Ignorance and incompetence are a toxic combination in a body charged with protecting the community interest. But the Sea Pines Architectural Review Board manifests both in permitting construction of a sea wall for five homes near the beach.
The ARB dismissed all objections because the construction is on “private property.” This is mere pretext, uninformed of the law, inexplicable in light of the environmental damage to be inflicted, and inexcusable for a body charged with protecting the community.
Professor Orrin Pilkey’s May 8 letter to the editor (“Sea Pines sea wall will destroy the beach and quality of life”) confirms the common-sense environmental opposition to the sea wall. The ARB ignored science as well as its own responsibilities.
Prospective damage to the entire beach area, to nesting turtles, to the neighbors, and to community property (the nearby beachwalks) are ample and substantive causes for the ARB to deny this sea wall.
Brushing away Sea Pines residents’ objections because the construction is on private property is duplicitous. In an earlier Sea Pines case, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled in 1987 that the ARB had the power to reject such structures on private property, even on strictly aesthetic grounds.
The court has ruled that property owners submit to the ARB’s power to determine the color of paint on their doors. How can this ARB demand property owners get permits for such repainting while allowing a sea wall to be built over community objections and settled science?
The ARB has shamed and embarrassed itself in permitting this project.
Hilton Head Island
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