The Captain Sams Spit Saga:                                              Preliminary Subdivision Plat Approval

On July 6, 2022, the Town of Kiawah Island Planning Commission extended the approval of a preliminary subdivision plat.

The plat, initially approved in 2015, lays out plans to construct 50 single family homes on this 190-acre dynamic, teardrop-shaped isthmus located on the southern end of Kiawah Island, surrounded by the Kiawah River, Captain Sams Inlet and the Atlantic Ocean. While it doesn’t allow for any development to occur on its own, it leaves the door open for future development – a decision that would be catastrophic to this shifting island.

Aerial view of Captain Sams Spit


On August 4, South Carolina Environmental Law Project filed an appeal on behalf of PreserveKiawah, Inc., a non-profit group comprised of Kiawah property owners, challenging the decision.

“We must do everything we can to ensure that the Spit remains a protected resource for current and future generations of South Carolinians who benefit from having such a valuable natural area to recreate in and enjoy,” said Lead Attorney Amy Armstrong. “The preliminary subdivision plat is a necessary precondition for these ill-advised development plans that SCELP has been fighting for nearly 13 years. Not only has the plat approval expired, the plan cannot even be accomplished as proposed because of the significant changes to the Spit over time, as anyone who visits the Spit frequently is keenly aware.”

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