A letter from Charlie Miner, ASPPPO President, regarding the upcoming referendum

A letter from Charlie Miner, ASPPPO President, regarding the upcoming referendum

Dear Sea Pines Property Owner

While there have been several public meetings describing a proposed referendum, it seems clear that this information has not reached all property owners. So, I would like to take this opportunity to tell the story in more detail.

Sea Pines Resort (SPR) approached the Association of Sea Pines Plantation Property Owners (ASPPPO) with the request that we approve an expansion to the Inn at Harbour Town. There are several reasons for this.

  1. ASPPPO holds the right to approve any increase in the number of these rooms through a court ordered settlement agreement.
  2. SPR wants to make a major investment to bring the Inn up to five diamond / five star standards similar to other first class properties in the USA. They need to add 90 rooms to achieve their plan.
  3. The PGA would also like to see additional hotel rooms for the Heritage Golf Classic.
  4. Harbour Town itself needs some major improvements, which the SPR plans to address. Parking is an example.

ASPPPO and SPR have spent almost two years in discussions on how to achieve this. First, any expansion of the Inn requires a 75+% approval of residential property owners voting. It also requires ASPPPO approval under the settlement agreement.  ASPPPO talked with various property owners and came up with a list of things as conditions for ASPPPO approval. This list was the subject of considerable negotiation, legal study and now, public discussion. It is still evolving. Here are the highlights.

  1. If the referendum passes, SPR agrees to do a number of things within a specific timeframe.
  2. SPR agrees to provide a minimum of $1 million for improvements to Sea Pines. Residential property owners, through the ASPPPO Board, will control these expenditures.
  3. SPR agrees to reimburse ASPPPO for $150,000 in expenses incurred.
  4. SPR agrees to increase its own annual assessment rate by 50%.
  5. SPR agrees to deed over approximately 300 acres of wildlife habitat to the Sea Pines Forest Preserve Foundation.
  6. SPR agrees to a voluntary room charge to benefit the Sea Pines Forest Preserve.
  7. SPR agrees to assure Heritage Farm of its continued operation in its current location through a 10 year lease extension.

There are important additional issues where SPR has pledged their support. These include assurance of resident tee time rights (the covenants are unchanged), an increase to the gate fee and future commercial assessments, and the right of residential property owners to conduct their own referendums without requiring Resort approval.

There are other non-referendum issues as well. The reconfiguration of the Inn will change the existing pool and tennis facilities at Harbourtown. Some of these decisions are still a work in progress. Understandably Harbourtown property owners are concerned about cost and access to such Resort amenities. Hopefully, they will be addressed to our mutual satisfaction through enhanced communication and public meetings.

We hope to have this clarified sufficiently to proceed with a referendum sometime this summer or early fall. We plan to allow time to receive additional input and dialogue through public forums to be sure you can make an informed decision based on the facts.

Our first public forum regarding this topic is scheduled for Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 at the Sea Pines Community Center, the morning session will be held at 9:30 AM and afternoon session will be held at 6:30 PM.

To accommodate those property owners who cannot attend these meetings in person, we will be setting up a webinar for both the AM and PM session of the May 30th meetings. Those webinars will be available live during the meeting and also be available for viewing after the meeting on our website. Information on how to sign up for both meeting webinars will be communicated to you via email as soon as possible.

 

Thank you for your patience.

Charlie Miner
President, ASPPPO Charlie Miner