Longborough homeowners respond to backlash over new sign

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Residents in the Longborough neighborhood spoke out on Friday following backlash seen on Facebook regarding a new sign in the community.

The sign designates a dirt trail and dock as private property owned by the Longborough Homeowner's Association.

Anyone who does not live in one of those homes would be trespassing if they used it.

Many residents have been using the trail and dock for years.

When the sign was installed, people began posting complaints on a public Facebook page.

JoAnn Wieters, a homeowners in the Longborough neighborhood, said she and her neighbors found the comments hurtful and, often times, untrue.

"We have never asked that people stay out of there," Wieters said. "It's always been public access as far as we were concerned."

Wieters has called Longborough home for more than 10 years.

In all that time, she's never had an issue with the public using the dock at the end of Mary Ellen Dr.

"I bought the house expecting it to be a public dock," Wieters said. "I have no problem with it."

Legally, the dock is privately owned by the Longborough Owner's Association.

The residents pay taxes on the dock and pay for maintenance of the dock. They're also legally responsible for the dock.

That ownership comes from a court order that dates back to June 3, 2015. Exercising its ownership, the homeowner's association recently installed a new sign marking the dock as private property.

Wieters and a representative from the Longborough Owner's Association said the sign was not installed randomly.

Charleston police, private security, and a legal team all recommended the sign be installed as a matter of liability.

"You know, if you go out there, and something happens, because of that sign, we're not liable," Wieters said.

The representative from the Owner's Association said they have been asking the city to work with them on finding a solution for this dock for years.

He and Wieters said they've asked the city to make a decision: either keep the land private or open it to the public and assume financial and legal responsibility.

At the very least, Wieters hopes the new sign sparks action from the city.

A spokesperson for the city said the city's lawyers were working with the Longborough Owner's Association to create a conversation about how to move forward.

However, the representative from the Owner's Association says no one in the association has heard from the city in about a year.

While she waits for a response from the city, Wieters said she doesn't expect the public to stop using the path.

"Has anybody stopped them?" she asked. "Has anybody asked them to leave? Has anybody said don't come down here? No. No."

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