Need professional photography services in the Sullivan's Island area?
The impulse to save our most cherished moments is a powerful force. When you ask people to choose three possessions to save from a burning house, one of the most common answers is a photo album.
Maybe that’s because photographs tell the stories of our lives – a timeline of memories filled with faces we love and places we have been. Photos speak directly to our emotions; they capture our attention and give us the power to show people who we are and what we do.
When composed professionally, they shine a light on our personalities, relationships, and families. After all, every human emotion has a place in photography.
Whether you need to steal someone’s attention with a stunning headshot or want to save your most loving family moments, I can help.
My name is Adam Chandler, and as a professional photographer in Sullivan’s Island, SC I delight in the adventure of photography. I constantly immerse myself in whatever genre I’m shooting and seek new ways of bonding with my subjects to provide them with a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Unlike other photographers, I use my technical knowledge of photography, ability to connect with people, and artistic creativity to produce memorable photos for my clients. I believe that providing folks with a client-centric experience sets me apart from other photographers in Sullivan’s Island.
Some professionals may be wonderful composers but cannot understand what their customers want. Others are great at connecting but don’t have the training or experience to make their work truly special.
When you choose Adam Chandler Photography, rest assured that you are hiring a photographer with creativity, imagination, and a keen eye for detail. You won’t ever have to worry about sacrificing one quality for another.
I have a wide range of professional experience in the world of photography. I have had the pleasure of working with a variety of subjects, from local families to corporate business professionals in the Lowcountry. As a photographer in Sullivan’s Island with more than a decade of experience, my top priority is not only to capture beautiful images but also to provide you with a relaxing, enjoyable photography session.
Now that you know a little about my background, let’s take a look at some of my most popular photography services in Sullivan’s Island:
Our company mission is to exceed expectations
Your family is probably the single most important part of your life. From children to grandparents, and even nieces and nephews, building a strong family bond secures your legacy for the future.
You will grow and change with your family throughout life and encounter many memorable milestones along the way. One of the best ways to document these milestones and relive your memories is with a family photo session.
I love family photography and strive to pour my soul and creativity into each shoot. While each session is different, I approach each one with the same goal: to capture the unique personality, affection, and energy of each family so I can provide authentic, engaging pictures and a uniquely fun experience.
Whether you have a newborn baby that you want to celebrate or have grandparents in town for a visit, Sullivan’s Island is an amazing city for family photography. There are so many locations in the Lowcountry that make for great family photography backdrops:
- Beaches – Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island, Kiawah Island, Hilton Head, Edisto Beach
- Popular Places – Washington Square, Broad Street, Ravenel Bridge
- Historical Sites – Sullivan’s Island Battery, Fort Sumter, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Rainbow Row
Whatever location you choose for family photography in Sullivan’s Island, the Holy City is a wonderful place in which to immerse yourself with friends and family.
As a family photographer in Sullivan’s Island, one of the reasons why I love working with families so much is the opportunity to get creative. I gladly accommodate the style preferences my clients are looking for – be it more traditional, posed images, or candid, playful pictures.
I use a relaxed style of direction to get your family engaged in our photography session, to help get authentic expressions that are full of life and happiness.
Here are just a few reasons why families choose Adam Chandler Photography for their family portraits:
Document Family Growth
With each year that passes, we grow – both literally in size and also in mind. Having annual family photographs helps document the advancements and growth you have in life. Family photography in Sullivan’s Island is a great way to remember the quirks or personality traits in your children, or to immortalize an important event like a high school graduation. Since we grow and change so fast, many families arrange for yearly family photo sessions to see their family’s growth year over year.
With each year that passes, new milestones are achieved. From a child’s first steps to a sibling getting married, there is no better way to remember such happy events than with photographs. Whether you are welcoming a new puppy into your life or just landed the job of your dreams, celebratory pictures of your family will give you heartwarming memories for the rest of your life.
The smiling, radiant face of your daughter after losing her first tooth. The loving glance between newlyweds. The happy father, beaming with pride after his son scored his first touchdown. As a professional photographer in Sullivan’s Island, SC, drawing out these feelings and emotions and capturing them on film is one of my greatest joys. Not because the pictures are great, but because you, as my client, will have so many years of enjoyment looking back at them.
Portraits and Headshots in Sullivan's Island, SC
A great headshot shows you at your best – whether you want to impress a prospective employer or need professional photography for your website. In today’s world of digital dominance, having a professional headshot or portrait of your team is becoming a necessity. It’s no surprise, then, that headshots and portraits are among the most popular genres of photography.
Headshots can be tricky, mostly because many humans just aren’t very photogenic. I know that for some clients, it can be hard posing for a professional photo; knowing their headshot or portrait might make the rounds with future employers.
Fortunately, I have years of experience taking professional headshots. Unlike some amateur photographers, I know how to draw out your personality to capture you at your best. I know how to compose your portrait based on the industry you work in or the goal that you have with your photoshoot. Clients choose Adam Chandler Photography because I advise them every step of the way – from the clothes they should wear to the expression they should have.
A professional headshot or portrait is an investment into your personal brand, and here is why:
Show Your Personality
A great headshot can help give people an idea of your personality before you sit down to meet them. For instance, a serious glance at the camera might convey determination. A big smile may say “I’m approachable.” My goal is to match your expression with your personality with every headshot or portrait I take.
Show Your Professionalism
Clients, collaborators, investors, and employers are much more likely to interview you or call your business if you look professional. You have taken the time to invest in your brand, and the important people you’re sharing your headshot with will appreciate your effort.
Stand Out on Social Media
Many of my clients make appointments for headshots and portraits when they want to stand out from the crowd on social media. Whether you own a business and need to create new social media pages or you are looking to network with recruiters on LinkedIn, a headshot lends an air of professionalism that you won’t get with a selfie.
Show Off Your Current Look
Having outdated headshots can send a message of inauthenticity. When you have up to date headshots, you’re showing clients and employers that you are confident, committed, and authentic.
Qualities of a Great Photographer in Sullivan's Island, SC
Being a great photographer means more than owning the best pieces of camera equipment. While a great camera gives clients the clearest, highest quality photos available, it won’t help me connect with my subjects. I strive to give clients a fun, enjoyable photo session. I use my knowledge and experience to help set up the perfect shot. After connecting with my client, I draw out their personality to produce a stunning final product.
Clients choose Adam Chandler Photography because I am different from my peers in the best ways possible. Here are just a few qualities that my clients appreciate:
I consider photography to be an artform – one that requires a creative mind and heaps of imagination. A great photographer needs to be able to take something ordinary and transform it into something beautiful. A back-alley puddle is about as mundane as it gets, but with the right technique and a little imagination, it can turn into something with much more substance.
This quality might seem like a no-brainer to most, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen photography that is missing something. More often than not, the photographer isn’t passionate about the subject or model that he or she is photographing.
Patience is an essential quality for all great photographers. Some days, picture lighting won’t cooperate. Other days, it’s hard to get that big happy smile from younger clients. That’s why patience and flexibility are so important. As a professional with years of experience, I understand that I must have the patience to deal with whatever comes my way and the flexibility to make the most out of any situation.
All photographers are created differently. Some photographers are more aloof and put in the bare minimum effort when it comes to speaking with clients. Others, like myself, relish the opportunity to talk with customers. That’s because interacting with subjects allows me the chance to see their vision and transform their idea into art. Talking with subjects lets me draw out their emotions and put younger subjects at ease. People skills are a must in this industry. Luckily for me, it’s one of my favorite parts of the job
Eye for Detail
As a professional photographer in Sullivan’s Island, SC I am meticulous when it comes to details. Every element of a photograph should be reviewed to ensure cohesiveness. You might think that a family photo session is cut and dry in terms of composition and detail, but all elements of a photograph must come together to convey the vision that my clients desire.
When you hire me as your photographer, I take all the following elements into consideration:
If you have a goal you want to construe with your photographs, helping you achieve that goal is often found in the details.
“I am proud to say that I am very passionate about my work. However, I’m also passionate about giving my clients the most enjoyable, care-free photography experience possible. My passion drives me to work harder, push farther, and strive to be better every day that I wake up.”Adam Chandler
Ready to Get Started?
One of my favorite things to do is to talk to clients about their vision. If you are in need of professional photography, let’s talk today about what you have in mind. Whether you’re looking for family photography in Sullivan’s Island or want new headshots for your employees, I am here to help every step of the way.
Latest News in Sullivan's Island
SC might make beaches provide free parking. Isle of Palms begs McMaster to veto bill
In a move that puts a South Carolina beach community at odds with both its neighbors and the state legislature, Isle of Palms voted Friday to oppose a state bill that would require free and unrestricted beach parking along state highways. The city’s resolution, which passed 7-0 during a special City Council meeting, carries no weight of law, but it does express the city’s d...
In a move that puts a South Carolina beach community at odds with both its neighbors and the state legislature, Isle of Palms voted Friday to oppose a state bill that would require free and unrestricted beach parking along state highways.
The city’s resolution, which passed 7-0 during a special City Council meeting, carries no weight of law, but it does express the city’s disapproval of a bill introduced by state Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Berkeley.
The legislation would require South Carolina’s beach communities to provide at least some free parking on state roads.
It also would give towns the authority to include paid public beach parking and to use those funds to maintain, operate and preserve things like beach parking facilities; beach access, maintenance, and renourishment; traffic and parking enforcement; first responders; sanitation; and litter control and removal.
The Isle of Palms council meeting Friday morning took all of 3 minutes and 12 seconds. Two council members, Ryan Buchannon and Phillip Pounds, did not attend.
Mayor Jimmy Carroll, reading from the resolution, said the goal was to express the city’s opposition to the implementation of the legislation “by all lawful means necessary.”
It also urges S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster to veto the bill when it gets to his desk.
The resolution also claims the legislation “clearly discloses that barrier island communities, including the Isle of Palms, are being singled out and treated differently from other municipal entities in this state in a politically motivated, unconstitutional response to the City’s actions taken in the interest of public health and safety.”
It continues, alleging the bill “violates The Home Rule Act, which explicitly gives municipalities the sole power to control roads and streets within the municipality for the public health.”
“Home rule has always been a fundamental part of why South Carolina is so wonderful,” Councilman John Moye said in an emailed statement following the vote. “When home rule is threatened at this scale, issues that local leaders and communities know how to best address are suddenly being managed by politicians in Columbia.”
Isle of Palms, which is located across the Intracoastal Waterway from Mount Pleasant, has become the nexus of South Carolina’s beach parking drama. The back-and-forth over free versus paid parking has sparked debates over who deserves access to state’s public sands.
The debate intensified last year when South Carolina closed public access to its beaches, all of which the state owns, at the start of the pandemic in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. After McMaster reopened the beaches in late April, Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island and Folly Beach took a more gradual approach, issuing their own emergency orders to restrict public beach access and reduce the number of nonresidents coming in at the time.
Isle of Palms is facing a lawsuit over its 2020 decision to temporarily block nonresidents from using more than 750 parking spots near the beach, leaving just 10 free spaces for visitors.
All beaches are now open to the public.
Recently, ahead of the busy summer tourist season, the S.C. Department of Transportation installed approximately 240 angled spaces on the land side of the state-owned Palm Boulevard, stretching from 22nd to 40th Ave.
State Rep. Joe Bustos, R-Charleston, argued on the House floor last week that the bill was not ready for a vote and urged further debate.
“This is not a beach access bill. This is a beach parking bill, and we need to understand that,” Bustos said.
His attempts to table the bill were unsuccessful.
The local resolution that passed Friday now puts Isle of Palms at odds with Mount Pleasant, a neighboring town that in January passed a resolution to show public support for Grooms’ bill.
The bill, S. 40, passed its final reading May 13 in a 102-10 vote in the state House. It now heads to McMaster’s desk.
It is still unclear whether McMaster will sign the bill into law.
“Governor McMaster is still in the process of reviewing the bill and greatly appreciates all input,” said Brandon Charochak, a spokesman for the governor. “He will make a final decision in the coming days.”
Memorial Day weekend, considered the unofficial start of the summer tourist season, is next week.
A group calling themselves the Barrier Island Preservation Alliance welcomed the move by Isle of Palms on Friday.
The group’s stated mission is to foster dialogue and community engagement to address the unique challenges of barrier island beaches.
Morgan Harris, an Isle of Palms resident and member of the alliance, said council members share their goals.
“They, like we, want Isle of Palms to continue to be an open and welcoming community that is safe for families, businesses and visitors alike. And they believe, as so many of us do, that we, rather than Columbia bureaucrats and politicians, are best equipped to make decisions about parking in Isle of Palms,” Harris said.
What's the best beach in SC? Here's what the locals will tell you.
Stretching 187 miles, the South Carolina coastline is beloved features of this state. That's why The Sun News should've known, when we asked readers where to find South Carolina's best beaches, the tea would be boiling hot. There's simply no universal favorite . No beach, nor region, in the very unscientific poll, re...
Stretching 187 miles, the South Carolina coastline is beloved features of this state.
That's why The Sun News should've known, when we asked readers where to find South Carolina's best beaches, the tea would be boiling hot.
There's simply no universal favorite . No beach, nor region, in the very unscientific poll, received a clear majority.
Here's what people said they love about South Carolina's beaches. Let this be a summertime sand guide.
There's a lot of sand to visit.
Almost every beach along the coast had at least a few spots families loved to visit. Here are the top four.
— North Myrtle Beach: "It is quiet and family oriented. It is where you can come and just relax, my happy place!" Charles Seastrunk said.
— Hilton Head Island: "Family oriented, great walking beach (love seeing the dogs in the morning) and well maintained," Laurie Pagnotto said.
— Garden City: "Family and dog friendly, lots of public parking, not too crowded, allows large tents," Cornelia Zell said.
— Fripp Island: "Perfect for family vacations," Cody Greene said.
Hidden about an hour south of Charleston, Edisto Beach was the biggest favorite among people looking for a quiet place to go (great spot for families, too).
"NO NEON!!! Quiet, peaceful, relaxing, beautiful," Robert Owens told us.
Farther north, Litchfield and Pawleys Island were prized for their calm atmosphere and lack of crowds. Some stretches of sand in those areas are limited to residents, but there are still plenty of access points for the public.
Cherry Grove sits as close to North Carolina as one can get without actually crossing the border. It was the most popular beach in the Grand Strand for our respondents. People loved it for how much space it provides and the (usual) lack of crowds.
"Large expanse of sand, quiet, great place to find sand dollars and seashells, and fabulous sunrises and sunsets. Waites Island across the inlet that is even more quiet and a great spot for a picnic after a kayak trip!" said Susan Wesmiller. Visiting Cherry Grove has been her family tradition for 30 years.
On the north end of North Myrtle Beach, Cherry Grove is still close to plenty of restaurants and hotels, making staying and visiting there easy, residents and visitors wrote.
"Love that I don't have to walk a mile to get from the parking lot" to the beach, Brenda Zumbaum said.
Folly Beach, in the Charleston area, was complimented for its laid-back environment, and in particular, its surfing. (Riding the waves requires a chill beach, doesn't it?)
Hilton Head Island was also a heavy favorite for surfing.
"VERY WIDE, SMALL CROWDS, GOO(D) SURF," Charles H. and Norma L. Wood wrote, rather enthusiastically.
Hunting Island, located across the bay from Edisto Beach, held a similar appeal for many respondents. In particular, the Boneyard Beach, where hundreds of trees felled by erosion create an eerie landscape, stands out to longtime visitor Merranda Michels.
"Hunting Island is the most beautiful and peaceful beach in SC," she wrote. "During the day, we enjoy time on the beach looking for shells and finding all kinds, including sand dollars and hermit crabs. They have a lighthouse and the boneyard, which is dead trees that rest peacefully on the beach with their dried roots still attached. At night, you can see every star in the sky as well as many shooting stars."
Beaufort resident Emily Hulsey said she visits the beach, which is "in our backyard," often. She also frequently camps there and said it is "devoid of oppressive crowds found at other beaches."
Scott French said he and his wife spent "many warm days" on Sullivan's Island when they were first dating and attending the College of Charleston. They fell in love with the beach and each other.
"Those memories are so special to us we named our son Sullivan," he said.
Not everyone wanted to tell us what the best beach is, preferring to keep it all to themselves. (Understandable.)
"I am not telling you what's the best beach in S.C. because then everyone would go there, and it wouldn't be the best beach anymore," Carl Roberts said.
Melvin Poole said Atlantic Beach, the only one he could visit during segregation, is still his favorite decades later. The city has long been the heart of the Grand Strand's Black community, hosting events like Black Bike Week every Memorial Day.
Kiawah Island is great for dolphin viewing, several people said. It also hosts some of the biggest golf tournaments in the nation.
"The beaches are beautiful!" Parker Merritt said. "They are never crowded and you can always find a quiet spot to enjoy a good book, plenty of space to fish if you'd like to take your reel out there, and easy going waves for kids to enjoy. The wildlife there is stunning, too! You can see dolphins strand feeding and hang out with the turtle patrol in the early mornings."
On Hilton Head Island, Coligny Beach was the most popular destination. Residents and tourists told us that they pride it for the ease of access, cleanliness and proximity to businesses.
"You can be on the beautiful beach and away from it all, while still being just a short walk away from several great restaurants and bars," Pat Sheley said.
Isle of Palms, near Mount Pleasant, is a "very pristine" beach, Sherene Chavous said. Others said they love it because of how close it is to downtown Charleston. Bored at the beach? Go paint the town.
Or ... maybe go to the mountains?
At least one person, we're not going to say who, isn't a fan of South Carolina's beaches.
"They're all dumps. No waves and dirty water."
Army Corps of Engineers will monitor Sullivan’s Island Maritime Forest cutting
SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - A Sullivan’s Island conservation group says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be monitoring, but not regulating, the upcoming clearing of the island’s maritime forest. After the Sullivan’s Island Town Council approved a settlement for the reduction of the island’s maritime forest, a conservation group called Sullivan’s Island f...
SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - A Sullivan’s Island conservation group says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be monitoring, but not regulating, the upcoming clearing of the island’s maritime forest.
After the Sullivan’s Island Town Council approved a settlement for the reduction of the island’s maritime forest, a conservation group called Sullivan’s Island for All said they were interested in preserving the woodlands as they stand.
That first vote took place in early October 2020, but the same town council amended their original plan in March 2021.
The Sullivan’s Island Town Council voted 4-2 to amend their original ruling and specified that the maritime forest could only be cleared if crews didn’t use heavy machinery like bulldozers to remove trees.
Sullivan’s Island for All says the Army Corps determined that the cutting plan would subsequently fall outside of their regulatory authority. The conservation group says the Army Corps provided no opinion on how ecologically destructive the plan is, only that the proposed work method is not considered to be a regulated activity.
The Army Corps’ regulatory oversight is limited to the discharge of dredged or fill material into jurisdictional waters, such as wetlands, Sullivan’s Island for All says.
According to the conservation group, the amended plan dropped the use of heavy machinery like bulldozers because it would have discharged fill into the wetlands and left the plan vulnerable to the Army Corps’ regulatory abilities. Instead, Sullivan’s Island for All says the amended ruling has led those who want to cut the forest to use chainsaws and poisonous herbicides.
While the amended ruling would have discouraged the Army Corps’ involvement, Sullivan’s Island for All says a recent ruling from the Corps signaled they would be closely watching to ensure Sullivan’s Island complies with all environmental regulations.
“Regardless of whether or not this plan uses chainsaws and poison instead of bulldozers to remove and cut thousands of trees and shrubs, the result is the same: this plan puts the public’s safety at risk by removing our storm surge protection,” Sullivan’s Island for All President Karen Byko said. “This is a dangerous plan that impacts our island’s resiliency and destroys a critically important wildlife habitat.”
Byko said the area is home to a wide variety of species including turtles, migratory birds, egrets, foxes, and dragonflies. She says poisoning the trees has some worried that the herbicide will do damage to the area’s water systems.
“We have concerns about this herbicide, that will literally be painted on tree stumps. There are no guarantees these toxic chemicals won’t be absorbed into the soil, contaminating wetlands or groundwater. Many are also concerned about runoff into storm water to the marsh, impacting the entire food chain,” Byko said.
Sullivan’s Island for All says they remain optimistic after a new pro-conservation Town Council was sworn in on June 15th.
Copyright 2021 WCSC. All rights reserved.
Bailey: Sullivan’s Island runaway council is history. It’s time to save the forest
Tim Reese could not have been more explicit: “The reason the home sold for such a premium is the view corridor, because it is not obstructed by the maritime forests. It is worth millions of dollars more in valuation because of the scenic views.’’ Reese, a top Sullivan’s Island real estate agent, was explaining to Post and Courier reporter Warren L. Wise how he helped pull off the richest sale in the history of the town, a $10.5 million deal for a massive beach house near the Sullivan’s Island Light...
Tim Reese could not have been more explicit:
“The reason the home sold for such a premium is the view corridor, because it is not obstructed by the maritime forests. It is worth millions of dollars more in valuation because of the scenic views.’’
Reese, a top Sullivan’s Island real estate agent, was explaining to Post and Courier reporter Warren L. Wise how he helped pull off the richest sale in the history of the town, a $10.5 million deal for a massive beach house near the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse, complete with a deluxe L-shaped pool.
And, of course, what’s good for the seller (Brooke Gordon, ex-wife of NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon) is good for the seller’s agent. This would be the same Tim Reese who, as a town councilman, cast one of the four votes in a series of 4-3 votes to ensure those “scenic views” forever — by cutting the maritime forest.
Reese and his fellow “cutter,’’ Chauncey Clark, are now former councilmen precisely because of those 4-3 votes. By 24 points, a landslide in anybody’s book, Sullivan’s Island voters in May reelected Mayor Pat O’Neil, a friend of the forest, over Clark, who spent the entire campaign telling anyone who would listen that the forest issue was settled — over and done with.
It’s not over. The people have practically shouted that it’s not over, and the new council that was sworn in Tuesday needs to listen. One resident after another spoke at the meeting to make sure the message was not lost on anyone. “You have a mandate, make no mistake,’’ said Larry Kobrovsky, a champion of the Save the Forest campaign.
A runaway council, looking after the million-dollar views and the interests of the few over the many, took a one-vote margin in a single council race two years ago and used the year of COVID to jam through a radical cutting of one of nature’s miracles. In May, voters showed them what a real mandate looks like.
While this shameful settlement was written to bind the new council’s hands, it’s a big beach out there, and there’s a lot of sand to throw in these gears. Town Hall has a duty to explore every possible alternative to right this wrong — and Columbia should, too. The forest is beloved across the Lowcountry, not just by those who call this magical little beach town home.
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The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, which must approve the settlement, and the governor, who is up for reelection, can count votes as well as anyone. The state — first the Department of Transportation and then the Legislature — stepped in to block paid parking on Isle of Palms, and it should find a way on Sullivan’s Island, too. This is no time to be silent.
Reese is but one good place to start.
State conflict of interest statutes make it clear that public officials should avoid matters where they or their businesses have an economic interest. “It is worth millions of dollars more in valuation because of the scenic views,’’ Reese said in Exhibit A.
Just so there was no misunderstanding, Reese offered Exhibit B in a subsequent story the following day: “My focus when marketing 1901 Thee St. to prospective buyers was to highlight the tremendous outdoor living spaces and views.’’
At maybe a 5% commission, a $10.5 million sale would yield a $525,000 payday for Reese, the buyer’s broker and their firms. That’s a whole lot of economic interest. If he had recused himself, there would have been no heavy-handed settlement to cut the forest, and he might still be a councilman.
I tried to ask Reese about this, but he didn’t reply to my telephone calls or emails. On Tuesday, Chauncey Clark and Sarah Church were in council chambers to receive plaques and an ovation in a classy show of appreciation for their service to their neighbors. Tim Reese, the third departing council member, didn’t make it.
Steve Bailey can be reached at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @sjbailey1060.
Editorial: Charleston beach access isn’t getting any easier, so prepare for the chaos
THE EDITORIAL STAFF
One of the earliest signs of a budding conflict over driving to a Charleston area beach was actually a missing sign. In May 1962, the repeated theft of street signs on Sullivan’s Island made headlines; more than 30 had been stolen in recent months, costing the town about $500 and causing headaches for local officials, such as Assistant Fire Chief James J. Rowland, who also painted the town’s signs. “We don’t put those signs up just to decorate the area,” he told a News and Courier reporter. “...
One of the earliest signs of a budding conflict over driving to a Charleston area beach was actually a missing sign.
In May 1962, the repeated theft of street signs on Sullivan’s Island made headlines; more than 30 had been stolen in recent months, costing the town about $500 and causing headaches for local officials, such as Assistant Fire Chief James J. Rowland, who also painted the town’s signs.
“We don’t put those signs up just to decorate the area,” he told a News and Courier reporter. “They are there for a specific and important purpose.” One missing sign warned of parking that blocked a beach access road. “The road,” he said, “is used to get emergency equipment to the water in case of drowning or other emergencies. To block that road could easily cost someone’s life.”
Suffice it to say the challenges around local beach access have evolved since then, but as many will discover as this Memorial Day weekend rolls around and as the weather and water get warmer, they certainly haven’t gotten any easier.
In fact, the tension between island residents and the growing number of people who drive to these communities to spend a day at the beach reached a crescendo last year, after several barrier island leaders voted to restrict access significantly as COVID-19 arrived. Those restrictions were peppered with growing tensions over where day-trippers may and may not park their cars — and how much they may be charged to park.
The dust-up even led to a new state law, sponsored by state Sen. Larry Grooms, whose district includes Mount Pleasant and some residents most upset by the new limits on access. The law, which Gov. Henry McMaster signed last week, clarifies that the S.C. Department of Transportation has the right to do what it always thought it had the right to do: namely, veto any parking restrictions island communities want to place on state-owned roads.
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That strikes us as a reasonable response: It doesn’t violate the concept of Home Rule, since it applies only to roads that are owned and maintained by the state. And it ensures public access to our public beaches won’t be excessively curtailed by local regulations — at least not on state roads. Beach communities unable to get the state’s blessing on plans to restrict parking have the option of working with the Transportation Department to transfer ownership of the roads at issue.
In fact, our beach access is getting curtailed by the simple forces of supply and demand, as our region grows in residents and its appeal to visitors, increasing numbers of whom must vie for space on beaches that aren’t getting any longer or wider or more numerous. And the problem is more acute on the roads, where parking and traffic lead to significant congestion, than on the sand itself.
We’re encouraged that CARTA launched a new summer weekend shuttle bus from Mount Pleasant to the Isle of Palms today, and we’re pleased that both Mount Pleasant and the Isle of Palms agreed to chip in so the shuttle can be free — a perk that we hope will persuade more people to leave their cars at Mount Pleasant’s Towne Centre shopping area and ride the shuttle. This obviously won’t solve the problem, but every little bit helps.
Getting to and from the beach is only part of the puzzle. The beaches also regulate things as varied as alcohol, pets, hole digging, fishing, shade devices, sand fencing, sea oats, metal detecting, fireworks and thongs. It behooves both vacationers and day-trippers to do a little homework ahead of time to make their trip to the shore as enjoyable and relaxing as possible.
South Carolina’s beaches certainly enhance our quality of life. But only 10 states grew faster than we did during the past decade, and while there are 10.7% more of us today than in 2010, our shoreline hasn’t changed much at all. So we need more planning and forethought about as how best to share these special places.