The Seabrook Island POA proposes to relocate the Inlet by blocking the present Inlet with a wall of sand and excavating a new inlet through Captain Sam’s Spit. In particular, bull dozers would build a 2,250' long x 150'-200' wide x 10' tall wall of sand on the oceanfront beach between Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island, blocking the present location of Captain Sam’s Inlet. At the same time, bulldozers would dig a 15' deep ditch through Captain Sam’s Spit, connecting the Atlantic Ocean and the Kiawah River. This would serve as the new inlet. The purpose of the project is stated as erosion control on Seabrook Island.
Captain Sam’s Spit and Captain Sam’s Inlet are largely pristine areas of great ecological significance. Captain Sam’s Spit is an undeveloped barrier island located along the southwestern end of Kiawah Island. The Spit is notable in that it lacks human improvements, with the exception of minor improvements associated with a nearby county park. The general vicinity, including the Inlet, is otherwise in a completely natural and pristine state typical of a barrier island and dune area. The area proposed for excavation provides critical habitat utilized by the endangered piping plover for foraging and rooting, as well as for other important bird species.
Our position is that DHEC Staff’s decision to grant this permit is inconsistent with the Agency’s prior position that the best and highest value for the Spit is in a natural and undisturbed state for use by the residents of South Carolina, and that this project unnecessarily impacts critical habitat for the piping plover. DHEC has now twice denied efforts to introduce manmade construction to the Spit, citing as concerns: impacts to the natural functionality of the Spit and Inlet; harm to rare and threatened wildlife; modification of the untouched character of the area; and disruption of recreational opportunities. Each of these concerns are implicated by the POA’s proposal to bring heavy equipment onto the dunes and beach for months, to excavate an intertidal sand bar in the Kiawah River, to form a 10' tall wall of bulldozed sand, to block the naturally functioning and shifting Inlet, and to excavate a ditch through Captain Sam’s Spit.
The evidence of a need for this project is lacking. Specifically, there has been no evidence presented that erosion is taking place that could threaten improved properties; therefore, there is no present threat to properties on this part of Seabrook Island from erosion. In addition, South Carolina regulations, R. 61-101.F.5 and R. 30-13, provide a number of specific limitations and requirements for this type of project to take place on the active beach. This project has a number of problems as it relates to those regulations.
Administrative Law Judge Phil Lenski conducted a trial in this matter in November of 2012. We have submitted our post-trial briefs and are awaiting an order from the court.
We are challenging a permit to construct a groin on the South end of Pawleys Island. Groins are known to cause negative impacts on downdrift beaches by depriving those beaches of sand. We are representing the Sierra Club, League of Women Voters of Georgetown County, and the Coastal Conservation League.
The S.C. State Ports Authority is seeking to construct a new cruise ship terminal at Union Pier in the historic district of Charleston. On behalf of a coalition of groups, SCELP has filed a challenge to the permit that authorizes construction in the Administrative Law Court.
The Angel Oak was putting out leaves and dropping acorns for a thousand years before Columbus first stepped on shore. It is the oldest tree east of the Rocky Mountains. For those who have not had the pleasure of visiting the Tree, its grand statute is difficult to comprehend. The main trunk is over 25.5 feet in diameter. Extending out from this trunk are several main branches that are themselves the size of other ancient live oak trees. The branches expand out and sag to the ground in many spots under their own great weight. In total, the tree spreads out over 17,100 square feet of earth.
Jasper Station, LLC, owns approximately 80.0 acres in Jasper County, of which 30.0 acres are “isolated” wetlands. Because the wetlands are deemed “isolated” by the Corps of Engineers, no Clean Water Act Section 404 permit is required. However, a coastal zone consistency certification is required before filling in the 30.0 acres of isolated wetlands as part of Jasper Station’s stormwater permit.
MRR Sandhills, LLC, proposes to build a municipal solid waste landfill on the North Carolina border in Marlboro County. DHEC has issued two preliminary approvals: (1) demonstration of need; and (2) consistency with the county solid waste plan.
Marlboro County has appealed both of these approvals and they are pending in the Administrative Law Court. We filed a motion to intervene on behalf of Citizens for Marlboro County. Marlboro County ships its garbage to the Lee County Landfill and argues that there is no need for this landfill, and we are supporting the County’s argument.
Greenville Water System (GWS) owns and operates two 30-inch raw water transmission mains for the purpose of transporting raw water from the Table Rock Reservoir in the South Saluda River to the GWS treatment plant in northern Greenville County. GWS proposes to construct an additional 7.8 mile, 42-inch raw water transmission main from the Table Rock Reservoir in Pickens County. The proposed construction route will cross the South Saluda River, Duck Creek, Matthews Creek, and numerous tributaries to the South Saluda River and Duck Creek for a total of at least 26 total river crossings. The proposed route will also cross three wetland areas associated with Matthews Creek. The construction of the project, according to GWS, will result in the filling of 0.332 acres of wetland and 0.2451 acres of open water. DHEC issued a water quality certification and permit for construction in navigable waters for the project.
Smith Land Company purchased a lot near Litchfield Country Club in Georgetown County. Plats for the lot show a portion of the lot as under water, and Smith Land Company obtained a wetland delineation saying that other portions of the lot were wetlands. The pond and wetlands are part of a Carolina Bay, a unique wetland formation. After deciding that the wetlands and pond are “isolated” and not subject to the jurisdiction of the Corps of Engineers, Smith filled in the wetlands and pond.
In the early 1990s, we represented the Georgetown County League of Women Voters in the appeal of a permit for 22 docks for a development at the south tip of Litchfield Beach. We settled the case for reduction to 11 docks and a conservation easement over property south of the development. John L. Irvin #7, LLC, filed this current action claiming ownership of the property covered by our conservation easement. The associations are residents of the development and an adjoining development. We have been allowed to intervene on behalf of the League and the associations.
Roper Pond, LLC, owns a 15-acre tract on Trenholm Road in Richland County, bordering on the Town of Arcadia Lakes. Roper Pond proposes a high density apartment complex on the tract. The tract includes a nice shallow pond full of lily pads that is part of the Gills Creek watershed and runs through Arcadia Lakes. The development would excavate the pond to convert it to a stormwater detention pond. DHEC issued a stormwater permit to the developer and we appealed.
C & D Management Company applied for and obtained a permit to construct a construction and demolition waste landfill in the City of Rock Hill. York County and a local resident, Barbara Polk, appealed. Barbara Polk later withdrew as a party and the Nazareth Baptist Church was allowed to intervene to replace Ms. Polk.
Deertrack Golf, Inc., owns a golf course in a mature Surfside Beach development known as Deerfield Plantation. Deertrack has entered into a contract to sell the golf course property to Bill Clark Homes. Bill Clark proposes to develop 287 lots on half of the golf course property (the other half will be developed later). The POA's members are homeowners in a single-family home development that is surrounded by the golf course property. Most of the homes border the golf course. There is a long history of problems with flooding, and it appears that both the golf course and the residential development were built on former wetlands. DHEC/OCRM issued a storm water permit and coastal zone consistency certification for the development project. We have appealed for the POA.
Kiawah Development Partners (KDP) applied for a permit for a 2,750-foot revetment on the Kiawah River at the south end of Kiawah Island. The purpose of the revetment would be to stop erosion and to stabilize the shoreline so that KDP can build a road to develop the narrow spit of land known as Captain Sam’s Spit.
OCRM denied most of the request, allowing only a 270-foot revetment along the edge of the parking lot at Beachwalker Park, the only public access on Kiawah. KDP appealed, and we appealed the 270' permit.
This is the on-going appeal of the renewal license for the low level radioactive waste landfill near Barnwell. The Chem Nuclear landfill has a convoluted history and is a symbol of SC’s status as the nation’s dumping ground. Opened in 1971, it is one of three low-level radioactive waste landfills in the country. It was limited to regional use and slated for closure in 1992, but the closure deadline was extended twice by former Governor Carroll Campbell, and then former Governor David Beasley scrapped the planned closure and opened the facility to the entire nation.
Under a law promoted by former Governor Jim Hodges, it is now limited to waste from the Atlantic Compact states of New Jersey and Connecticut, and a limited amount from other states.
In 1990 when Myrtle Trace, a community located near Conway, was developed, a buffer area was set aside as a nature preserve and mitigation for wetlands filled by the developer, International Paper (IP). This land also served as a buffer area between the Myrtle Trace residential development and the Conway Hospital complex. The property was later sold to another developer, Hospital Land Partners Realty, who proposed to develop the 8.5 acre tract of land that was set aside by constructing an assisted living facility. SCELP assisted a neighborhood group in overturning this permit and we were successful. DHEC and the Court of Common Pleas ruled that the 1990 set-aside of the land was binding and denied the requested permits.