Folly Beach City Council discuss Folly Boat, swear in newly-elec - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Folly Beach City Council discuss Folly Boat, swear in newly-elected members

Hurricane Irma moved the Folly Boat from its longtime place along Folly Road to a dock off Sol Legare Road. (Source: Facebook) Hurricane Irma moved the Folly Boat from its longtime place along Folly Road to a dock off Sol Legare Road. (Source: Facebook)
Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin (Source: Facebook) Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin (Source: Facebook)
DJ Rich (Source: Facebook) DJ Rich (Source: Facebook)
Amy Ray (Source: Facebook) Amy Ray (Source: Facebook)

The new council members Folly Beach voters elected were sworn in at a city council meeting Tuesday and also held a discussion on the Folly Boat.

Folly Beach voters went to the polls twice earlier this month in a general and run-off election.

Mayor Tim Goodwin ran unopposed while Amy Ray, William Farley and DJ Rich all emerged victoriously. Tuesday night, their were rewarded. The two new members, Ray and Farley, were sworn into office during the city council meeting.

Council also discussed the issue of moving the Folly Boat to an area near where it first occupied.

“We’re just trying to get the boat back somewhere where the public can paint it again, and trying to do it in a way so that no public funds are spent on the project," Save Folly Boat President Eric Draper said.

The rowboat was washed ashore off Folly Road by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. The boat became famous for messages and designs painted and repainted on its hull over the years. The messages included everything from special messages to loved ones to political and social statements.

That tradition lasted nearly three decades until Hurricane Irma washed the boat to a private dock along Sol Legare Road last September. The dock was damaged but the boat survived the journey.

Everyone then wondered how to get the boat back to its original resting place, which has turned out to be no small undertaking because of cost and legal red tape.

Weeks after Mother Nature relocated the boat, Folly Beach residents began an effort to raise money to return it.

Recently, that group of residents obtained its 501(c)(3) status, meaning they can officially accept donations and offer tax exemptions to donors.

But Mayor Tim Goodwin said in September the boat wouldn’t be able to go back to its old location along Folly Road.

In January, council voted to postpone a vote to move the boat until they could get more information. Resolution 04-18 states the city would apply for an encroachment permit with the South Carolina Department of Transportation in order to move the boat from its current location to spot further down Folly Road from its original home.

The DOT explained the city would have to take ownership for and responsibility of the boat if the boat were moved to that location. The owner of that property, which is also the developer of a nearby residential complex, would also have to agree.

"On public property, this was one of the only spaces that would have accommodated its size, outside of what they call the “clear zone” of the highway," Folly Beach City Administrator Spencer Wetmore said.

But some people living in the housing complex near that site have expressed problems with the proposal to move the boat to that location.

25 people from that complex signed a petition against moving the boat there, which was presented to City Council Tuesday night.

“They believed it would be an eyesore," Wetmore said. "And they also believed there may be litter and parking issues right outside their residential area, which, certainly I think City Council understands.”

But Wetmore said that location isn’t really being considered by the city anymore because the city would have to take ownership of the boat and get approval to put it there from the developer of that residential complex.

Now Save Folly Boat is looking at another option.

“We do have another place picked out that we’re going to try to put it," Draper said. "Again, we’re going to try to work out the last few details there.”

The City of Folly Beach isn’t taking a stand on moving the boat one way or another, but city leaders are committed to helping residents find the solution they’re looking for. 

“If this is something that the residents want to do, we want to serve their wishes,” Wetmore said.

Folks with “The Folly Boat” organization said the plan and efforts are to use no public funds. The money raised would go toward the relocation of the boat and to build a cradle inside which the boat will sit.

But Goodwin said in January the plan would mean the city would become the owner of the boat and would then be responsible for maintenance and cleanup.

SCDOT gave the city special conditions (see page 40 at this link) if Folly Beach was to receive the encroachment permit. Those conditions include restoration work to maintain the integrity of the boat, maintenance of any associated landscaping and keeping the area in good repair.

Folly Beach would also be responsible for removal of profane or commercial messages "in a timely manner" and for removing the boat itself if it poses operational concerns because of deterioration or inadequate maintenance. 

If the city were to fails to maintain, repair or remove the boat in a timely manner, SCDOT would do so at Folly Beach's expense.

SCDOT restrictions also specify the boat would not be allowed to display the following:

  • Profane messages of commercial messages of any sort, including, but not limited to symbols, logos, business names, trade names, jingles or slogans
  • Any displays, advertising, decorative banners, flags or flag poles.
  • Telephone numbers, street addresses or internet addresses
  • Intermittent or moving lights, including changeable message signs
  • Moving elements like kinetic art or simulated movement
  • Colors or combinations of colors usually reserved for official traffic control devices
  • Reflective or glaring surface finishes

The boat could not interfere with official traffic control devices, interfere with right-of-way, or "negatively impact" existing highway features like signs, irrigation systems, necessary drainage patterns or facilities.

SCDOT said it would reserve the right to remove or alter the boat if it were to pose an immediate safety hazard without notice.

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