SC Supreme Court blocks bulkhead on Kiawah Island

SC Supreme Court blocks bulkhead on Kiawah Island

KIAWAH ISLAND, SC (AP) - The South Carolina Supreme Court will not allow developers to build a half-mile retaining wall and bulkhead to protect against beach erosion on Kiawah Island.

But Chief Justice Jean Toal says Wednesday's decision undermines state checks on what she called unrestrained agency decisions involving private property.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control originally denied a permit for the Kiawah project, allowing only a smaller bulkhead to protect a county park. On appeal, an administrative law judge ruled the developers could build the entire wall.

That decision was reversed by the high court Wednesday in a 3-2 decision.

Toal wrote that the court majority's decision to go along with DHEC undermines the state's longstanding approach to "controlling unrestrained bureaucratic decisions" about private property rights.

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