The Kiawah Island developers who want legislators to change a proposed state law so that they can build on accreted beach should look at the east end of Folly Island to see the absurdity of their desire.
The most recent, and only, Beach Management Plan for the City of Folly Beach was adopted in 1992. The baseline in that plan follows the traditional revetment line along the normal high tide line during the height of the erosion cycle in the 1980s. Nothing was to be built seaward of this line.
Notwithstanding this baseline (and many other contractual obligations among the city, the Corps of Engineers and the S.C. office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, pursuant to the federally funded renourishments), the City of Folly Beach allowed 14 houses to be built seaward of the baseline on accreted beach.
With the return of an erosion cycle, these houses protrude onto active public beach. Walk between the Washout and the old Coast Guard area at low tide (even with a third major renourishment project, which cost more than $30 million; it is not possible to pass in front of some of the houses at high tide) and it is quickly apparent what was done to destroy the beach on Folly Island.
If the developers want to build on accreted beach, will they also agree to never ask for seawall permits and to remove the houses when the next erosion cycle comes?
Responsible people who are concerned and knowledgeable about coastal beach erosion and accretion talk about a policy of “retreat.” Surely the developers and politicians of South Carolina do not think that the Atlantic Ocean can be successfully managed with a policy that is the opposite of retreat.
East Ashley Avenue