Hilton Head Plantation gate toll still in effect

bheffernan@islandpacket.comDecember 10, 2012 

Some Hilton Head Plantation property owners behind on their association dues are still being charged a toll to enter the gated community, despite a ruling by a Beaufort County judge in September.

Judge Marvin Dukes wrote in a temporary injunction Sept. 26 that the association's policies and bylaws do not give it authority to charge the toll as a way of collecting long-overdue assessments.

However, Dukes' injunction applied only to fees charged to Patrick and Janelle Dodd, who sued the homeowners association in an attempt to end the $10 daily toll and $50-per-vehicle fee for their guests. The Dodds settled the lawsuit Oct. 15.

Hilton Head Plantation has continued to charge the toll to others who are two or more years behind on their dues.

And apparently, the toll has worked as intended.

Community manager Peter Kristian said the number of delinquent homeowners is down to "a handful" from about 40 in October. The majority of those still in arrears have worked out plans to pay down their debts, he added, but a few are still paying the daily tolls.

Hilton Head Plantation has about 4,200 properties and a population of about 10,000. Annual dues of $1,002 pay for amenities, which include armed security guards, road maintenance and access to recreation areas inside the gates.

The tolls are not intended to recoup all dues, Kristian said. They are charged merely to prod those with delinquent accounts into payment arrangements.

"It is our wish that those who are paying the toll sit down and work with us," Kristian said.

Since the toll was announced in August, Kristian said, the association has collected tens of thousands of dollars in past dues. He said he is not sure how much money is still owed or how much has been raised in tolls.

Kristian said the association and the Dodds came to "an amicable resolution to the issue" in October. Mark Berglind, an attorney with Vaux & Marscher who represented the Dodds, confirmed that the dispute had been settled out of court.

Attempts Monday to reach the Dodds for comment were unsuccessful.

Follow reporter Brian Heffernan at twitter.com/EyeOnHiltonHead.

Related content:

Ruling casts doubt on Hilton Head Plantation gate toll, Oct. 2, 2012.

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