Car Accident Attorney inSeabrook Island, SC

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CHSA Law, LLC Fighting
for Your Rights in Seabrook Island, SC

When an accident comes without warning, even the most prepared person can fall victim. One moment, you're walking to a restaurant after a long day of work. The next moment, someone else's negligence and carelessness change your life forever. Personal injury victims aren't just the victims of negligence they suffer from pain, concern over family and ability to work. Often, these victims do not have the luxury of worrying about work and family, because they're clinging to life in an ER. Without a personal injury attorney in Seabrook Island, SC, by their side, they mistakenly provide official statements to insurance agencies and accept settlement offers that only account for a fraction of what they have lost.

If you have recently been hurt in an accident, you may be asking questions like:

  • "What happens now?"
  • "How will I pay for my hospital bills?"
  • "Will I get fired from my job?"
  • "Will I be able to function independently ever again?"

With more than 100,000 car accidents in South Carolina every year, we hear these questions every day. Our hearts hurt for those who are suffering due to no fault of their own. Accident victims are not only left with questions like those above; they're also forced to deal with costs associated with medical bills, car repair, follow-up appointments, and loss of income.

While reading these facts can be bleak, there is a silver lining. South Carolina law dictates that those who are found responsible for your pain and suffering may be obligated to pay for your expenses. CHSA Law, LLC exists for that exact reason to make sure that negligent parties are held accountable. We fight on your behalf to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. We aren't afraid to go toe-to-toe with greedy insurance agencies who do not have your best interests at heart.

Our overarching goal is to protect your rights, and our law firm is uniquely positioned to do so, with attorney Michael Dill‘s vast experience in the auto insurance industry.

Personal Injury Attorney Seabrook Island, SC
Service Areas

We offer comprehensive vehicle representation for a number of different automobile accidents, including:

  • Distracted Driving
  • Drunk Driving
  • Rollovers
  • Multi-Vehicle Accidents
  • Automobile Defects
  • Roadway Defects
  • Speeding
  • Reckless Driving
  • Uninsured Motorists or
    Underinsured Drivers
  • Rear-End Collisions
  • Car Rental Accidents
  • RV Accidents

If you know you have been involved in one of the car accidents above, the time to seek experienced representation is now. Generally, car accident victims have three years from the date of their injuries to file a personal injury claim in Seabrook Island. That time frame can be reduced in certain circumstances. When a wrongful death is involved, surviving family members must take action in a similar time frame.

The bottom line is that speed is of the essence in these cases. When we sit down with you to learn more about your accident, we will help you understand South Carolina law so that you are fully informed before taking legal action. The sooner we can dig into the details of your case, the sooner we can fight for your rights.

We Recover Compensation
When You Need It Most

The law states that personal injury victims are entitled to compensation for the full extent of their injuries. Why? Because the primary goal of injury compensation in Seabrook Island, SC, is to help the victim return to the state they would have been in, if the accident never occurred. In the literal sense, doing so isn't possible. The law cannot reverse the incredible suffering and pain that accompanies a severe injury. As such, personal injury victims are entitled to receive a financial reward that equals those damages.

How much compensation you get depends on the facts and nuances of your case. With that said, you may be able to recover compensation for the following needs:

  • Rehab-Related Expenses like
    Physical Therapy
  • All Medical Expenses
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Long-Term Disability
  • Lost Wages and Loss of
    Future Income Earning Ability
  • Disfigurement
  • Emotional Distress
  • Mental Anguish

If you or someone you love was recently injured in a car wreck, contact our office today to speak with a personal injury lawyer in Seabrook Island, SC. The sooner you call, the sooner we can begin fighting for your rights and the compensation you need.

 Personal Injury Lawyer Seabrook Island, SC The-Cobb-Dill-Hammett-Difference
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What Our Clients Say

The Role of Negligence in Your
Seabrook Island Personal Injury Case

If there were one common truth that we can count on, it's that life is unpredictable. Sometimes, accidents just happen. However, when recklessness and negligence come into play in situations where accidents cause personal injuries, the negligent party can be held responsible under South Carolina law. For victims to have a chance at compensation, the party responsible for the accident must be proven to be negligent. When a party or parties are negligent, they fail to take appropriate care when performing an action, like driving an automobile.

 Car Accident Attorney Seabrook Island, SC
At CHSA Law, LLC, our team works to prove negligence
for our clients by proving:
  • The defendant had an obligation to look out for your safety.
  • The defendant did not uphold that duty.
  • There was causation between the defendant's breach of duty and the injuries you sustained.
  • You suffered real damages.

After an accident occurs, it is critical to take certain steps to help prove the responsible party's negligence and maximize the compensation you rightly deserve.

Steps to Maximize Compensation
After an Accident in Seabrook Island, SC

All too often, car wreck victims don't get the compensation they need because they failed to take the proper steps after their accident. Don't let this be you. By having comprehensive records of your car accident and its aftermath, you have a much better chance of protecting your rights and maximizing compensation for your bills and injuries. If you have been injured in an automobile accident in Seabrook Island, follow these steps before doing anything else:

1.

Go to a Doctor

First and foremost, seek medical attention for any injuries that you have sustained. You might not realize it now, but your injuries may be more complex and serious than you think. Damage like head trauma and back injuries are not easy to diagnose on your own and sometimes take time to surface. A full medical examination will help reveal the extent of your injuries, lead to a quicker recovery, and help document the injuries you sustained. This last part is essential to prove the significance of your injuries.

 Law Firm Seabrook Island, SC
2.

File an
Accident Report

The second step you should take is to report your injuries to the correct authorities. The authorities change depending on the circumstances of your accident. If you were involved in a car wreck in Seabrook Island, you should file your report with the highway authorities and any associated insurance agencies. Regardless of where you were injured and how the wreck occurred, the biggest takeaway here is to file a report. That way, you have an established, official record of the incident that can be referred to down the line.

Personal Injury Attorney Seabrook Island, SC
3.

Preserve Evidence
if Possible

Personal injury cases in Seabrook Island are won with evidence. It might sound like the job of the police, but it's important that you try to secure any evidence that you can collect relating to your accident, especially if you are injured. Evidence in auto accident cases tends to disappear quickly. By preserving evidence soon after the accident, it can be used in court. For example, if you cannot get a witness statement immediately after your wreck, their testimony may come across as less reliable. Completing this task on your own can be quite difficult, especially after a serious accident. That's why it's so crucial to complete the last step below.

 Personal Injury Lawyer Seabrook Island, SC
4.

Contact a Lawyer

One of the most intelligent, important steps you can take after a car accident is calling a personal injury attorney in Seabrook Island, SC. At CHSA Law, LLC, we will assist you with every step of your personal injury case to ensure that your rights are protected. That includes gathering all types of evidence relevant to your case. When we investigate your accident, we will determine the person who is liable for your losses. If there are multiple liable parties, we will hold each one accountable for their negligence.

Every personal injury case is different, which is why experience counts when it comes to car accident compensation. Our track record speaks for itself, but no number of past results will guarantee a perfect outcome. What we can guarantee, however, is our undivided attention and fierce dedication to your case, no matter the circumstances. Unlike other personal injury law firms in Seabrook Island, you can have peace of mind knowing your best interests always come first at CHSA Law, LLC.

 Car Accident Attorney Seabrook Island, SC

Common Car Accidents in
Seabrook Island, SC

At CHSA Law, LLC, we have years of experience handling some of Seabrook Island's most complicated car accident cases. Some of the most common cases that come across our desks include:

Drunk Driving Accidents

Drunk driving is a major problem in the Lowcountry. Drunk drivers are incredibly irresponsible and regularly cause fatal accidents because they drive physically and mentally impaired by alcohol. Drunk drivers have slower reaction times, delayed reflexes, and impaired vision, making them unfit to operate a motor vehicle. In auto wrecks, drunk drivers often come away with minor injuries compared to their victims, which is a bitter pill to swallow

Individuals who make a choice to drive drunk cause accidents by weaving in and out of traffic, going over the speed limit, failing to see pedestrians, and ignoring traffic laws. They may run cars off the road, rear-end vehicles, hit them head-on, or even cause a vehicle to roll over.

Drunk driving accidents in Seabrook Island care result in horrible injuries, such as:

  • Burns
  • Broken Bones
  • Head Injuries
  • Brain Trauma
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Soft Tissue Injuries
  • Mental Anguish

If you are injured or have lost a family member due to an impaired or drunk driver, our team of personal injury lawyers in Seabrook Island can help. We have extensive experience with car accident cases and can explain your rights in simple, plain terms. It is important to know that you can file a personal injury suit regardless of the criminal case outcome against the drunk driver.

 Law Firm Seabrook Island, SC

Rental and RV Accidents

When accidents happen in RVs or rental cars, people are often unsure of their rights. This confusion is understandable since there are additional insurance and legal issues that must be accounted for in these cases.

Fortunately, the lawyers at CHSA Law, LLC, have the experience to help you with complex car accident and RV cases. Attorney Michael Dill worked in the auto insurance industry before becoming an attorney. He also has an undergraduate degree that includes a focus on risk management and insurance. When it comes to rental and RV accidents, we review each client's case with a fine-tooth comb. Once we understand your accident, our team will explain your rights and options in easy-to-understand terms.

If you were involved in an accident while driving an RV or a rental vehicle, you may find that your auto insurance company, the rental car's insurance company, and the other party's insurance carrier will try to deny your claim. Situations like these call for a bold, experienced personal injury attorney in Seabrook Island, SC, who isn't afraid of large corporations and insurance groups. We have extensive experience with insurance companies and know how to interpret policies. As your advocate, we will ensure that you receive the coverage and compensation you are entitled to, even if an insurance company says you aren't.

We can help you seek compensation in cases that involve:

  • Injuries from Boating Ac
    cidents
  • Rental Cars Injuries
  • RV Accidents
  • Jet Ski Injuries
  • Golf Cart Injuries
  • Rental cars
  • Boat accidents
  • ATV Accidents

Victims of RV and rental car accidents (as well as their families) may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost income or benefits. Our personal injury lawyers work with life-care planners, medical experts, and economists to determine the amount of compensation you will need.

Personal Injury Attorney Seabrook Island, SC

Texting While Driving and
Distracted Driving Accidents

We live in a time where just about everyone has their eyes glued to their phones. Often, this happens in situations where the person needs to be paying attention, like when they're driving an automobile. Taking a few moments to glance down at your phone can cause irreparable damage to other drivers. That is why texting while driving is illegal in Seabrook Island. Typically, this crime is met with a minor traffic violation. However, when a distracted driver injures another motorist, you can seek compensation through a legal suit. If you have been injured in such a situation, our team can help you hold the negligent driver accountable for your losses and damages.

Texting takes drivers' minds and eyes off the road and their hands off the wheel. Because they are not paying attention to their driving,

They miss crucial road signs and information such as:

  • Changes in the Flow
    of Traffic
  • Traffic Lights
  • Traffic Signs
  • Work Zones
  • Bicyclists
  • Lane Changes
  • Incapacitate Cars and
    Motorists

At CHSA Law, LLC, we represent injury victims in Seabrook Island who are involved in all types of car accidents, including distracted driving. We work with vigor to recover the full amount of compensation you and your family will need to recover. You can rely on our attorneys for dedicated, representation throughout your case. Unlike some distracted driving lawyers in Seabrook Island, we will assist you with all aspects of your accident, including access to good medical care if needed.

 Personal Injury Lawyer Seabrook Island, SC

Unflinching Legal Advocacy. Compassionate Care

At CHSA Law, LLC, we are proud of our commitment to our clients. We pledge to provide them with the highest quality legal representation in Seabrook Island and treat them with respect, empathy, and compassion. If you are suffering from the results of a dangerous car accident, know we are here to assist.

We will help you seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and additional losses. Surviving family members may also recover funeral expenses and compensation for the personal loss of a loved one, including the deceased's future income and benefits. When you or your family's health and financial security are on the line, trust the best choose CHSA Law, LLC.

CONTACT US

Latest News in Seabrook Island, SC

First-ever committee addresses Seabrook Island short-term rentals

SEABROOK ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - A first-time special committee on short-term rentals is hearing Seabrook Island residents’ concerns and hopes for the island’s future.The Seabrook Island Town Council established a Special Committee on Short-Term Rentals on Jan. 4 with the members being appointed on Jan. 23.The committee’s purpose is to study short-term rental activities and trends within the town. This could involve limiting the number of short-term rentals, limiting the ownership of multiple short-term rentals,...

SEABROOK ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - A first-time special committee on short-term rentals is hearing Seabrook Island residents’ concerns and hopes for the island’s future.

The Seabrook Island Town Council established a Special Committee on Short-Term Rentals on Jan. 4 with the members being appointed on Jan. 23.

The committee’s purpose is to study short-term rental activities and trends within the town. This could involve limiting the number of short-term rentals, limiting the ownership of multiple short-term rentals, what fees are reasonable, etc.

Seabrook Island is home to 2,345 family homes and villas and 588 of those are short-term rentals, according to the town.

With about 25% of the island being taken up by short-term rentals, some residents say there are issues that need to be addressed.

“Agitating alligators,” Seabrook Island resident John Lagna said during Wednesday’s first public forum. “Secondly, speeding. Thirdly, ignoring stop signs... Lastly, ignoring amenity rules.”

However, not everyone agrees.

“There are a number of factors that have entered into it, but short-term rentals seem to be an easy target,” resident Debra Hardick said.

The committee says they are referencing data from peak COVID-19 times from when the number of renters significantly increased.

Resident Paul McLaughlin says the growth of the island has impacted the overall sense of community.

“If you don’t know who your neighbors are, it’s just not a very good feeling,” McLaughlin said.

The committee is made up of a town councilman, homeowners and even short-term rental owners who have been on the island for around a decade or more. They say the town has previously had an Ad Hoc Committee to address this topic, which was allowed to be done privately, but they want this one to be public to increase transparency.

Darryl May is the only town councilman on the short-term rental committee while the other seven are residents.

“So, the goal of this committee is to develop a set of proposals for the town council to pass an ordinance,” May said.

During the public forum, some shared ideas for what that ordinance may or may not look like.

“I think we should allow renters,” resident Ann Laporte said. “I think we should allow a minimum of three nights. No more than that.”

Resident Bill Boissonalt has another idea, adding that the town shouldn’t still be referencing data from peak COVID in 2020.

“I just don’t believe that we need any new regulations regarding the overnight stay, the capped rentals, based on history,” Boissonalt said.

As far as what the committee thinks the ordinance could look like, May says he doesn’t want to jump the gun.

“I won’t hazard to guess because we’re just starting out this process and we want to have a very open mind,” May said. “But we do anticipate getting an ordinance by about June.”

There are still three more public hearings over the next two weeks and the committee encourages Seabrook Island residents and those who rent on the island to speak.

Click here to read more about past short-term rental data and sign up for public comment.

Read below for the details on the next three public forums:

Public Forum #2

Public Forum #3

Public Forum #4

Copyright 2024 WCSC. All rights reserved.

The Best Islands In South Carolina, According To Our Readers

From celebrated golf courses to unspoiled beaches, these destinations have it all.South Carolina is often referred to as the Palmetto State, so named for the abundance of the trees in the area, but it could just as easily be dubbed the Barrier Island State. With 34 barrier and tidal islands peppering its shoreline (more than any other state ...

From celebrated golf courses to unspoiled beaches, these destinations have it all.

South Carolina is often referred to as the Palmetto State, so named for the abundance of the trees in the area, but it could just as easily be dubbed the Barrier Island State. With 34 barrier and tidal islands peppering its shoreline (more than any other state except for Florida), South Carolina spills over with natural wonders, beautiful beaches, and unique destinations to explore. In our 2024 South's Best awards, readers voted on some of the very best of them. Here are the best islands in South Carolina, according to our readers.

The South's Best 2024

01 of 10

Hilton Head Island

With 12 miles of public beaches, more than 24 championship golf courses, and around 250 restaurants, Hilton Head's numerical stats alone prove why it's one of the state's most beloved islands. But the real magic, of course, belongs to its community—a mix of transplants and born-and-breds who are sure to make you feel right at home, whether you're sampling local oysters at Hudson's on the Docks or watching the boats come in at Shelter Cove Marina.

Explore Hilton Head

02 of 10

Isle of Palms

There’s nothing sleepy about this mile-wide destination just a short drive from downtown Charleston, where the activity and restaurant offerings belie its small size. Catch a concert at beachfront venue The Windjammer, play golf or tennis at nearby resort Wild Dunes (where you can book a stay in one of the property’s two inns or numerous vacation rentals), or shake out your towel on a sliver of the island’s six miles of sandy beaches for a leisurely day in the sun.

Explore Isle of Palms

03 of 10

Kiawah Island

While much of this tree-shaded barrier island is accessible only to those staying at Kiawah Island Golf Resort (either at The Sanctuary hotel or in one of their many rental properties), Beachwalker Park on the island’s west end is home to one of the state’s most beautiful beaches. Here, you’ll find both ocean-fronting shoreline and river views and can rent chairs and umbrellas for a no-fuss beach day. On your way, pick up deli sandwiches from The Station, an old-school convenience store in Freshfields Village, for an easy picnic.

Explore Kiawah Island

04 of 10

Edisto Island

This sea island about an hour’s drive from Charleston feels like a throwback in all the best ways. You won’t find high-rise hotels here, and the wildest nights are Tuesdays and Thursdays from the end of May through the beginning of August when the Edisto Island Lions Club hosts bingo (no booze allowed). For seasonally driven fare made with locally sourced ingredients, settle in for a meal at Ella and Ollie's (pictured above). The area’s crowning jewel is Botany Bay, a 4,600-acre nature preserve with nearly three miles of unspoiled shoreline, where erosion has left dead trees in its wake, resulting in a beautiful, otherworldly span referred to as the “boneyard beach.”

Explore Edisto Island

05 of 10

Sullivan’s Island

Just two-and-a-half miles long, Sullivan’s is a secret that Charleston locals are keen to keep. First settled in the late 17th century, the island can claim an embarrassment of riches when it comes to both historical significance and natural beauty. The wide beaches are pristine, and there’s nary a trace of touristy kitsch on Middle Street, the town’s main drag—just a handful of memorable eateries (we’re partial to The Obstinate Daughter’s house-made pastas) and well-curated shops (visit Sandpiper Gallery to peruse the work of local artists). The bitty beach town is big on curb appeal too: thoughtfully maintained historic homes and storybook cottages with flower-swamped trellises line the streets that crawl toward the beach.

06 of 10

Folly Island

About a dozen miles from downtown Charleston, this 12-square-mile barrier island is best known for being home to Folly Beach, a laid-back surf town that departs from the Holy City’s tucked-in approach in favor of flip-flop casual. With the Folly River on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, there’s no shortage of opportunities for waterfront fun: Paddle through tidal creeks with a local outfitter, stretch out on the sand (there are six miles of beachfront here), or cast a line from the historic Folly Beach Pier, which recently reopened after extensive renovations.

Explore Folly Beach

07 of 10

Hunting Island

Just a 25-minute drive from downtown Beaufort, explore the seaside charmer's wilder side at Hunting Island State Park (South Carolina's most popular state park). Here, five miles of unspoiled beaches unfurl along the Atlantic and sandy trails wind through dense maritime forest.

08 of 10

Daufuskie Island

As the crow flies, the southernmost of South Carolina’s barrier islands is just miles from Savannah and Hilton Head, but it might as well be worlds away. Daufuskie is accessible only by boat (the official ferry offers four shuttles from Bluffton a day, five on Fridays), which is likely one of the reasons its 500 or so residents have been able to so carefully preserve its natural environment and its rich Gullah history. And while the island remains untouched in many ways, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see or do here: Tour the island with sixth-generation Daufuskie native Sallie Ann Robinson for an education in Gullah culture; go for a horseback ride on the beach; shop indigo-dyed goods at Daufuskie Blues; and cap off the day with a plate of deviled crab at Old Daufuskie Crab Company.

Explore Daufuskie

09 of 10

Fripp Island

About 20 miles from Beaufort, Fripp Island is a 3,000-acre designated wildlife sanctuary, home to more than 175 species of birds, plus endangered loggerhead turtles who use its beach as a nesting ground. The private island is accessible only to homeowners and those staying in vacation rentals, but once you're here, there's plenty to do, from guided kayak eco-tours to pickleball and golf.

10 of 10

Seabrook Island

Right next door to Kiawah Island, Seabrook has stunning saltmarsh vistas and celebrated golf courses, along with a full-service equestrian center that offers guided horseback rides. Its nearly four miles of beaches are private, accessible only to residents and those renting, though Bohicket Marina (just before the property’s gates) welcomes anyone and everyone to enjoy its river views. Snag a table on the upper deck of Salty Dog Cafe to tuck into fresh seafood with one of the area’s most memorable sunsets.

Editorial: Seabrook Island, other beach towns, should respect Johns Island growth boundary

There are several powerful reasons why Seabrook Island Town Council should reject a proposed annexation that would pave the way for a new boat dock, private clubhouse, boathouse, pool house and 10 rental cottages near the town's northern limits.The additional boat and car traffic would create more congestion on Betsy Kerrison Parkway in particular and Johns Island in general, as well as more pollution to the otherwise pristine Bohicket Creek. But the biggest reason Town Council should reject the 18-acre annexation is the dangerous pre...

There are several powerful reasons why Seabrook Island Town Council should reject a proposed annexation that would pave the way for a new boat dock, private clubhouse, boathouse, pool house and 10 rental cottages near the town's northern limits.

The additional boat and car traffic would create more congestion on Betsy Kerrison Parkway in particular and Johns Island in general, as well as more pollution to the otherwise pristine Bohicket Creek. But the biggest reason Town Council should reject the 18-acre annexation is the dangerous precedent it would set, a precedent that would erode the rural character of southern Johns Island.

Decades ago, local governments, led by the city of Charleston and Charleston County, agreed on an urban growth boundary across Johns Island and other areas. The big idea was to ensure their zoning and other policies were synchronized to allow suburban development to continue to spread, but only up to a point, beyond which the existing rural nature would be preserved. The boundary has generally worked well, but as with so much other conservation work, it needs to be embraced and reaffirmed by each new generation.

Seabrook Island's potential move would mark one of the first and most dramatic annexations by a municipality into the rural portion of the island; if it succeeds, it almost assuredly wouldn't be the last, and it could hasten the unraveling of the boundary line — and increase development pressures on the shrinking amount of land on the rural side of the boundary.

Robby Maynor of the Coastal Conservation League agrees that annexing and rezoning this property on the rural side of the urban growth boundary would set a disastrous precedent on the county's Sea Islands and could lead to annexation battles such as those that are playing out along the most rural stretches of the upper Ashley River, whose rural historic district remains in jeopardy from encroaching homes, stores and the traffic they bring. Approving the marina project would be "like kicking an anthill and hoping you don't get bit," he says.

The case that the property's owner and other supporters have made for the annexation is that it would give Seabrook Island future control of the site and limit future development there, according to reporter Warren Wise. But the proposal appears to us as designed to facilitate development, not to curb it. Annexing the site, which is next to Bohicket Marina, would allow it to tie into the town's sewer system.

Unfortunately, Seabrook Island's Planning Commission has recommended annexing the site and rezoning it for a mixed-used development. We urge Town Council members to reject that move when they consider the matter Aug. 22.

As Mr. Wise noted, the project is a scaled-down version of a 30-year-old Andell Harbor project that state environmental regulators rightly and mercifully rejected. While this is smaller, with only about 4 acres of development near the creek and the rest set aside for open space, it still would represent an unwelcome and disturbing encroachment into the rural area between the barrier islands of Kiawah and Seabrook and the suburban growth from the city of Charleston.

Last year, we urged elected officials, neighborhood leaders and planners with Charleston County and the two beach towns to come up with a mutually agreed-upon overlay for their shared area at the southern tip of Johns Island. That overlay should guide future development toward the kinds of uses — and the sizes and scale — residents of all three jurisdictions would most like to see, and help address growing real estate pressures in a way residents prefer. We repeat the call for regional cooperation, and Seabrook Island's rejection of this annexation would be an important first step.

Code enforcement reports show violations of short-term rentals on Seabrook Island

SEABROOK ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - The debate on short-term rentals continues on Seabrook Island as the special committee met with code enforcement and the property owner’s association to see how much of a burden short-term rentals are causing them.The purpose of the committee is to study short-term rental activities and trends within the town. This could involve limiting the number of...

SEABROOK ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - The debate on short-term rentals continues on Seabrook Island as the special committee met with code enforcement and the property owner’s association to see how much of a burden short-term rentals are causing them.

The purpose of the committee is to study short-term rental activities and trends within the town. This could involve limiting the number of short-term rentals, limiting the ownership of multiple short-term rentals, what fees are reasonable, etc.

Seabrook Island is home to 2,345 family homes and villas and 588 of those are short-term rentals, according to the town.

Town councilman Darryl May, who’s also the chair of the committee, said they have heard over 450 comments both written and at the public forums.

He said they show how divided the island really is over whether or not to cap the number or push any more enforcement.

“There probably should be better enforcement of our rules, nuisance-type rules, on the island,” May said. “More understandable enforcement. Things of that nature.”

Town of Seabrook Island Mayor Bruce Kleinman said one of the main takeaways for him was that people are assuming what they want is the opposite of what they think the committee will do. However, he said there’s just no way of knowing that without an outcome and people need to be patient with the process.

“The process is working,” Kleinman said. “I think people in the town need to be a little patient.”

Members of the town’s code enforcement team presented their findings over the last nine months of alleged and identified violations during Wednesday’s meeting.

They found that only 7% of the identified coming from STRs. However, town administrator Joseph Cronin says some of the nuisance violations could overlap.

“There’s probably more violations that are out there,” Cronin said. “But if it’s not reported to us, it’s not observed by us, it’s obviously not going to be reflected in our data.”

Short-term rentals have 27 out of the 378 total found violations. Out of those, just over half came from vehicles parked in a yard or landscape area. The next most were overnight occupancy exceeding the permitted amount. Three violations were found for advertising a non-permitted short-term rental unit.

The team said if they discover a short-term rental has three violations, which they either admitted to or were found guilty in court, they can be suspended. Only then can the town revoke its short-term rental license.

“We felt like that was a little too lenient,” Cronin said. “...A couple incidences where we thought it may be more appropriate to be able to take more dramatic action earlier.”

He said there’s another idea.

“Three violations could be immediate revocation,” Cronin said.

May say he’s heard the argument that STRs lead to people wanting to move full-time to the island. But both he and Kleinman also understand that nuisances, like trash and noise, can be a big deterrent.

The committee has several more meetings before they take their recommendations to the town council which gives the final approval. The goal is to wrap this up by the end of June.

“Even if it isn’t what each Seabrooker hoped for, it will at least be a result that they perceive was reached in a fair way,” Kleinman said.

For the full list of code enforcement violations over the past nine months, read below.

Copyright 2024 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Editorial: We dodged a bullet on Seabrook. Make sure it doesn't happen again.

Everyone who cares about southern Johns Island should be pleased that a controversial annexation was pulled from the Seabrook Island Town Council's agenda last week in the face of mounting opposition over what the annexation would help create — a new boat dock, private clubhouse, boathouse, pool house and 10 rental cottages — and the likelihood that it would add more traffic and pollution to the rural side of Charleston County's urban growth boundary.But those same folks, particularly leaders on Kiawah and Seabrook islands...

Everyone who cares about southern Johns Island should be pleased that a controversial annexation was pulled from the Seabrook Island Town Council's agenda last week in the face of mounting opposition over what the annexation would help create — a new boat dock, private clubhouse, boathouse, pool house and 10 rental cottages — and the likelihood that it would add more traffic and pollution to the rural side of Charleston County's urban growth boundary.

But those same folks, particularly leaders on Kiawah and Seabrook islands and Charleston County Council, should not get complacent. Instead, they need to work together on better planning to guide development in and around where those two sea islands meet up with southern Johns Island.

It's unclear when, or if, the developer's annexation request might resurface. Even if it doesn't, there undoubtedly will be other development plans that will expose the tensions between those living on rural Johns Island and those living beyond the gates at Kiawah and Seabrook. This moment offers an important reset, one that should begin with getting all these local governments to recommit to the vision of an urban growth boundary — a line past which suburban development would not be supported through zoning, infrastructure or other local policies.

Such a recommitment wouldn't bind future councils any more than their respective comprehensive plans do, but it would send a unified message about their mutual commitment to respect the natural beauty and environmental sensitivity of the area.

It's clear that development pressures at Kiawah's and Seabrook's doorstep are increasing. A fresh series of new developments, including a senior living facility and an emergency medical facility, is cropping up. Elected officials, neighborhood leaders and county planners need to come up with a mutually agreed-upon zoning overlay for the area, one that would guide future development to ensure new uses and the size and scale of new buildings are appropriate. Such an overlay also would prevent developers from trying to play one jurisdiction against another to get the permits they seek, a tactic sometimes used in other parts of the tri-county area.

The mutual interests of everyone became clear during this recent annexation controversy, as the mayor of Kiawah Island took the unusual step of sending a letter to Seabrook's mayor and council urging them to reject the annexation and respect the urban growth boundary, which Mayor John Labriola noted "serves as a guide to direct appropriate urban and suburban development while preserving and cherishing the rural charm of the Sea Islands that we all hold dear."

Given what we've seen this summer, the existing urban growth boundary line may not continue to be enough on its own, and we believe a joint planning effort could help pin down the following: to what extent commercial development in the greater Freshfields area should be allowed to inch its way north on Betsy Kerrison; whether the towns should annex any more of Johns Island; whether any upzoning in the area might be appropriate; and how new building would affect the net traffic and drainage needs around Kiawah and Seabrook. While residents live only on Kiawah or Seabrook or in the unincorporated area, they have a stake in the answers to all those questions. This area deserves a new zoning overlay and conservation goals that offer a shared vision of how the southern part of Johns Island will — and will not — change.

Regional planning needs to take place on a large scale — such as our greater metro area from Seabrook to Awendaw to Summerville and Moncks Corner — but it's also necessary on a smaller scale, especially in those places such as southern Johns Island where multiple local governmental jurisdictions meet.

Decades ago, the city of Charleston and Charleston County came up with the urban growth boundary across Johns Island and other areas where the suburbs ended to ensure their zoning and other policies worked together to protect rural areas that residents wanted to remain rural. Kiawah and Seabrook were once seen as too distant to bring into the conversation about that line. That's not the case any more.

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