Hurricane

Looking for a better beach? This popular one has been approved for some TLC

Pine Island Beach after a “mini-beach renourishment” which brought 2,000 cubic yards of sand to the beach.
Pine Island Beach after a “mini-beach renourishment” which brought 2,000 cubic yards of sand to the beach. Peter Kristian

More sand will be coming to Hilton Head Plantation after taking “a major hit” from Hurricane Matthew and Tropical Storm Irma, according to the November newsletter for the plantation.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the plantation’s application to place additional sand on Pine Island Beach, and to install a boardwalk from the Dolphin Head Recreation area to the Pine Island Ithmus, the newsletter said.

Pine Island Beach is open to the public, accessible by boat or through Hilton Head Plantation for residents and guests of the plantation.

Peter Kristian, general manager for Hilton Head Plantation, said the renourishment permit allows 18,000 cubic yards of sand to be placed on the beach over five years. He said it’s unclear exactly how much sand will be needed, noting the plantation is aiming to stay within $100,000.

The town of Hilton Head last year agreed to reimburse the plantation up to $100,000 a year for beach renourishment — as an extension of other beach renourishment projects on the island — for three years.

“Anything over $100,000 is on our dime,” Kristian said.

Originally, the town planned to set aside sand and truck it to the plantation to renourish Pine Island Beach, but residents objected to it, Kristian said. As a compromise, the town and plantation agreed the community would perform its own renourishment and be reimbursed by the town.

Kristian said under a “three-year understanding,” the town agreed to reimburse the plantation up to $100,000 each year, bringing the total possible reimbursement to $300,000. But he added there is no guarantee the plantation will receive the total amount because it must approach the town each year with a funding request.

The town has upheld its end of the bargain for the first year, reimbursing the plantation $100,000 for a larger beach renourishment project that began last year, Kristian said. The most recent “mini-renourishment” that brought about 2,000 cubic yards of sand to Pine Island Beach was funded by the plantation and will not be reimbursed, he said.

The construction of the boardwalk will be funded by the plantation, though the cost is unclear, Kristian said. Plantation officials also are having conversations with the town to find out what additional approval — besides DHEC and the Army Corps of Engineers — is needed to construct the boardwalk, he said.

The newsletter said the “second installment” of beach renourishment is expected to begin early next year, but Kristian said there is no set timeline. The plantation is trying to construct the boardwalk and add sand to the beach at the same time, he said.

Pine Island wasn’t the only beach to take a hit from Irma. The town extended its South Island Emergency Beach Fill project after the Sept. 11 storm caused more damage to Sea Pines beaches. That project was completed Wednesday, town officials said.

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