The “Merry Month of May” has started off with some very nice Spring weather – and the ongoing increase in occupancy of our Sea Pines properties. Traffic counts and gate pass distributions through the first four months of 2021 are significantly ahead of 2019, the last “pre-COVID19” full year. With Spring weather and increased occupancy of Sea Pines, your Board continues to pursue different ideas and proposals to adopt to “Sea Pines 2021,” while assuring that Sea Pines will continue to be the premier community in Hilton Head and retain the amazing quality of life we all treasure.
To that end, I have appointed three different special CSA “task forces” of Board members and CSA Senior Staff, each of which is meeting regularly to consider these matters on an expedited and timely basis.
With the passage of the Critical Infrastructure Referendum in January, CSA has the obligation to prioritize and plan for the use of these new and dedicated funds over the short, medium and longer term. While we have always had a good idea of the major projects that need to be addressed, determining which projects require the most immediate attention — and why — will initially be in the hands of a joint Critical Infrastructure Task Force of members of our Maintenance, Enhancements and Major Projects Committee (MEMP) and our Finance Committees, with CSA Senior Staff in support. Sam and I intend to keep you regularly informed as this Task Force moves forward and we finally tackle the long-standing underfunding of our critical infrastructure requirements.
The passage of the Critical Infrastructure Referendum provided the funds needed to meet our long-term needs “in the ground” – rebuilding and maintaining our roads, bridges, leisure trails, drainage system and storm water facilities. But we must recognize that our annual assessments are still falling well short of what we need to maintain appropriate staffing levels – particularly in our CSA Safety and Security and Maintenance departments – needed to address the occupancy levels we are seeing today and anticipating for the foreseeable future. And we must pay competitive salaries sufficiently attractive to bring the quality candidates to the South End of the Island. Because we must raise more revenue than our current assessment levels, gate fees and other miscellaneous sources are able to provide on a sustainable basis, the recently appointed Revenue Task Force of Board members and CSA senior staff have been analyzing our long-term operational needs, and considering various and numerous areas where we can raise additional revenues. All potential revenue sources will be on the table for consideration, and we will not avoid seeking more funds from those whose activities may be creating the greatest additional needs. I have asked the Revenue Task Force to provide proposals that will allow the Board to introduce new revenue resources well before the end of this year – so that we can “staff up” to assure that we retain a safe, secure, well-maintained, high-quality lifestyle within our Gates.
Increased occupancy in Sea Pines has also highlighted the lack of adequate parking on many of our streets for the number of vehicles that are entering the community. We need to balance the desire for property owners and their guests to park more cars than may be accommodated on their driveways with the need to maintain a safe environment on every street for cars, trucks and, on occasion, emergency vehicles. This has become a problem not only near the beach, but throughout many of our neighborhoods, where the narrow streets simply will not accommodate ‘on-street’ parking and where parking on grassy areas is simply inconsistent with the neighborhood aesthetics. A new Task Force of CSA Board members and CSA Staff is developing proposed guidelines that we can adopt well before the end of this year to resolve this problem.
In sum, we recognize the challenges presented by the increased occupancy of our community by new full-timers, by part-timers who are using their residences more regularly, and by short-term renters who are now finding many new vacation properties farther from the beach to be attractive alternatives. I assure you that your CSA Board and Management team are actively working to ensure that the “new” Sea Pines retains the incredible qualities that brought so many of us here as full or part-time residents. We welcome all suggestions on how we can achieve our goals.
The CSA Board of Directors will meet on Tuesday, May 25, with the public session starting at 10 am. The agenda can be found here. You may watch the live-stream event at www.SeaPinesLiving.com/live. And as always, we will be happy to respond to any questions you may submit to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to or during our meeting. And I welcome any questions to my email at Chairman@csaseapines.com, with a promise to respond.