January 20, 2024

Toby Cox, The Post and Courier

Captain Sams Spit vulnerable again as potential legal dispute brews over who controls it

Despite more than 15 years of conservation efforts to preserve Captain Sams Spit and five rulings from the S.C. Supreme Court that confirmed the spit’s importance as both a natural and public resource, the sandy piece of land still isn’t safe from development.

This time, it’s a potential loophole in a decadelong agreement between the town of Kiawah Island and the developer that brings Sams Spit once again under legal scrutiny.

The 2013 Amended and Restated Development Agreement between the town of Kiawah Island and developer Kiawah Resort Associates expired on Dec. 4, 2023. According to the town, the developer did not fulfill two obligations outlined in the contract. The developer disagrees.

The town, Kiawah Island Community Association, the Coastal Conservation League and the S.C. Environmental Law Project say the agreement requires the developer to:

  1. Transfer ownership of some highlands on Captain Sams Spit to the community association.
  2. Protect the remaining highlands with deed restrictions.

These actions would protect the spit from development efforts.

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