Understanding the DICA transition
With the transition to resident control estimated to happen sometime between 2019 and 2020 for the Daniel Island Community Association (DICA), which represents the homes on the south side of the island, many questions have arisen regarding what that means.
In terms of DICA, a document titled, “Daniel Island Governance Information,” that is posted on the Daniel Island Neighborhood Association (DINA) website, “The right of residents to elect a majority of the members of its board of directors occurs when 75 percent of the 7,500 Units permitted by the Master Plan have a certificate of occupancy and are non-builder owned or December 31, 2025, whichever comes first. Currently, the 75 percent number is expected to be reached sometime in 2019 or 2020.”
Jane Baker, vice president of community services for the Daniel Island Property Owners’ Association (POA), explained that it is anticipated that the 75 percent goal will be reached sooner rather than later.
“We anticipate that the DICA turnover will occur in 2019,” said Baker. “Within 90 days of reaching 5625 Units having certificates of occupancy and being owned by someone other than a builder, residents will hold an election and have three of the five board seats.”
Although, according to DINA President Clyde Rush, for two years after the transition, there will be little change.
“In the master plan it states that even though the Daniel Island Company (DIC) will not have control of the board, they have the right for two additional years to approve or disapprove anything,” said Rush. “If you really want to know when residents will actually have complete control in DICA, it’ll be sometime in 2021 or 2022.”
However, even when the DIC relinquishes control, DICA will still hold little authority when it comes to making significant decisions for the island, explained Rush.
“Once they have complete control, they will have control of the three community pools and that’s it,” said Rush. “Those are exclusively the property of DICA. So the DICA board will have the decision on whether to buy new furniture, if they have a lifeguard, when they close the pool—they’ll have all that.”
And a bit more, explained Daniel Island Company President Matt Sloan. When DICA residents assume control of the DICA Board they will have decision making authority over the DICA assets, which, in addition to the community pools, also include “a boat ramp and numerous parks and open spaces within the south end neighborhoods,” he said.
“Many of the expenses associated with operating the community as a whole are ‘shared’ and managed by the Daniel Island Town Association,” stated Sloan. “The most obvious example would be landscape maintenance around the Mark Clark Expressway. The resident-led DICA Board would represent that association in these shared decisions.”
According to Greg Turner, one of two island residents currently serving on the DICA board, DITA is ultimately under the control of the DIC until December 31, 2027, as is also stated in the Master Plan.
“There’s a lot of misperceptions that think that the residents will control it,” said Turner. “That’s not true. The developers still remain in control until 2027 unless they want to give it up earlier…A lot of the major decisions still come out of the town association as opposed to necessarily DICA…Yes, there will be a change. It should be seamless. It’s not really an earth shattering change that some people think it’s going to be.”
While the DIC will relinquish control over DICA in 2021 or 2022 and the right to appoint all DITA board members in 2025, it will still maintain the power to approve or disapprove any action, policy or program put forth by all associations, including DITA, which governs the significant decisions on the island, such as landscaping, events and maintaining the parks and trails, until December 31, 2027.
The document mentioned earlier further states, “The Daniel Island Company has the right to appoint all members of DITA’s board of directors until December 31, 2025, and DITA has full and complete authority for a portion of the Daniel Island community, including the associated budget, under the shared control and expense of the three Associations (for example, POA administrative costs and costs associated with the maintenance of Guggenheim Plaza, Children’s Park, bicycle paths and walking trails) until January 1, 2026.”
Although DICA will hold minimal power when it comes to making major decisions for the island, the transition is significant because DICA is the only Daniel Island governing body that will reach the point of transition, explained Rush.
“The 75 percent number only applies to DICA,” said Rush. “It’s a 90 percent number on the other two. It’ll never get there.”
On January 1, 2026, each of the three boards—DITA, DICA and DIPA—will appoint one person to a new Joint Committee. There will also be two at-large members who are elected by the households.
“After January 1, 2026, that Joint Committee will approve DITA’s shared expense budget, but until December 31, 2027 the Daniel Island Company will retain the same right to disapprove any action, policy or program of the Association, the Board, and any committee as Daniel Island Associates has with respect to DICA and DIPA,” the document reads.
Baker added that on January 1, 2028, once the developers completely relinquish control, a new structure will be followed.
“At the first annual meeting after the developer control period has ended, residents will elect six of seven board members,” said Baker. “This information can be found online at our website in the DICA Bylaws under Governing Documents.”
It may seem complicated and confusing but, according to Rush, the structure is a necessity in maintaining the island’s reputation.
“In 2028, that will be when the island is completely under the control of the residents,” said Rush. “I understand the logic of it. Let’s say the DICA board decided that they didn’t want to plant flowers anymore or take care of trees. Well that would impact the entire value of the island. So all of the budgets for those items are controlled by DITA, which is in turn controlled by the DIC until 2028.”
Daniel Island resident Shawn Pinkston, an at-large board member for DICA, emphasized the importance of maintaining resident representation, even if they do not hold significant control.
“While the Daniel Island Company and the POA have done a wonderful job in terms of taking care of the community, and the pools, and the trails, and the parks and everything else, it’s still nice to have a voice from the homeowners who are elected and accountable to our neighbors,” said Pinkston. “The more the community association is turned over to the residents, then you do get your neighbors, your friends, people who are not just working in the community but are also living here, and visiting the parks and walking on the trails as a part of the association. It’s that benefit of having a local voice.”
If interested in learning more about the transition and the governing bodies on Daniel Island, visit the “Documents and Links” tab on http://www.dineighborhoodassociation.org/. The Daniel Island Governance document referenced in this article, as well as many other helpful documents, are linked.