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Mayor's Greeting

Mayor Pat O'Neil

As published in the Island Eye News on March 31, 2017

Dear Island Neighbors,

Looking at the calendar I would say “Welcome to Spring” but as you know we were already mostly there for some time before the official start last week!


The return of our Sullivan’s Island Farmers’ Market!

Last year’s inaugural season was a smashing success, and we expect this year’s season to be even better.

From next week through June, you do not have to travel any further than 1921 I’On Avenue (Battery Gadsden, Poe Library, just off the entry to the school) to purchase SC-grown produce, farm products, fresh seafood, wonderful plants and more! 

Town Council Recreation Committee Chair Sarah Church invites you to “come to our 2nd Annual Farmers’ Market to enjoy good food, specialty handcrafted items, live music, kids’ yoga most weeks, and a wonderful chance every week to visit with friends and neighbors.” 

The Recreation Committee (Sarah Church, Susan Middaugh and Rita Langley) along with Market Manager Lisa Darrow worked through 70+ vendor applications to create a balanced mixed market for you.  We’ll be there for a lucky 13 weeks in a row, with something for everyone at each event. So, don’t miss any of them!

Every Thursday from April 6th – June 29th

2:30PM– 7:00PM    

1921 I’On Avenue (in front of Poe Library and adjacent to SI Elementary School)

More information at: 




Instagram: tosimarket



Yep, lots of visitors and traffic, and parking pressure.

We have had a “soft opening”for our new parking plan for a while now. The main features of the plan are limiting parking to only one side of each street and requiring vehicles to have all wheels off the pavement.

We have continued to receive much resident feedback about all the new signage. Trust me, we have received feedback. Some folks have thought the new plan is too restrictive, some think it’s not restrictive enough, some want the no-parking zone on their side of the street, some want it on the other side of the street.  Some think the signs are confusing. All very valid positions.

We have taken all this feedback seriously and thoughtfully.  A number of “field edits” have been implemented and more are underway. I hope everyone will realize that the plan we adopted was the result of years of public deliberation and study, with consultation from a traffic engineering firm, and then review and modification by SC Department of Transportation (which owns the roads and controls the text of the signs among other things).

The plan we adopted provided a means of ensuring emergency vehicle transit and limiting the ultimate number of visitors to the number we can adequately protect. (However, the new parking plan still provides for more parking spots than are currently utilized Island-wide.) At the same time, we wanted to avoid the complications of requiring residents to register for parking permits, requiring visitors to pay for parking, or conveying the appearance of a gated community.

And regarding access for emergency vehicles, Chauncey Clark, Mayor Pro-Tem and chairman of our Public Safety committee, adds this plea for visitors and residents alike: “On an island covered with wood frame houses, seconds count. On an island with thousands of visitors a year who don't understand the danger of tides and currents, seconds count, especially on our emergency beach access paths which are clearly marked with ‘no unloading’ signs to keep them open every second.  Yet some people unload there and actually lean their chairs on the ‘no unloading’ signs. Is this convenience worth the life of someone else?  Be safe.  Keep the roads and beach access points clear and GIVE WAY to emergency vehicles!”

After our initial period of no enforcement of the new regulations, we have had our officers issue warnings(while ticketing violations of pre-existing regulations).  Starting in April, we will now begin actual ticketing.

For the season, we have two designated parking enforcement officers to handle parking issues, and two designated beach service officers for beach patrols.



You likely have learned that our long-time Police Chief, Danny Howard, submitted his resignation early in March.  Danny was first hired by the Town in June of 1983.  After working for the SC Highway Patrol from 1985 to 1987 he returned to work for the Town.  Shortly thereafter he was promoted to Deputy Chief and then to Chief in 1997, serving until his resignation.  We are grateful for his dedication and service to the Department and Island, and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.

Please be assured that until we appoint a new Chief, the security of the Town is in very good hands.  Lt Chris Griffin is our senior officer with primary responsibility for day-to-day operations, with procedural guidance and oversight from Town Administrator Andy Benke, and legal guidance from Town Attorney Larry Dodds.  As I have said, we may be somewhat short-handed but the hands we have are all excellent!

I have established an ad hoc search committee to select our next Chief, to consist of the Chairs of our Public Safety and Administration committees (Chauncey Clark and Mark Howard, respectively), our Town Administrator Andy Benke, and the Mayor. We will consider applicants from within our current force and from elsewhere. Our initial meeting will have as its purposes to begin to define the parameters of our search and to solicit input from citizens about the future directions they wish our Police Department to take.

You can help us in this effort.  Please email me with your thoughts about how you would like to see our Town policing efforts to proceed going forward.  Everything I hear from our residents is that the Police Department is highly regarded.  The officers and staff wish to serve citizens to the highest possible standard moving forward.  Please send me your ideas and I will share them with our committee.

See you around the Island!

Pat O’Neil


Cell: 843 670 9266



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