Island’s future unveiled at annual meeting

***image1***More than a hundred Daniel Island residents caught a glimpse Thursday of how the Island might develop over the next decade. The roar of applause indicated the news was good.

Following the annual business meetings for the Daniel Island Park Association and the much larger Daniel Island Community Association, Daniel Island Company Chief Operating Officer Matt Sloan presented residents gathered at Providence Baptist Church with an overview of how Daniel Island has evolved thus far and where it’s heading.

This spring will mark 10 years since the first residence was sold, according to Sloan, and in that time, the island community has gone from a neighborhood to a growing town. Real estate values climbed higher in the past two years than Sloan ever expected, he told residents. Though home sales have slowed and prices have begun to level off this year, there are no indications that this bubble will burst, he said.

Commercial development has taken off at an encouraging clip, Sloan said. The next major development will be a new headquarters for local technology firm Benefit Focus, set to begin construction this week. That’s expected to bring 500 jobs to the island.

The Daniel Island Company is working with a national firm to attract some major retailers to the island that would draw people from all over the region, boosting existing retail commerce on the island, Sloan said. The proposed site for this mixture of retail and residential development, which might include a small movie theatre and other family entertainment, is the triangle of undeveloped land bordered by the Mark Clark Expressway, River Landing Drive and Island Park Drive.

Over on the Wando River, south of the planned Governor’s Park and north of the State Ports Authority property, the developers hope to create a marina. Until recently, state and federal regulators had said the shellfish beds in that stretch of the river would prevent marina development, Sloan said. But now the word is those beds will never be reopened because of the port, and so a marina may be possible after all. Sloan said his company plans to file an application in the next few months.

Regarding Governor’s Park, Sloan said it seems unlikely the city of Charleston will begin the project any time soon. So the Daniel Island Company plans to begin talks with the city about what can be done to move this along, Sloan said.

Sloan predicted that the SPA property may become high-end residential development, which would only benefit the island, he said.

At least two new lower-priced rental and ownership residential developments are planned. And of course Sloan addressed the controversial Humanities Foundation’s 72-unit affordable apartment complex under construction in the center of the island.

Heading off what many said they felt might be an onslaught of criticism from residents, Sloan and Daniel Island President Frank Brumley both apologized for poorly communicating with residents during the planning of this project and promised to a better job in the future regarding all development on the island. Sloan admitted this project was not the optimal solution to creating affordable housing on the island, but said it was the best plan considering the federal financing that was available.

"I did not personally anticipate this level of public outcry over this," Sloan said.

He urged residents to accept that the development is coming and embrace it. He said the project has the potential to be a national model for mixing residents with a wide range of income levels into a planned community.

Many residents at the meeting seemed receptive to that sentiment. On the other hand, the Daniel Island Neighborhood Association, a residents’ group independent from the development company has a complaint and an appeal, both against the city and related to the Humanities project, pending in Berkeley County state court.

In other news, residents in the Daniel Island Community Association are poised to have a resident on the group’s board of directors for the first time. Historically, the board has included only Daniel Island Company employees. Residents interested in being part of a nominating committee for the residents’ seat have until Nov. 21 to send a letter saying so to Jimmy Bailey, vice president of community services with the Daniel Island Company. That committee will have a month, beginning Nov. 28, to select candidates to go on a ballot. Association members will vote in late January, according to Bailey.

Residents also heard a report regarding the Daniel Island Community Fund, a philanthropic fund generated by a transfer fee new homebuyers pay when purchasing a home on the island. That’s .25 percent on the sale of homes in the Daniel Island Park Association and .5 percent on the sale of homes in the Daniel Island Community Association.

The fund is managed by a board that includes residents. Chair Arthur Quinby made a plea for volunteers to help with any of the projects planned for this year. Those include spending $130,000 to renovate 20 dilapidated residences in Cainhoy, buying and distributing Christmas gifts to more than 400 students at Cainhoy Elementary School, matching funds raised by the local Rotary Club for its projects, paying tuition for two students to attend Bishop England High School who otherwise would be unable to attend the private school, supporting the local Boys and Girls Club and possibly creating a program to promote and sustain dental hygiene among children in the Cainhoy community.

Regarding the budget, annual assessments for Daniel Island Community Association residents increased 18 percent. Bailey and Sloan said this was to correct an unrealistically frugal budget from past years and to pay for an increased level of services. They said residents should expect future annual increases to be no more than 3 to 5 percent.


Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555


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