After a quarter-century under a developer-controlled board, the Daniel Island Community Association (DICA) is on the brink of becoming a property owner-run board. That transition is slated to take effect at the turn of the new year.
On Sept. 8, the Daniel Island Neighborhood Association congregated at the Daniel Island Recreation Center to discuss the exchange. The meeting room was filled to capacity with approximately 30 residents and board members. The seating was narrow but the minds at the table were not.
Since the island’s master-planned community formed in 1996, the Daniel Island Property Owners Association (DIPOA) and the Daniel Island Company have known that this transfer of authority was coming down the pipeline. With DIPOA serving as the umbrella association and Daniel Island Company serving as the developer “declarant,” the two leaderships arranged for this turnover to take place in the near future.
“In a planned community like Daniel Island, we have been, in my opinion, very fortunate to have what’s considered a ‘lifetime developer,’ ” said DIPOA President Jane Baker, who also served as vice president for the past 10 years. “... I think that’s been a great thing for property values on the island.”
Their agreement is contingent on the master plan reaching a certain number of housing units on the island with certificates of occupancy and owned by someone other than a builder. The “trigger point” will terminate the Declarant Control Period when 75% of the total number of units (7,500) allowed by the master plan are occupied.
There are currently 5,597 units that are certified occupants and 28 units remaining to reach the benchmark, according to Baker. She expects the point of occupancy to be achieved by mid-to-late October.
DICA makes up 2,200 single-family homes and townhomes south of I-526. The association is responsible for four amenities, which includes the maintenance of three member-only pools and one boat landing.
The beginning of next month marks the last day for property owners to nominate candidates for six property-owner seats on the DICA board. Nominations began last month, as of Aug. 15, and so far five property owners have been nominated.
All candidates in the running will remain anonymous until after the nomination deadline has concluded Friday, Oct. 1, per Baker. However, Baker did disclose that she has been appointed by Daniel Island Company as the seventh member of the DICA board.
“You’re stuck with me and my team for a little bit longer but I happen to think they do a smashing job so I hope that does not come as a great surprise to you all,” Baker said.
The six-seat election will occur via electronic ballot at DICA’s annual meeting on Monday, Nov. 1. Voters must have one valid email address registered with the DIPOA in order to vote.
Only one vote per property will be accepted. The property owner must vote for all six seats in order for their vote to count, if not, the vote is disqualified.
All DICA property owners have paid their dues with the exception of two delinquencies due to foreclosures. Ten percent of DICA property owners must participate in the election in order for it to be valid and to achieve quorum.
Three seats will have terms of two-calendar years and the other three seats will have one calendar-year terms, as allocated by the new DICA board. The board will meet on a quarterly basis beginning Jan. 11, 2022.
Theoretically, if there are no malfunctions with the voting software, the election results will be available that evening if not by Tuesday, Nov. 2.
Following the election, there will be a two-year control period that gives the Daniel Island Company veto power.
During this time, DICA will have until the end of 2023 to negotiate any issues with the Daniel Island Company, such as the Daniel Island Community Fund and the Architectural Review Board, according to Transition Committee Chair Dave Campopiano.
Over the past four years, the DIPOA has had a clean slate of audits. The only substantial comment the association received was “segregation duties” in reference to a staff of two in their finance department.
“I don’t want to sound Pollyannaish, but I think Daniel Island is pretty freaking well run,” said Bob Sauer, a DICA board member who will complete his second term at the end of the fourth quarter. “We don’t have a lot of major show-stopping issues.”
By the end of 2021, the DIPOA’s reserves will be overfunded by $365,000 with a budget of approximately $1.5 million.
“I haven’t seen wiggles, breakages or ruptures in the management of the processes that affect our island,” Sauer added. “... We’re in pretty damn good shape as an organization, financially, to handle the next five to 10 years of operation for Daniel Island.”
The DICA board will be fully independent by Dec. 31, 2025. As for the Daniel Island Town Association and the Daniel Island Park Association, the DIPOA projects their transfer deadline to happen by December 2025 with full autonomy by 2027.