January 15, 2018
Beach Walkover Ordinance
Beach walkovers provide access over the dunes to the beach for residents and visitors. DHEC-OCRM regulates the construction of new beach walkovers and all new boardwalks must comply to their specifications. Walkovers on Kiawah are approved through a joint review process between the Town and Kiawah Architectural Review Board. State (OCRM) regulations do not deal with boardwalks that have fallen out of compliance, which makes it necessary for the Town to regulate this issue.
During the past two storm events, the majority of beach walkovers were damaged or destroyed. It became clear during the recovery process, especially after Tropical Storm Irma, that a revision to the beach walkover ordinance was necessary. The prior ordinance, adopted in 2013, provided up to two years for repairs to be made and did not allow the Town’s Building Department to require the repair of unsafe boardwalks. This year a new ordinance was written and adopted by Town Council on November 7, 2017. The Town believes the new ordinance will shorten the beach recovery time frame after a storm event.
A summary of the new ordinance and changes are detailed below.
1. Boardwalks are now divided into two categories (private and community). The third category (public) was moved into the community category.
2. All new boardwalks must be built to OCRM specifications and terminate no more than 10 feet onto the active beach (No change).
3. Existing boardwalks (all) in disrepair – Owner must repair and/or remove the unsafe portion of the boardwalk within 30 days of notification by the Town. Example: After a storm, an owner can simply cut off the damaged section to allow removal by the Town’s beach debris contractor. This would bring the boardwalk into compliance. (New)
4. Existing boardwalks (all) extending more than 10 feet onto beach – Owner must submit remediation plans within 30 days of notification from the Town. Owner has an additional 60 days after plan approval to complete work and bring boardwalk into compliance. (Was one year)
5. Existing community boardwalks that terminate more than 20 feet landward of the primary dune and are causing the destruction of dune vegetation – Owner must submit remediation plans within 30 days of notification from the Town. Owner has an additional 180 days after plan approval to complete work. (Was two years)
6. Exception – Any owner can appeal a violation to the Building Department within 30 days of receiving notice from the Town of a violation. (Change designates authority to the Town’s Building Department).
If you have questions please contact the Building Services department at 843-768-9166.