BLUE HER N
March 2014 Issue
Publication of the DeBordieu Colony Community Association “DCCA” www.debordieucolony.org
Message From the DCCA President
In the last issue of the Blue Heron, I noted that we were beginning to get our “winter coat” at DeBordieu. Boy, did that statement prove to be so true! But, spring isn’t too far away and another special time will begin for our special place. The DCCA Board has recently revisited – at great length I might add – the questions surrounding Section 22 of our Covenants and Restrictions. These are the issues regarding DCRE’s exclusive listing rights and the right of first refusal for distressed sales. A number of board and non-board members have researched once again whether Section 22 benefits DeBordieu or is detrimental. Practices from other like communities and a prior DCCA Board’s findings and position have been thoroughly reviewed. Interviews have been conducted with various individuals involved in real estate as well as with legal counsel. I am grateful that we have folks who
are willing to take time to listen to various opinions on Section 22 and assist the Board in developing the best conclusion for a path forward. The Board has voted to bring this important issue to a vote of the Owners. The Special Meeting will be held on Saturday, March 15, 2014 in the Colony Room of the Clubhouse. We hope that you will be able to attend. More detailed information is available in the Resource Center on the Association website, www.debordieucolony.org. I encourage all voting members to carefully read the materials in your notice and to please cast your vote on this important community issue.
Respectfully, Dick Rose
Nominating Committee Each year at this time, in accordance with the DeBordieu Colony By-laws, the DCCA Board of Directors appoint a Nominating Committee which is charged with reviewing applications for new members to serve on the Board of Directors. The new members will serve a three-year term commencing on May 3, 2014. The Board members whose terms will be expiring on May 3 include Jim Cooper, David Kossove, Bill Rentz and Dick Schwab.
The Committee began its search by requesting self- nominations via a community email blast in January. The committee will then review its pool of identified candidates considering the immediate and future needs of the DCCA Board and will present a slate of nominees to the Board in the March DCCA Board meeting. The slate will then be included in the proxy for the election of four new Board members at the Annual Members’ Meeting on Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 10:00 AM.
Beach Committee Update: Retreat What does this mean for DeBordieu Colony? There are two basic options for our beach: “do nothing” (retreat) or beach restoration. This article will focus on the option of “doing nothing.” The next article will focus on options for beach restoration. Remember that each article is followed by an open forum conference call. We researched retreat hoping it was a viable option. We openly talked to organizations and experts and read available information. We could not find a single developed beach community on the U.S. east coast that has implemented community retreat. Our intent is to present the detailed facts and potential outcomes as we understand them so that all of us can make an informed decision.
“Doing Nothing” Summary “Doing Nothing” could cost as much as maintaining our beach over the next 20 years with nothing to show for the expense except many negative outcomes. Consider the following: • The bulkhead will fail if we “do nothing”. Under a “Do Nothing” scenario, DCCA will have to continually repair our portion of the bulkhead. If we do not, expect litigation. • It is likely that 30 to 40 houses and portions of DeBordieu
Blvd. will be claimed by the ocean in the next 20 years and The loss of homes and DeBordieu Blvd. will never stop. • There are no viable options to move or buy endangered homes. • Dilapidated uninhabitable houses will clutter the beach, littering the beach with debris, compromising our pristine coastal ecosystem and rendering our beach unsafe at times. • Home prices will be negatively impacted community-wide. • The combined cost of litigation, maintaining the bulkhead and protecting DeBordieu Blvd. could be as significant as restoring the beach. • The potential litigation of “Doing Nothing” could impact your ability to borrow money. • A narrow beach cluttered with debris provides little protection against named storms and less beach habitat for wildlife (e.g., turtle nesting). Before you write off the above comments as hyperbole, consider the following detailed information.
Beach Committee Update (Continued...) “Do Nothing” Details Many environmental groups, universities and other organizations cite retreat as the preferred erosion management tool but offer little guidance as to how retreat might be managed in developed beach communities. For communities lined with private oceanfront homes, condos or other structures, retreat from the coast is difficult from economic, political, environmental and legal perspectives. In fact, retreat will, in all likelihood, hurt the environment. Why are beach communities on the U.S. east coast NOT implementing community wide retreat? What would doing nothing mean to you and I? 1. The basic facts about our beach are not going to change in the next 20 years, so it is likely that: a. The bulkhead will fail. The DCCA will spend money to maintain its portions of the bulkhead until it can no longer do so. b. A significant number of homes (30 to 40) and a portion of DeBordieu Blvd. will be destroyed. The OCRM lines in Figure 1 indicate a large number of homes within the base line and 40 year erosion line. c. The DCCA will have to spend money protecting DeBordieu Blvd. as long as possible so members have access to their property. The cost to maintain access is expensive and might require the board to use emergency or other rights to nourish a portion of the beach to protect access, which would be even more expensive. 2. The DCCA can not assure orderly retreat since the DCCA has no legal right to: a. Require a property owner to remove or move a structure endangered by the ocean or b. Condemn a property.
3. South Carolina law provides many methods for property owners to try to stave off erosion from claiming their home. However, this puts these homes in a precarious position. There is a high probability that a strong storm could wash them into the ocean before they could be removed. 4. The State of South Carolina does have the legal right to require a property owner to remove a structure from an active beach. An active beach is defined as “The area seaward of the escarpment or the first line of stable natural vegetation, whichever first occurs, measured from the ocean landward”. Confused? Me too. Simply put, if the high tide line is under your home, it should be removed. The state has other methods too (e.g., condemn the property, eminent domain). While the state could condemn the property or apply eminent domain, according to the Coastal Conservation League, our legal committee and others, the state has shied away from using those methods and does not have clear proven processes to handle these situations. For example: a. The Town of Nags Head condemned eight beachfront homes in 2009 following a storm that left the uninhabitable structures on the public beach. b. (Figure 2) Three years and millions of dollars later, the state supreme court found that town could not order a home owned by a corporation to be removed from the beach. Despite recent beach restoration, debris from these homes (e.g., exposed septic tanks, broken decks) remains a public hazard. c. Similar “sand rights” lawsuits are pending across the nation in states such as: Texas, Florida, New Jersey, and North Carolina. This illustrates how critical it is for us to address erosion issues before they result in legal issues, safety hazards, and environmental degradation.
Beach Committee Update (Continued...) 5. Property owners could choose not to comply with a retreat strategy and abandon their uninhabitable property. Why might this happen? a. Based on discussions with coastal insurance agents and Lloyds of London (and the 1992 Lucas vs. SC Coastal Council, US Supreme Court Case), property insurance does not cover normal (long-term) erosion; it covers events (e.g., storm, earthquake). This means that a property owner who loses a home to normal erosion loses the entire value of the property (land and building). b. Many of the beach properties are owned by LLCs or trusts. South Carolina laws shield the members of an LLC from litigation and penalties the state might levy. If an LLC’s only asset, the property, is not covered by insurance, the LLC members may be found not personally liable. If an LLC member feels slighted by the community, there is a chance that the property’s owner might choose to “do nothing” – abandon the uninhabitable house on the beach 6. LLC’s may take advantage of DeBordieu’ s dilapidated beach community and purchase the homes on the edge. They could rent them out until they are no longer inhabitable, then they may abandon them and sue DCCA for not protecting their investment. 7. We should expect that “doing nothing” would result in beach property owner(s) bringing litigation against the DCCA. Litigation would be a last ditch effort for someone who is about to lose everything to recoup something- so expect it. This will get very expensive - at potentially hundreds of thousands just to litigate a case (not including settling a case). 8. If a DCCA homeowner’s property is abandoned, is the association liable for the damages to the environment or someone hurt by the debris? Based on input from our legal counsel, the answer is probably not. The association, however, could still face litigation from an external party (e.g., Hobcaw, environmental group, family member) in hopes of getting something out of the DCCA in a settlement. 9. So why don’t we buy the endangered properties? Given the number of properties and the potential cost per property, this option is likely to be as expensive, if not more so, as any option to restore the beach environment. For example: 30 or 40 properties at $500k to $1.5M per property has a price tag between $15M to $60M as compared to sand-only nourishment of around $25M. Since DCCA has no rights to force a property owner to sell or condemn their property, we
can also expect litigation associated with what we should pay for a home, when we should buy a home, and a myriad of other issues. 10. If we can’t buy property, then why not pay to move all the endangered properties? While this option should be less expensive than buying properties, it is not viable for three primary reasons: a. First, there is little room to move an endangered house on its existing lot. It would rapidly be in the same situation b. Second, the impact on community and private landscaping to move a property is substantial. We should not expect a homeowner to remove old growth trees and other landscaping (continually) to allow the movement of a home down the street. The impact to the look and feel of our community would be significant. Because of the impact, we should expect homeowners to fight this option using all the methods at their disposal. c. Lastly, this option requires a property owner to buy a new piece of property, which when coupled with other expenses may preclude some property owners from moving their homes because the cost is too high when compared to just buying a new house. 11. Beach habitat will be lost. As the photos illustrate, the shoreline will march into the community, and even if the houses are removed, their remnants may remain. Nesting sea turtles, shorebirds and other wildlife will not find this a welcoming, natural beach ecosystem. 12. And, when considering how the quality of life might change, imagine the impact on the DeBordieu Club. The Club is considered a focal point and a symbol of the lifestyle of the community. What will the lack of a scenic beach do the ambience? How will “do nothing” impact the revenue generated by weddings, renters, and special events? With the beach no longer part of our amenities, what effect will that have on the Club’s ability to attract new members? In the long term, there could be significant expense to the members for replacing or repairing its infrastructure and amenities such as the Beach Club or the pool with possibly fewer members to support the cost of doing so. The need for significant dues increases would be inevitable, further hindering new membership sales. Ultimately each property owner is responsible for making a choice to either do nothing and live with the consequences or to vote yes in the next committee beach nourishment vote.
Carter Utzig Beach Committee Chair
AR UND THE COLONY
Home and Garden
The DeBordieu Home and Garden Club is hosting a fashion show and silent auction. “Fling Into Spring with Fabulous Fashions” 2014 Annual Fund Raiser: Benefiting Family Justice Center 11:00 AM Thursday, March 27 at the Clubhouse Tickets are $38, which includes a $20 tax deductible donation to benefit the Family Justice Center of Georgetown, our county’s primary resource for battered spouses and children. Advance sign up is required, please call (843) 546-2410 by Saturday, March 22. Please inform us of any food allergies when signing up. For questions, contact Martha Adams – firstname.lastname@example.org, (843) 527-7740 or Reene Flowers – email@example.com, (843) 436-0119. All DeBordieu residents, their guests, and friends are welcome to attend!
Save The Date:
From left to right: Jim Cooper-DeBordieu Colony, Denny Larabree-Prince George, Johnny Morant- Georgetown County Council, Rainer Hengst-Camden Creek, Todd BlomdahlMidway Fire Rescue
Call Martha Adams – firstname.lastname@example.org or (843) 527-7740 or Reene Flowers – email@example.com or (843) 436-0119 to sign up.
Georgetown County Council passed a resolution Tuesday recognizing DeBordieu Colony, Prince George, and Camden Creek at Allston Plantation as nationally recognized Firewise Communities. Above, County Council chair Johnny Morant presents representatives from the three communities with certificates in honor of their accomplishments.
Monday, April 7th at 4 PM on the Blue Heron deck, “Let’s Get Down to the Real Nitty Gritty of Gardening” with guest speaker, Amber Denby.
Spring Fling Saturday, April 12 6:00 - 9:00 PM at the Pavilion April Brings Sunshine, The Masters, Member-Member Tournament, Azaleas, and DeBordieu‘s Spring Fling! Don’t miss this long-standing DeBordieu tradition! Come to the Pavilion and join the fun. Enjoy Pulled BBQ Pork, Grilled and Fried Chicken plus many shared dishes from your DeBordieu friends and neighbors! Cost: $5 per person with a dish • $15 per person without a dish Please call the DCCA Administration Office at (843) 527-4436 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot by April 9. When calling, please specify if you will be bringing a salad, vegetable, casserole or dessert. Serving utensils will be provided. You may pay with cash at the door or charge to your DeBordieu Club account. BYOB - mixers and non-alcoholic drinks available. Hosted by: Pat & Susan Flinn and Chip & Mandy Reames
ARB Update 2014 has started out with a strong increase in construction activity throughout the community. Following is a short list of new home submittals: construction of one new home is scheduled to begin on each of the following roads, Collins Meadow Drive, Colony Club Drive, Lantana Circle, Sweet Grass Lane and Sea Island Drive. Additionally, five new homes are under construction on Luvan Boulevard, three on Old Carriage Loop and two on Wallace Pate Drive.
DeBorDieu Colony 181 Luvan Boulevard Georgetown, sC 29440 www.debordieucolony.org
DCCA ADmiNisTRATiON DiRECTORY Phone: 843.527.4436 Fax: 843.546.8704 email@example.com
Blanche Brown.........................firstname.lastname@example.org Ams, CmCA General manager
stephanie Johnson .................email@example.com Executive Administrator
Brooke Phillips ...................... firstname.lastname@example.org Administrative Assistant
Architectural Review Board............................... 843.527.5033 meg Wilcox ............................email@example.com ARB Administrator
Grounds maintenance ...................................... 843.436.3333 David sapp......................... firstname.lastname@example.org Grounds maintenance manager
Community safety â€œsafety & securityâ€? ................ 843.527.4931 mike Grabarz ....................... email@example.com Chief of Community safety
Amanda Elliott ..........................firstname.lastname@example.org member & Commerical services (decals & barcodes)
GATEHOUsE Phone: 843-546-8520 Fax: 843-546-8532
2014 DeBorDieu Colony
BoarD anD Committee assignments Dick Rose.....................................email@example.com President Glynn Alexander .............................firstname.lastname@example.org Vice President David Kossove ..............................email@example.com Secretary Marianne Mackey ............firstname.lastname@example.org Treasurer / Finance Jim Christian.................................email@example.com Director Jim Cooper ............................firstname.lastname@example.org Architectural Review Board Mason Hogue .......... email@example.com Legal & Regulatory Bill Owen ................................ firstname.lastname@example.org Infrastructure Bill Rentz ................................email@example.com Grievance Dick Schwab .................................firstname.lastname@example.org Director Carter Utzig ................cutzig-BeachComm@sccoast.net Beach Claire Yarborough ...............................email@example.com Director