“June is bustin’ out all over,” and Sea Pines is bustin’ out too, with resident property owners, family and friends of property owners, short term vacationers and daily visitors. As this week’s Island Packet’ reporting demonstrates, Hilton Head and Sea Pines have become a favored destination for the migration from the North to the Southeast, with many more properties being sold for long-term residences, rather than short term investments.
So what does this mean for Sea Pines? As I have noted before, a fully built out, fully occupied Sea Pines is the new “normal”. Yes, some property owners are identifying “problems” with this new reality, but most of these really are not “new” – with more people populating our community, old problems just appear to happen more often. Is being stopped in the left “pass holder” lane because a visitor without a pass or seeking directions is being helped by our CSA gate staff really a “new” issue? A parking space at the Beach Club or Tower Beach was hardly a given at peak periods. Haven’t our leisure trails always been crowded during the summer months, with a mix of residents and visitors, not all of who know or follow the polite “rules of the road.” Let’s face it – visitors on vacation are not going to be nearly as cognizant of all of our rules – or admittedly, fully caring – as those of us who reside here more permanently would, but that’s really nothing “new”.
I can assure you that CSA is constantly looking at reasonable steps to address these issues to the best of our ability within the limitations of our staffing resources and finances. We placed a “full time” attendant at Tower Beach earlier in the Spring, who will continue well past Labor Day through the Fall — many more months than in the past. We’ve added more signage in the Greenwood corridor from the gate to Sea Pines Circle, and when staffing resources permit and traffic requires, we have an extra staff member available to direct traffic to the appropriate lane. We will continue to work to repair, and where possible, widen our leisure trails. Awaiting the long-ordered parts to fix the bike gate at North Sea Pines Drive, as staff is available we are posting a gate attendant during daylight hours – although it has been extremely disappointing to hear the too many stories of extremely rude visitors and property owners who appear unhappy even with the simple request by staff to provide identification to demonstrate eligibility to enter Sea Pines through that gate. We’ve arranged for an alternative overflow parking lot, located at Hilton Head Prep which provides nearby beach access and bathroom facilities, exclusively for Sea Pines property owners and their guests. We adopted, and within our staffing resources, will enforce more effective tools to obtain better compliance with our land use management rules not only from full and part-time residents, but from short term renters and those landlords they rent from.
As you can see, most of these “fixes” require additional staffing personnel, and we’re doing the best we can to fill the existing openings in our Security Team, recognizing that with the new “normal” an even larger security force is needed to maintain our quality of life. Of course, given the well-documented pressures on labor forces in Hilton Head, these will all require additional revenue to support the increased labor costs.
To be clear, NONE of these steps can or will eliminate all of the problems we have always encountered – at best we hope they can reduce the occurrences. So we all may need a fresh look at our situation to accept the new “normal.” Perhaps we will be less annoyed if we start thinking of the left lane at the Greenwood Gate not as a “through lane,” but rather the “faster” lane (hopefully in most cases). And if we simply plan for a 5 (or so) minute wait to exit Sea Pines at the Sea Pines Circle at any hour of the day (much as we probably planned our morning commutes to work assuming the worst of traffic), we can be pleasantly surprised when it is a much shorter, or no wait.
Let’s not forget that some of those visitors using our gates, streets and leisure trails are likely future buyers of our homes, so we need to be “neighborly” in dealing with any “shortcomings” in their behavior while they are enjoying Sea Pines on their vacation. Anything to help lower the anxiety of living in the fully-built, fully occupied Sea Pines 2021 is worth a try!
We’re holding our June CSA Board meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, June 29 at 10 am. As usual, this Zoom-oriented meeting will be available for public viewing at www.SeaPinesLiving.com/live and you can submit your questions to the Board and Staff via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and your questions will be addressed at the end of the session. In addition to Staff and Committee reports, the principal issue we will be taking up is whether to adopt “electronic voting” for our upcoming Board of Director elections. I urge you to attend if you can, or to watch the video replay at your leisure if you can’t.
While we don’t have any Board or committee meetings scheduled for the summer months, I can assure you that the several issue-oriented task forces we have created will continue to work to find solutions to our revenue issues, parking and transportation matters and noise concerns. It is my hope that early in the Fall we can consider each of their recommendations for meeting the challenges of the “new normal” in Sea Pines.
Please feel free to contact me at Chairman@csaseapines.com with any questions or concerns. We always appreciate your continued interest in and support for our work.