive instead of reactive, we could have had a really, really nice business district where residents could spend time with each other while their kids played in the greenspace.  Think about this as the election approaches.

The 4 Million Dollar Marina Question

Marina Boat Ramp

Riddle me this Batman:  Why do IOP residents have to pay to use a boat ramp they own?

A little background.  The marina property was bought by the city in January 1999 for $4,100,000 and financed with a 20 year bond.  That bond has been refinanced several times and will be paid off in February 2019.

The city currently owes $1,175,000 on the property.

So this property was bought and is being paid for by the residents of IOP.  Why, then, do we have to pay to launch a boat and park the trailer at a city property that we are paying for?

Charleston County operates 19 boat ramps, 14 of which are large enough from which to launch a boat from a trailer.  As far as I know there is no fee to launch your boat or park your trailer.

I doubt there is a lot of maintenance required for the above ramp, but any maintenance that may be needed could be financed by boaters who do not live on the IOP.

It is past time for the residents who live here to reap some rewards in return for the other inconveniences we cheerfully tolerate.

Old Litter on a Stick

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Here are some pics of old signs that have been up for years and years.  Not only are they ugly to look at, they are no longer relevant.

The IOPNA died a slow, peaceful death over 4 years ago and thus has not picked up a scrap of trash since then.  I have never seen the IOP Marina out picking up trash, but perhaps they do.  If so, my hat is tipped to them.  For that matter, the only people I have ever seen picking up trash was the old IOPNA.  They seemed to do it about 3 times a year with no appreciation from the community or any the short term rental owners on Palm Blvd whose easements were full of trash.

More importantly, just what is the purpose of these signs?  They absolutely do not keep people, especially daytrippers, from leaving trash as evidenced by the all the discarded debris that is on Palm Blvd.  I, for one, would be happy to see all of them taken down as they are out of place in a residential community.

Maybe city council could ask the state to take these signs down.  We can only hope.

New Litter on a Stick – aka Free Advertising for Your Business

Palm Blvd-Windjammer

21st Ave - Dunes Properties

Waterway Ave - IOP Marina

Palm Blvd 2 - Windjammer

As if we don’t have enough signs polluting our lovely island, these recently appeared.  As always, they are of the beautiful stamped metal design probably produced at a state prison.

I have not seen any group clean a street since the long dead IOPNA regularly cleaned up Palm Blvd over 4 years ago.  My hat is tipped to the Windjammer for taking on Palm Blvd. as it is a veritable dump of daytripper trash.  (As a somewhat funny aside, one time we were cleaning it up one Saturday morning and Doug “I love Duke” Thomas found a pair of thong underwear!  I seem to remember him handling it with a stick…)  If the Windjammer regularly cleans this street they certainly deserve this sign.  If they don’t, or if any of the others don’t, these signs need to come down.

Every Summer Morning

Car on sidewalk

If you get up early in the morning you will see this everyday during the summer season.  I could post 15 other photos just like the one above.  Always on Ocean or Palm Blvd and invariably at a house that is being rented.

Who doesn’t know that you don’t park your car on the sidewalk?  Yeah, no one.  But the visitors go and do it anyway.

Here is the best part.  Many times I have seen a police car drive right by.  Now I am not saying the owner should be hauled off to the Charleston County Detention Center on Leeds Ave, or even given a ticket.  But couldn’t the officer at least stop, knock on the door, and tell the owner to get off the sidewalk?  And if he has to do this again there is gonna be a ticket.

I could be wrong, but I don’t think the police are that busy at 5 or 6 am.

By doing nothing, it appears the city does not care.  If it doesn’t care about this relatively minor law, at what level do they draw the line and start caring?  Seems like a good question for our city council.

Noise Complaints…or the Death of the Livability Program

What follows are the noise complaints for the past 6 years as reported by the police department.  The first number is the number of complaints, followed by the number of citations written, followed by the percentage of complaints that resulted in a citatation.

2009     196     35     19.9%

2010     241     46     19.1%

2011     221     25     11.3%

2012     194     15      7.7%

2013     193     4      2.1%

2014     170     9      5.3%

I think the numbers speak for themselves!  The livability program started off with good intentions and a bang and is slowly dying.  The numbers show there is still plenty of noise but no citations are being written.  Why is that?  Maybe our city council members need to be asking this question and not some blogger.