Capt. Sam's Spit legal trail

Legal actions surrounding properties or permits in the vicinity of Capt. Sam's Spit have been underway for at least five years. Currently, they are:

DECIDED: A Charleston County master-in-equity judge denial of Kiawah Partners' request to be returned the deed to a 4.5-acre beachfront parcel adjacent to Beachwalker Park and along a planned access road to a proposed development on Capt. Sam's Spit. The decision can be appealed or individual rulings reconsidered.

PENDING: In the S.C. Supreme Court, a permit decision for a half-mile-long revetment along Kiawah River to support an access road to the proposed development. The court has now heard this case three times and issued two conflicting earlier opinions.

PENDING: In S.C. Administrative Law Court, a permit decision on a sheet pile wall associated with the revetment and access road. The decision has been stayed pending the Supreme Court decision.

PENDING: In S.C. Administrative Law court, a permit decision on a Kiawah River community dock for the proposed Capt. Sam's spit development.

Source: S.C. Environmental Law Project

The two sides in the battle over Capt. Sam's Spit disagree over the impact of the latest court decision.

Developers say the decision is inconsequential to their plans to build 50 homes on the spit while opponents say it could be a pivotal win for a place prized by generations.

Kiawah Partners last week was denied a request to have a tract near the spit returned to it from the Kiawah Island Community Association. The beachfront parcel adjacent to Beachwalker Park might or might not block a planned access road to the spit.

The partners say they want the property to develop, that the access road wouldn't cross it. But opponents say an overlay of the plan with the Beachwalker Park tract suggests the road is not doable without crossing the tip of the property or disrupting the park.

"This ruling does not affect our ability to access Capt. Sam's," said Mike Touhill of Kiawah Partners.

"It's certainly an obstacle," said attorney Amy Armstrong of the S.C. Environmental Law Project, which is representing a group of island property owners who oppose the development.

Either way, the battle is far from over for the 150-acre beach and dunes at the tip of Kiawah Island near Seabrook Island.

Three more court rulings are pending. Legislative or legal battles over the future of the spit have been underway for at least five years.

The 4.5-acre tract that Kiawah Partners was denied had been set aside in early development plans as a "common ground" beach house for employees. The deed transfer to the community association was "a scrivener's error and it is rightfully ours," Touhill said.

The group could appeal the ruling. Touhill said the group will "explore its options" about further legal action but would not comment specifically.

Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744