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Sullivan’s Island Council holding second meeting on Maritime Forest cutting

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 10:28 AM EDT
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SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - For the second time in two weeks, the Sullivan’s Island Town Council is calling a special meeting to discuss the potential clearing of the Sullivan’s Island Maritime Forest.

The town’s meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday and agenda’s show they will be discussing a lawsuit petitioning that all tree’s in the maritime forest be brought to their 1991 height when the deeds were signed.

A preservation group, Sullivan’s Island for All, argues this meeting is in response to an overwhelming number of residents who want the Town to re-examine the controversial settlement that allows for massive cutting in the Maritime Forest.

They say the “mediation” settlement involving the 150-acre Maritime Forest will put residents of the island in increased danger of weather.

“The Maritime Forest protects residents from hurricanes, storm surge and rising sea levels, while also housing an incredible array of wildlife,” Sullivan’s Island for All President Karen Byko said.

Byko says four members of the current council were elected in May in a landslide, which many considered a public response to concerns involving the controversial “mediation” settlement. She says the settlement will allow for widespread cutting of the Maritime Forest was passed last October, during the height of the pandemic with little public input or review.

“On September 21st, citizens from around the island and the Lowcountry showed up to voice their concerns and it appears Town Council has listened,” said Sullivan’s Island for All President Karen Byko. “We are hoping they will take steps to review this mediation settlement in the courts.”

Byko says she received past warnings saying the settlement is ‘unchallengeable,’ but Sullivan’s Island for All has teamed with land-use and environmental lawyer Ross Appel to find a path forward and a legal precedent.

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