Daniel Island is nearing end of community's development
Two years from now, the Daniel Island Community Association will likely have a resident-controlled board, marking the first time in the association’s 22-year history that it will not be governed by the developer.
That topic was among many addressed on November 15 at the DICA Annual Meeting, a summary of the year’s happenings, new projects, financial updates and more. The presentation ranged from announcing the addition of new ping pong tables at the Crow’s Nest in Edgefield Park, to the island’s 2018 charitable giving, to final development initiatives in the pipeline.
SOUND FINANCIAL FOOTING
Speaking first at the session was Jane Baker, vice president of community services for the Daniel Island Property Owners Association. Baker reported that the association had another banner year – with its second successful audit in two years, a well-funded reserve account, zero delinquencies (well below national averages for HOAs), and a growing rainy day fund for unexpected storm events or natural disasters. This year’s DICA dues will increase 2 percent, to $947, but significantly larger hikes are unlikely in the near future, said Baker.
“We’re not seeing anything that would lead us to indicate a trend of anything greater over the next five years, and most likely (it would) be a good bit less,” she added.
This year also brought a stronger code enforcement presence on the island, noted Baker.
“We realize it is challenging to live within a community that’s still under construction,” she said. “…There are a lot of trucks and a lot of workers…We really wanted to keep our builders on their toes and mitigate as much as we can the inconvenience and unsightliness of lots that are under construction, so we did a much better job this year.”
The POA collected almost $15,000 in builder fines on the south end and about $13,000 in Daniel Island Park, said Baker. When it comes to residents, they are at “just about 100 percent compliance,” she added. In 2019, the POA will institute a resident education program to offer reminders about community standards.
In terms of field operations, there were a number of enhancements this year. New pool heaters were added at Pierce Park Pool, making it a year-round amenity, asphalt improvements were completed at the Beresford Creek Boat Landing, and an upgraded central irrigation control system was installed. Enhancements currently underway at Guggenheim Park are expected to be completed early next year. Additionally, permitting is underway for several improvements planned for the waterfront park area at the end of River Landing Drive.
The POA handled some 53 special events in the community in 2018, including the popular Fourth of July festivities, which featured a parade of more than 500 golf carts.
“The Fourth of July event is really becoming one of our marquis events,” said Baker. “It brings the whole island together and people from off island…It’s just a wonderful patriotic event.”
This year, the POA elected not to resume its longstanding Park Day event, and will instead focus on existing programming and adding more smaller neighborhood gatherings moving forward.
“We will continue our events centered around neighborhood parks next year,” added Baker. “We are working towards and are almost ready to sign a contract with a farmers market provider that will be doing pop-up farmers markets within individual neighborhood parks. So basically they will be roving around and will come to you…We’re excited about that!”
DICA BOARD TRANSITION AND 2019 GOALS
On the topic of the DICA board, which currently includes Daniel Island residents Greg Turner and Bob Sauer and three developer representatives, Baker announced that the shift to resident-control will likely take place in late 2020. The turnover is tied to reaching a certain number of housing units on the island with “Certificates of Occupancy.”
“We initially thought it would be in 2019,” explained Baker. “The reason it’s not, several projects were not built that we anticipated would be built by the end of 2019.”
The trigger point, continued Baker, is when 75 percent of the total number of units allowed by the master plan (7500) have Certificates of Occupancy.
“That magic number for DICA is 5625 units,” she said.
For the Daniel Island Town Association and the Daniel Island Park Association, that trigger is likely to happen in 2025.
Baker also discussed the short term rental policy on the island (it follows the City of Charleston ordinance), as the POA office has received “several calls and emails about what’s allowed and what’s not,” she noted.
“The Daniel Island governing documents do not prohibit short term rentals,” Baker continued. “The City of Charleston adopted an ordinance on July 10, 2018, allowing short term rentals under (certain) conditions…I think it’s one of the most stringent ordinances in the country.”
Goals and objectives for DICA in the new year include new ping pong tables at the Crow’s Nest at Edgefield Park, significant median enhancements for Daniel Island Drive, landscape improvements at Mitchell’s Wharf, a major playground overall at Pirate Park, and a mailbox replacement program for DICA’s 1979 mailboxes.
Baker concluded her portion of the presentation with an update on the Daniel Island Community Fund and Foundation. A campaign underway through the end of the year is offering matching fundraising dollars (up to $5000) for charities supported by the Foundation. Visit www.dicommunity.org for a list of non-profits participating.
Daniel Island Company President Matt Sloan addressed audience members in the second half of the presentation, offering updates on a variety of projects underway or planned for the near future.
“This is my 22nd year of helping play a role in these POA meetings,” said Sloan at the start of his remarks. “The first one was at Bishop England.”
Back then, the vast majority of the island was undeveloped, so residents had many questions about what was coming and when.
“And now, standing before you this year, you’ll see when I walk through this we’re kind of done with development,” he continued. “At least our end of the construction process here, which is building roads, water and sewer and parks, is very much nearing completion – sooner than you might realize.”
The island’s original master plan was approved by the City of Charleston for a total of 7,500 housing units, but Sloan reported that the actual build-out number will be closer to 6,300.
A few residential development sites remain, he noted, including one in the area of Robert Daniel Drive that will feature a possible mixed use project of apartments and commercial space. Another 90 housing units are planned by an independent developer for a 20-acre site adjacent to Fairbanks Oaks Allee. A first phase of lots in Captain’s Island in Daniel Island Park sold out 18 months ago. Further development there is expected next year.
A few pockets of residential development remain on the island’s south end – one at the end of Dunham Street in Cochran Park (22 units), four lots at the end of Pierce Street, and a new section known as “The Cove” at the end of Village Crossing Street along the Wando River. Sloan called The Cove “a neat little peninsula property” with “some interesting views.” Homesites will be released there early next year. A project known as “River Landing Village,” developed by East West Partners, is still slated for the area near Children’s Park, added Sloan. That will be a mixed use high end condominium project.
On the commercial end, Sloan reported that a site formerly set aside for the now defunct Daniel Island Performing Arts Center (DIPAC) is being reviewed for a possible event venue.
“As the feasibility studies were completed on (DIPAC), eyes were bigger than stomachs in terms of capital raising,” he said. “So it’s not gonna happen in its original form. The site is owned by others. They’re interested in doing a smaller scale event space that could be a community theatre one night, a Bar Mitzvah another night, a wedding the night after. So, instead of having a stand alone thing that’s single purpose, that’s what they’re interested in studying. They were involved in the original concept to make it a performing arts center so that weighs heavily on them. They are committed to try and do something that brings a good use back to the community.”
Two new hotels are also in the works for the island, said Sloan – a Home 2 Suites is currently under construction on Fairchild Street and a Courtyard Marriott is planned for the site next to Starbucks and Bin 526.
“We’ve operated here for a very long time with only one hotel, so the demand is certainly there,” he said.
As he has stated at many DICA annual meetings over the years, Sloan would also still like to see a waterfront restaurant and entertainment venue happen on the Wando River shoreline at the end of River Landing Drive.
“I’ve been saying that since 1996,” he told those gathered. “And obviously I’ve not delivered on that, but this is the closest we’ve been.”
An expansion of the self-storage and boat storage facility at the end of Seven Farms Drive is also in the works, he said, as well as a new senior housing facility known as “The Overture,” and the extension of Farr Street.
“Our goal is to have frankly not just all of our infrastructure in place by this time next year on the south end, but on the north end as well. It’s an ambitious goal. But those are our marching orders and we’re well underway.”