When was the last time you walked into a mechanic's shop and thought to yourself, "Wow, everyone here is so friendly! Their waiting room is nice too. I think I'll stay while they work on my car." The truth is, too many autobody shops in Kiawah Island are dark, dingy, and dirty. To make matters worse, their staff are aloof and often don't know a thing about customer service.
At A+ Auto, our goal is to change the way people view Automotive Shops. When you visit our shop, we want you to walk in and feel like you are a part of our family. When you become our customer, we will work hard to ensure you never have a reason to look for a different mechanic in Kiawah Island, SC. We want to restore your trust in the automotive business and make certain you never feel cheated or are unsure about your vehicle's repairs.
As a full-service auto mechanic shop in Kiawah Island, we do everything from routine maintenance like oil changes to major repairs involving engines and transmissions. We started off in 2004 as a Major Repair Auto Shop and barely made it through the 2008 recession. However, we persevered and came back strong in 2010 by adding more services and becoming a true full-service auto shop. Today, we have been at our location in North Kiawah Island for more than 16 years, and we have no intention of going anywhere soon.
Unlike some auto repair shops in Kiawah Island, we pride ourselves on A+ customer satisfaction and outstanding workmanship. We are so confident in our abilities that we back up our work with a four-year, 48K mile warranty - unheard of in our industry. When we say we're a one-stop-shop for ALL of your auto repair needs, we mean it!
Some of the most requested auto repair services we offer include:
- General Maintenance and Repair
- Transmission Repair
- Air Conditioning Repair
- Engine Repair
- Electrical Repair
- Alignment Services
- Diagnostic Services
What we Do
- Your A+ Auto Mechanic in Kiawah Island, SC
- Why Choose A+ for Auto Repair in Kiawah Island, SC?
- General Automobile Maintenance and Repair in Kiawah Island
- Electrical Maintenance and Repair in Kiawah Island
- Engine Repair in Kiawah Island
- Transmission Repair in Kiawah Island
- Air Conditioning Repair in Kiawah Island
- Tires & Brakes in Kiawah Island
- Vehicle Wheel Alignment in Kiawah Island
- Welcome to the A+ Auto Family
Why Choose A+ for Auto
Repair in Kiawah Island, SC?
Our loyal customers keep coming back to A+ Auto because we genuinely want to provide them with top-notch auto repairs and the most helpful customer service in the Kiawah Island mechanic industry.
Why choose us, you ask?
The Best Warranty in the Biz
Our warranty covers your first 48 Months or 48,000 Miles
The Best Car Mechanics in Kiawah Island
Our auto body professionals are ASE certified technicians. In addition, our shop is certified as Nationwide Gold and a NAPA Auto Care Center.
The Best Perks
We're talking FREE shuttle rides, same-day service on most repairs, quality work approved by you, and no surprise charges. Our business model is simple: give our customers the highest quality work with the most helpful customer service. No if's, and's, or but's.
As a family-owned and operated auto mechanic shop in Kiawah Island, we are proud to serve the Lowcountry. After all, you're our neighbors, and neighbors have to look out for one another. Swing by our shop to see the A+ Auto difference. We think you will like what you see!
Maintenance and Repair
in Kiawah Island
You have spent thousands of dollars on your vehicle. Doesn't it make sense, then, to take care of your investment? General maintenance and repair services like oil changes and tire rotations are crucial for maintaining the life of your car or truck. Perhaps more importantly, routine service can help ensure your safety systems are fully functional. When your car is up-to-date on maintenance, you have peace of mind knowing your friends and family are safe.
A few reasons you should bring your car or truck in for regular maintenance include:
Extend Your Vehicle's Life
With regular maintenance, you can keep your vehicle in good shape year-round. By keeping a regular maintenance schedule, you can prevent breakdowns and reduce wear and tear that can reduce the life of your vehicle. By giving your car or truck the attention it needs, you can get the most out of your vehicle and keep it in good shape well past the 100k mile mark.
Few situations are as sketchy as your vehicle breaking down on a road or highway, especially at night. Regular maintenance can help reduce the probability of getting stranded. Plus, your car will be in better working condition year-round.
Fewer Repairs Needed
When you have the A+ team perform preventative maintenance on your vehicle, you're staying ahead of the repair game. Wait too long to have your car's oil changed, or its engine checked, and you might need emergency auto repair. These problems often happen at the worst times and cost a lot of money. When you keep your vehicle maintained, you can reduce repairs and their cost.
Common maintenance and repair jobs include:
- Oil Change
- Water pumps
- Belts & Hoses
- Fluid Services
All services performed by A+ Auto Service will be backed by our Industry Leading 4 Year/ 48,000 Mile Parts and Labor Warranty.
Electrical Maintenance and
Repair in Kiawah Island
Every day, we hop in our cars, crank the ignition, and make our way to whatever destination we're headed to. Most vehicle owners do this without a second thought, but have you ever taken a moment to think about your car's electrical components?
Your vehicle's electric system not only starts your car - it makes your radio, dashboard, and headlights functional. Today, most cars have complex electrical components that are responsible for on-road safety systems and all-wheel drive mechanics.
At A+ Auto, we perform a variety of electrical maintenance work in Kiawah Island, from simple battery replacements to comprehensive re-wiring. Our team of skilled electrical technicians will dial down to the root cause of your issues and provide you with a detailed explanation of what's going on with your car. Once we understand your car's electrical issues, we get to work on solving the problem at a price you can afford.
Some common automobile electrical problems we solve include:
- Dead Batteries
- Bad Alternators
- Bad Battery Cables
- Blown Electrical Fuses
- Bad Starter
Engine Repair in Kiawah Island
When it comes to your car or truck, maintaining your engine is arguably the most important task you can take. That's because the engine is like the heart of your vehicle. Without a properly functioning engine, you can't drive anywhere. One of the most common signs that your engine needs service is an oil leak. If you notice a leak, we advise you to bring your vehicle to our experienced mechanic in Kiawah Island, SC, immediately. Driving a vehicle with a leak can cause more damage, which in the end, could cause engine failure and result in very expensive repairs.
Some common engine maintenance services we offer include:
- Air and Fuel Filter Replacement
- Spark Plug Replacement
- Spark Plug Wiring Inspection
- Throttle Body Services
- Much More
At A+ Auto Service, we don't stop with routine engine maintenance. Our highly-skilled engine repair technicians can completely rebuild or replace your faulty engine at a price you can afford. If your "check engine" light comes on, don't ignore it - bring it in to our shop before the problem gets worse.
in Kiawah Island
If your engine is the heart of your car or truck, consider your transmission its circulatory system. Problems with your vehicle's transmission are just as "mission-critical" as those with your engine. Fortunately, with regular maintenance checks and our transmission repair services, your vehicle is in good hands. However, waiting too long to have your transmission serviced can lead to a domino effect of issues. Those problems will be costly and may render your vehicle inoperable.
A few warning signs you may need transmission repair include:
- Slipping Gears
- Burning Smell
- Leaking Fluid
- Humming or Clunking Sounds
- Unresponsive Gear Shifts
From minor maintenance services like transmission fluid changes to full transmission rebuilds, we have the tools and trained technicians to handle the job.
Air Conditioning Repair
in Kiawah Island
There are some things in the south that you must have. When it comes to your automobile, you can include air conditioning on that list. In Kiawah Island, the weather doesn't just get hot - it gets really hot, with a lot of humidity. Keeping your A/C maintained helps prevent serious situations where your A/C goes out when you need it the most. Of course, air conditioning isn't just reserved for hot days in the Lowcountry - your car's A/C plays an important role in the winter as well, like defrosting your windows. If you notice strange smells, leaks, or no air conditioning at all, it's time to bring your vehicle to our A/C mechanic in Kiawah Island, SC.
At A+ Auto, we service a wide variety of A/C issues, including:
- Damaged or Failed Compressor
- A/C System Leaks
- Clutch Issues
- Low Refrigerant Levels
- Filter Problems
- Broken Belts
- Broken Blower Motor
- Cross Contamination
- A/C Control Head Malfunctions
Vehicle Wheel Alignment in
Do you really need to have your wheels aligned when you bring your vehicle in for service? Yes, absolutely. A proper wheel alignment ensures your tires meet the road at the right angle, point straight when they need to, and remain centered in your wheel wells. When your wheels are out of alignment, your gas mileage and ride comfort suffer.
Common signs of misalignment include:
- Car Pulling to Right or Left
- Rapid Tire Wear
- Uneven Tire Wear
- Noisy Steering
- Squealing Tires
Not only can alignment issues cause driving to be uncomfortable, but it can also cause a lot of damage to your vehicle. To avoid uneven tire wear and costly repairs, we suggest getting your vehicle alignment checked, which is FREE at A+ Auto.Free Estimates
Tires & Brakes in Kiawah Island
Few situations are scarier than driving when the brakes go out. Your vehicle's brakes are its most vital safety system. They give you the ability to stop or slow down, so you can avoid serious car accidents and pedestrians in the roadway. Having good brakes can mean the difference between life and death, which is why it is so important that you keep them well maintained. If your brakes are getting worse and worse, it might be time to replace them.
The same goes for your tires - another vital part of your vehicle's makeup. When your tires are worn, you're putting yourself and your family at risk when you drive with them. Tires with worn-out tread won't function properly in adverse conditions, like when you drive through deep standing water on the highway.
A+ Auto Service is a Certified Hercules, General & Continental Tire Dealer. A lot goes into finding the right tire, whether you need basic all-season tires or real-deal off-road rubber. If you don't know where to start on your search for new tires, one of our auto mechanics in Kiawah Island, SC would be happy to help.
When you visit our shop for routine maintenance or new tires in Kiawah Island, be sure to have your brakes inspected while you wait. The last thing you want to do is drive off our lot with brakes that won't stop you.
Some common warning signs that you need brake repair includes:
- Grinding Noises When Stopping
- Spongy-Feeling Brake Pedals
- Shaking Steering Column
- Squealing and Squeaking Sounds When Stopping
- Wobbling or Vibration at Highway Speeds
Welcome to the A+ Auto
When you trust us with your vehicle, know that we take that trust very seriously. Unlike some of our competitors, we like to treat our customers like family. And when you're like family, you can rest easy knowing your car or truck is in capable hands. Whether you need a simple oil change or a new engine install, we're here for you every step of the way.Free Estimates
Latest News in Kiawah Island, SC
7 Things To Do In Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Betsy Cribb Watsonhttps://www.southernliving.com/travel/south-carolina/kiawah-island-south-carolina
It’s high time you added this Lowcountry destination to your beach bucket list.Follow winding, oak-shaded roads 25 miles southwest of downtown Charleston's cobblestone streets and celebrated restaurant scene, and you'll find yourself on Kiawah Island. Carved by the Kiawah River on one side and fronting the Atlant...
It’s high time you added this Lowcountry destination to your beach bucket list.
Follow winding, oak-shaded roads 25 miles southwest of downtown Charleston's cobblestone streets and celebrated restaurant scene, and you'll find yourself on Kiawah Island. Carved by the Kiawah River on one side and fronting the Atlantic Ocean on the other, the barrier island is a true escape. Here, nature reigns supreme: ten miles of beaches roll out along the Atlantic; cicadas form their own sort of soundtrack; and lights-out is often determined by the sea turtles' nesting season. Even so, there's plenty to do for travelers who like their time in nature punctuated with good food, luxurious creature comforts, and a frozen drink in hand. Here are seven things to do in Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
Stay Like a Local
For access to all of Kiawah's amenities, from bike rentals to pools, you'll have to stay on the island. For an experience that's luxurious but unpretentious, book a room at The Sanctuary, an oceanfront hotel known for its five-star service and elevated onsite dining. For families who want a little room to spread out (or a kitchen), villa and home rentals are a smart choice; reserve through the resort directly, or book through a site like VRBO or Airbnb.
Spend a Day on the Sand
On the west end of the island, Beachwalker Park is Kiawah's only public beach access feels like a hidden gem, thanks to its wide, unspoiled expanses of sand. It offers the best of both worlds: In addition to the ocean frontage, you can also score views of the Kiawah River here.
Hit the Links
Five state-of-the-art golf courses are open to the public. For avid fans of the sport, the Ocean Course alone makes Kiawah worth the trip. Host to two PGA Championships, the 18-hole course is not for the faint of heart. Raised above the dunes to capitalize on the expansive shore views, golfers are also subjected to ocean breezes (which don't make for an easy or predictable trip around the green). Try Cougar Point for marsh views and a slightly less technical experience.
Go for a Cruise
One of the best ways to explore the island is to leave the car in park and take a beach cruiser for a spin (you can reserve them through the resort or bring your own). Between 30 miles of paved trails and 10 miles of hard-packed beach, there's no shortage of routes to explore. Ask for directions to the Marsh View Tower, an observation deck primed for birdwatching and soaking in the marsh and river scenery.
Visit Heron Park Nature Center
The naturalists here will school you in many of the species who call the island home, from bobcats and white-tailed deer to loggerhead sea turtles and American alligators. Sign up for a guided tour, like "Back Island Birding", "Marsh Kayaking," or "Ocean Seining and Beach Combing," or ask for their recommendations for the best nature-spotting places in the area.
Explore Freshfields Village
Built around a lush lawn, Freshfields Village has plenty of restaurants and shops to explore, plus a boutique stay, the Andell Inn. Pick up a beach read at Indigo Books; snag treats for your four-legged friends at Dolittle's; and gear up for island adventures SeaCoast Sports and Outfitters. Start the morning with coffee and a breakfast sandwich from Java Java; settle in for grilled cheese and a milkshake at retro Vincent's Drugstore & Soda Fountain; or cap off the day with a glass of wine at FortyEight Wine Bar and Kitchen. Check their calendar for seasonal events, like summertime's "Music on the Green" concert series and farmer's market.
Venture to Bohicket Marina & Market
Make the short drive to neighboring Seabrook Island for a taste of the area's salty maritime culture. Snag a umbrella-shaded table on the upper deck at Salty Dog Café for fresh catch, a cold beer, and riverfront views of the boats coming and going from the marina.
Here’s your guide to what Kiawah and Seabrook islands have to offer
Just 25 miles from downtown Charleston, Kiawah and Seabrook islands are the destinations for anyone looking to escape the bustle of the city.These islands offer so much more than beautiful beaches. They have sports, spas, top restaurants and amazing shopping.We’ve compiled a guide for tourists and locals drawn to the islands’ natural beauty. Whether you like fine dining or a relaxed day on the golf course or the beach, we have a guide for you.ExploreThe two barrier islands each offer world-class golf...
Just 25 miles from downtown Charleston, Kiawah and Seabrook islands are the destinations for anyone looking to escape the bustle of the city.
These islands offer so much more than beautiful beaches. They have sports, spas, top restaurants and amazing shopping.
We’ve compiled a guide for tourists and locals drawn to the islands’ natural beauty. Whether you like fine dining or a relaxed day on the golf course or the beach, we have a guide for you.
The two barrier islands each offer world-class golf courses that have been featured in major sporting events. Anyone looking to live out their professional golf fantasy can find a home at Kiawah Island Golf Resort’s Ocean Course. The resort has twice hosted the PGA Golf Championship, in 2012 and in 2021.
The resort renovated all of its courses in preparation for the 2021 tournament which brought thousands of fans to the island.
Those looking for a golf membership should also consider the Seabrook Island Club. The club’s two courses, Ocean Winds and Crooked Oaks, are open to members, group outings and events.
The two islands aren’t just for golfers; they also feature world-class beaches. Kiawah alone has 10 miles of beaches. The Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission operates Beachwalker County Park, the only beach on the island open to the public.
Seabrook’s Pelican and North beaches also offer views of the sunset and sunrise, although they are not open to the public. The rest of Kiawah’s beaches are privately owned, so those looking for a longer stay should consider all-access options.
The islands are also a great place to explore Lowcountry wildlife. Those looking to get up close to dolphins should visit the northernmost tip of North Beach during low tide at Seabrook or Captain Sam’s Inlet on Kiawah. Bottlenose dolphins are known to strand-feed there — a technique the dolphins used to trap fish and drive them onto sandbars and shorelines.
Kiawah’s brackish and freshwater ponds are also home to alligators throughout the island. They can be seen lying on pond edges, basking in the sun.
The islands also serve as nesting grounds for sea turtles. From mid-May through early August, female turtles come ashore to lay anywhere from 100 to 150 eggs in nests they dig in the sand. Island patrol members and wildlife officials work to protect the nests from human interference throughout the season.
Interested in shopping? All Kiawah visitors need to do is travel to Freshfields Village near the island’s entrance.
It has a plethora of high-end clothing chains such as Lilly Pulitzer, Vineyard Vines and Johnny Was. It also has boutiques such as Signature Oak, SHOWROOM and Holly & Brooks.
There are shops offering apparel and wares for both men and women, including Southern Tide, and stores for outdoor enthusiasts, such as SeaCoast Sports and Outfitters.
Seabrook also offers many shopping options for visitors. Seabrook Shoppe offers an array of souvenirs.
Eat and drink like a local
The islands have restaurants for every type of foodie.
Kiawah offers high-end fare such as Jasmine Porch and The Ocean Room at the Sanctuary hotel.
People can also visit Beaches & Cream for coffee and dessert or grab Italian food at Tomasso at Turtle Point.
The island also offers more casual eateries like La Tela Pizzeria, Fuji Sushi Bar & Grill for Japanese lovers, and Cantina 76 for Mexican fans.
Seabrook boasts relaxed food like McCann’s Irish Pub and Kiss Cafe.
SC has one of the 5 best public golf courses in the US for 2023, Golf Digest says. Why it’s great
Kids may be returning to school, but there’s still plenty of summer left for a few rounds of golf in South Carolina.But where should you tee off to get the best bang for your buck?The P...
Kids may be returning to school, but there’s still plenty of summer left for a few rounds of golf in South Carolina.
But where should you tee off to get the best bang for your buck?
The popular monthly magazine has compiled its list of the 100 best public golf courses in the U.S. for 2023. This year, Golf Digest placed four South Carolina public golf courses on the list. However, only one course broke the top five, ranking third on the list this year.
Located on the eastern-most end of Kiawah Island, the Ocean Course has the most seaside hills in the Northern Hemisphere. The course was designed to give players an unobstructed view of the coastline from every hole.
The course can also be particularly challenging, due to strong winds from the Atlantic.
“Every hole is edged by sawgrass, every green has tricky slopes, every bunker merges into bordering sand dunes,” Golf Digest writes. “The Ocean Course will forever be linked with Phil Mickelson and his improbable victory at the 2021 PGA Championship.”
#27 Harbour Town Golf Links
This perennial favorite among PGA Tour players is located on Hilton Head Island. The course has undergone recent enhancements, such as new Celebration Bermuda grass for the fairways and a new irrigation system. Since 1969, it has been home to the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing.
#51 May River Golf Club at Palmetto Bluff
This 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Course in Bluffton is surrounded by century-old live oaks and scenic native landscapes. The 7,171-yard course includes several holes on the bank of the river.
“The classic routing has the front nine turning clockwise through forest while the back nine circles counter-clockwise, and each touch repeatedly on the wetlands of namesake May River,” Golf Digest wrote. “Gorgeous and mysterious at every turn, the course is at its best when it gets players thinking, like at the short par-4 seventh where they must decide to either lay up to an island of fairway or take a swipe at a shallow green situated on another small isthmus of land along the marsh.”
#71 The Dunes Golf & Beach Club
Built in the 1940s, the Dunes Golf and Beach Club dubs itself as the premier country club in Myrtle Beach. The 18-hole, oceanside course has been host to numerous high-end golf tournaments, from the PGA Senior Tour to the USGA Women’s Open.
This story was originally published August 11, 2023, 6:00 AM.
Kiawah Island biologists counted roughly 145 alligators during annual survey
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD)- The Kiawah Island Community Association (KICA) teamed up with biologists to conduct their annual alligator count last week.Town biologists reported counting 146 alligators on July 18 and 143 alligators on July 19 across the island.“We’ve been doing these surveys every year since 2003,” Kiawah Island wildlife biologist Jim Jordan said. “And we’ve seen some ups and downs like you would expect, but overall the population has remained stable.”The route, which co...
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD)- The Kiawah Island Community Association (KICA) teamed up with biologists to conduct their annual alligator count last week.
Town biologists reported counting 146 alligators on July 18 and 143 alligators on July 19 across the island.
“We’ve been doing these surveys every year since 2003,” Kiawah Island wildlife biologist Jim Jordan said. “And we’ve seen some ups and downs like you would expect, but overall the population has remained stable.”
The route, which covers 48 ponds and approximately 153 acres of water, is surveyed twice in order to ensure the most accurate count possible.
“We actually, we reverse it the second night, so we start at the endpoint just to try to take out some potential variability,” Jordan said.
Biologists use the count to determine the estimated density of alligators on the island, which is reported as the number of reptiles per 100 acres of water. It also is used to help determine the population size on the island, which the town estimates is between 600 and 700 alligators.
“The best use of the data is to look at trends over time and you know, again, particularly with density, but also with kind of a breakdown of size classes,” Jordan said. “So we tend to kind of look at it over a long period of time, looking for any significant upward or downward trends.”
Data shows that alligator density on Kiawah Island has remained relatively stable over the past two decades despite some fluctuations in the count. In 2003, density was reported as 134, while this year it was reported as 249.
A number of factors can contribute to the slight fluctuation, according to Jordan, including how active the alligators are at night and whether or not they are visible in a given location.
“Alligator populations typically do, you know, remain stable once they get to what we call carrying capacity,” Jordan explained. “So when there are as many alligators out there as the habitat can support, the numbers tend to remain pretty stable.”
As the team moves along the route, they also keep track of the relative size of each alligator that is counted. If an exact size cannot be determined, the animals are categorized as “unknowns” either under or over six feet in length.
“As a rule, probably 70 to 75% of the alligators that we see on the survey and are able to put into a size class are under six feet,” Jordan explained. “So most of these alligators are very small juveniles and a lot of them probably won’t make it to adulthood and that’s pretty typical for an alligator population.”
Determining the relative size of the alligators is also useful in helping biologists to track shifts in population size and density on the island, according to Jordan.
“Typically, when we see a little bit of a spike in numbers, it probably has to do with just a year where reproduction was really good and so we’ve got a lot of smaller alligators out there,” he said.
As for large alligators, which are generally considered over eight feet in length, only five were counted during the two-day survey period.
But, whether large or small, there are a few key points people should keep in mind if they encounter an alligator while living or vacationing on the island.
The town encourages people to stay at least 60 feet away from alligators whenever possible, do not swim in a body of water other than the ocean, and keep pets away from water.
“Alligators are, you know, they’re a large predator and they need to be treated with respect,” Jordan said.
Editorial: Conserve one of South Carolina’s few remaining pristine beaches
THE EDITORIAL STAFFhttps://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-conserve-one-of-south-carolinas-few-remaining-pristine-beaches/article_b3372a92-3556-11ee-9892-4b2a08e81f4f.html
As we wade through the peak of South Carolina’s beach season, we urge state lawmakers and the conservation community to find a way to protect one of the most beautiful and sensitive parts of our coast: Captain Sams Spit at the southern tip of Kiawah Island.This is one of our state’s few remaining pristine, publicly accessible sandy beaches (the others being Hunting Island and Huntington Beach state parks), but it won’t be spared from development forever unless it is placed in the public’s hands.During th...
As we wade through the peak of South Carolina’s beach season, we urge state lawmakers and the conservation community to find a way to protect one of the most beautiful and sensitive parts of our coast: Captain Sams Spit at the southern tip of Kiawah Island.
This is one of our state’s few remaining pristine, publicly accessible sandy beaches (the others being Hunting Island and Huntington Beach state parks), but it won’t be spared from development forever unless it is placed in the public’s hands.
During the past 15 years, we’ve lamented several attempts by Captain Sams’ private owners to obtain permits for the infrastructure work needed to build luxury homes on the beautiful but fragile spit of sand just south of Charleston County’s popular Kiawah Beachwalker Park.
We applaud the environmentalists and their lawyers who successfully challenged and beat back these attempts. A year after their most recent victory before the S.C. Supreme Court, the developer’s preliminary plat has expired, so the most recent appeal now seems moot and might be dismissed, forcing developers back to square one.
But even if that takes place, it’s naive to think the developers will give up and go away, so we urge the state to secure public ownership. As we’ve said before, South Carolina’s growth and prosperity should lead to more, not less, access to our pristine beaches: Allowing development on Captain Sams Spit would be the ultimate example of sacrificing a public resource to maximize private gain.
Striking a deal for the state to purchase Captain Sams Spit not only would ensure this land continues to be available for all of our enjoyment, but also would ward off a potentially disastrous outcome if it eventually were developed, which almost certainly would involve building a new road between the spit’s high ground and the rest of Kiawah. The new structural walls that would be needed to secure that road have been at the heart of much of the legal wrangling so far. The teardrop-shaped spit is only tentatively attached to the larger island, and storms have severed its link a few times.
We should be building less along our dynamic, fragile coast, not more, especially at a time when temperatures and the sea level are rising. The privately owned Captain Sams abuts — and for visitors, is virtually indistinguishable from — Beachwalker, one of our region’s most popular beach parks, where parking spots fill up quickly on summer weekend mornings. As Johns Island, Charleston County and our whole state continue to grow, we need to protect these special places for public enjoyment.
However, it’s important to recall a U.S. Supreme Court precedent that was set in a case involving a barrier island just a few islands north of Kiawah (Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council), which makes it clear that if government restricts all potential use of a piece of private property, that is considered a taking — and the property owner is owed compensation. So hoping to keep the island pristine forever by simply rejecting future development attempts, no matter how ill-considered or environmentally destructive they might be, is not a winning strategy.
It’s great that environmental groups and their able allies at the South Carolina Environmental Law Project have chalked up important wins for 15 years against such attempts, but we can’t place all our hopes in their continued success in court.
It will take political leadership and probably a not-insignificant amount of public money to secure the proper future for Captain Sams Spit, but South Carolina deserves nothing less.
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