J.D. McAllister of Folly Beach has won The Post and Courier’s Golden Pen award for May for his letter to the editor “Keep private seawalls off public beach.”

Mr. McAllister was responding to a Post and Courier article about a Folly Island homeowner’s attempt to build more private seawalls on the public beach. He wrote:

“The present high-tide line on that area of Folly Island is about the same as it was in the early 1985 (before Hugo in 1989). This readily obtainable piece of public information makes reasonable people wonder why such a house was built or why someone would buy it.

“The Corps of Engineers, prior to the 1992-1993 beach renourishment (known in legal documents as the Folly Beach Shore Protection Project), promised in a public meeting that there would never be any building allowed on the lots seaward of the lots fronting East Ashley Avenue.

“To this end, the Corps obtained, by deed, perpetual easements from those lot owners. The purpose of the easements was to give the City of Folly Beach the right to ‘operate and maintain a public beach’ on the property.”

He added: “The easements provided that ‘no existing structures may be modified nor shall any additional structure be constructed on the land except for’ a dune walkway.”

The letter concluded: “Is it too much to ask of DHEC’s Ocean and Coastal Resource Management office, the Army Corps of Engineers, the real estate brokers and closing agents, and the title insurance companies for these 14 houses to devise a plan to return the public beach to the public? These houses, along with their seawalls, rocks, boulders, sandbags, septic tanks, and other debris, should be removed immediately from the beach.”

Golden Pen winners are invited to an annual luncheon with the editorial staff.