Kudos to all – that was the sense of public comments Monday afternoon, Sept. 9 during the regular monthly meeting of Pawleys Island Town Council.
Betsy Altman of Pawleys Island Realty said, “I just want to say big kudos and thank you to (Chief) Mike Fanning for all his videos and everything, and especially to Ryan who has worked tirelessly. Our vacationers were constantly looking at that as well. I just want to say thank you.”
Former Mayor Bill Otis and Leda Hall, a candidate for Town Council, also offered their thanks.
S.C. Department of Transportation initially stated sand removal from the roads of Pawleys Island would take a while. Storm surge overwash had left sand three or four feet deep in some places, especially along Springs Avenue. However, DOT ended up mobilizing crews and equipment on Friday. By late Monday afternoon, about 10,000 cubic yards of sand had been moved to the South End of the island.
During the Monday Town Council meeting, Fanning reported DOT was completing its work and pulling its crews and equipment off the island.
He noted that a police checkpoint will remain in place for several days on Springs Avenue. Residents and property owners will be allowed in the area, along with approved contractors and vendors. However, the general public won’t be allowed in the area just yet.
Fabbri said “I want to thank everyone who spoke up,” but added that it wasn’t much different this time.
“From Matthew, we learned a lot … and more from Florence.”
The videos, photos and status updates about Hurricane Dorian were good, and he shared them in emails and on the Town’s social media.
“This is the fifth time in six years,” Fabbri said. “We’re getting better and better at it. Mike has been really good at it.
“With Matthew (in 2016), we felt like it was really overwhelming for us. We evacuated. We got a lot of help from DOT, Georgetown County, and everywhere else. This time,” he said, “it was pretty much the same, but we weren’t overwhelmed.”
“I feel like we’ve dodged a bullet. That’s really good.”
“As far as this event is concerned, the beach took a beating. That was pretty much as we expected.”
Coastal Science and Engineering is doing a land and water survey, Fabbri said. The Town’s consultant company did an annual survey in August, so there is fresh data for CSE to use to calculate how much sand was lost on Pawleys Island.
“The deficit is pretty intense.”
Fabbri also said “I’m confident we’ll be declared a disaster event and will be eligible for FEMA funds.”
Georgetown County building officials identified problems or or concerns with at least 10 houses on the South End.
In addition to erosion, Dorian caused scouring of foundations, Fabbri said. He’s asked the county for a list of the 10 affected houses and the reason for concern, so property owners can be contacted.
Affected houses are marked with red tags that state, “UNSAFE STRUCTURE. Do not enter or occupy.”
Among the major actions Town Council took was the approval of the “full” beach renourishment project of 1.1 million cubic yards of sand.
Member Rocky Holliday said “I believe we’ve had lots of discussion about this. I move that we approve the 1.1 million cubic yard project and extend that sand north to Third Street.” Guerry Green seconded the motion.
Mayor Jimmy Braswell said, “I’m pretty much in agreement with that. I’ve walked almost all of that. Hazard Street is pretty much a disaster. It’s the right thing to do.”
Marinex Construction Co. will start the beach renourishment project on Oct. 1.
They also approved borrowing $2.8 million from BB&T bank through a bond issue. The term will be for 15 years, at 2.38 percent interest.
Fabbri said the Town will need two ordinances. One will authorize issuing the bonds, and another to sell the bonds. That will require a special meeting.
Fabbri suggested to Council members that they “Go down to the South End. When you see the sand, that’s only about 10,000 cubic yards.” Each of the dump trucks carrying sand holds about 15 cubic yards.
“We’re going to have 1.1 million cubic yards. That’s a lot of sand.”