Controversy at Edisto Beach over re-entry delays - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Controversy at Edisto Beach over re-entry delays

Source: Live 5 News Source: Live 5 News

There is controversy stirring at Edisto Beach as some residents question whether the town’s mayor has gone too far in restricting access to town.

Since Tuesday, Edisto Beach officials have been running a “staged” re-entry, letting residents check on their homes for the day once their streets are deemed safe.  

Some locals said it’s time for full-time residents to have complete access regardless of conditions.
“If they don’t have power here, and they don’t have power somewhere else, what’s the difference, they don’t have power,” Jeanine Rhodes, Edisto Beach resident and realtor, said. “We’re a small community. People know who we are so I feel like people should be able to come and go from their homes.”
Both S.C. Emergency Management Division as well as Colleton County said that once Governor Haley lifted her evacuation orders, powers return to city and town officials. Mayor Jane Darby said a state of emergency was required at Edisto Beach.
“If conditions are unsafe, the local government can declare a state of emergency, and heavens knows that’s one of those,” Mayor Darby said. “I think a lot of people don’t understand the depth of the damage. We’re essentially re-building a town. For those who saw first pictures of some of the houses, the sand was flat across the ground. It looked like it was fine,” the mayor said. “Today, they have the pyramids of Egypt sitting in front of their house because we have to build berms because we have extremely high tides this weekend. They’re in an active construction zone,” Mayor Darby said.
Still, some said not having full access to homes could lead to further damage.
“I think she’s denied people the opportunity to get to their property and take care of things, and as a result, there are going to be higher losses and most aren’t insured because of the higher deductibles,” resident Tommy Mann said. Mann, who previously ran for town mayor, said he commends many the town’s water department, as well as the National Guard and SCE&G for their work. Yet, he doesn’t understand the restrictions days after the hurricane. “Why are we making it difficult for people who pay taxes and bills to protect their property?” Mann said.
“One roofer I know has 12 roofs he needs to either tarp or put roofs on in order to save the homes,” Rhodes said, adding she’d like to check on some of her clients’ homes who don’t live in the area.

The mayor said electricity is almost restored, roads are clear and progress is happening, but some question whether town officials’ power has been too much. Some residents planned to bring concerns to the scheduled council meeting Thursday night, some even suggesting town officials step down. That meeting was cancelled Thursday morning.
“Until this is put back together, no one will be resigning,” Mayor Darby said. “This town is more important than hurt feelings. If you’re doing a big job and things are getting done, you’re going to offend some people and they need to be adult enough to realize the situation we’re dealing with.”  
Some residents said that the re-entry has been handled well.                                                  
“I think it was done very fairly,” Karen Keegan said. Keegan returned to her home for the first time Thursday. “They have a very tough job and really hard job and they’re doing awesome, I think.”
Yet others say it’ll take more than a hurricane to get them to leave in the future--  
“I will not evacuate next time,” Rhodes said.
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