To promote and defend the quality of life and economic interests of residential property owners – both resident and non-resident – in Sea Pines Plantation, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
The Alliance for Sea Pines Future is an organization composed entirely of Sea Pines property owners formed for the purpose of representing the best interests of all residential property owners in Sea Pines Plantation. Many property owners in the Plantation are not aware of proposed plans by Sea Pines Resort to make major changes in the Harbour Town area that includes expansion of the current HarbourTown Inn from 60 to 150 rooms. This and related construction in Harbour Town will impact all of Sea Pines Plantation and result in significant changes to the appearance, density and composition of the buildings and open areas. The referendum necessary to allow these changes requires a 75% approval of those voting among both ASPPPO members and all property owners of Sea Pines Plantation.
The need by the Resort for passage of an owner approved referendum represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to resolve simultaneously all the quality of life and economic issues that have persisted in Sea Pines for many years. But in private negotiations with the Resort over the past two years representatives of the ASPPPO board (the Sea Pines organization granted by covenant the mission of representing property owners) have developed a proposed offer or “term sheet” that fails to adequately address the most important issues and obstacles to achieving passage of the referendum. Concerned owners’ reasonably view the current content of the term sheet as shortsighted and believe it should be unsatisfactory to a majority of Sea Pines owners – especially those in the Harbour Town area. The granting of an additional 90 rooms is permanent. The solutions offered to concerned owners must be comprehensive and permanent also.
The Alliance is dedicated to educating and providing information to concerned property owners. Our objective is to achieve a more equitable agreement with the Resort if possible, but defeat the referendum as currently constructed if necessary.
Background and Overview – Alliance Perspective
The Resort/CSA/ASPPPO effort is attempting to orchestrate the appearance of consensus for approval of the referendum by skillfully managing communications and selectively dispensing information that puts the proposal in the best light. Members of the Alliance however believe that appearance of consensus will evaporate once the complete picture is communicated to the broad ownership.
Based upon preliminary information made available and the Resorts’ recent improvements to the Beach Club, Plantation Club and the HarbourTown Links Clubhouse, it is expected any construction - including the 90 room Inn expansion - will be visually appealing and consistent with the high standards of quality Sea Pines owners should expect. But the information provided thus far of the greater Harbour Town area changes is grossly incomplete. The timing, location and constructions details of elements including relocation of the tennis academy, the Harbour Town community pool and a parking facility are vague and inadequate. Harbour Town property owners should be particularly alarmed by the lack of specificity and reassurance of access to amenities that have been freely available for all Sea Pines owners since the Plantation was developed over forty years ago.
Very simply the current offer is a bad deal. The value and benefits to the Resort of the Inn expansion are immense – in the many tens of millions of dollars in perpetuity. The current “term sheet” however could be described as conveying only temporary use of invaluable real estate, a one-time partial payment of what is already owed and future payments by the Resort at a lower rate than required by existing covenant. The omissions in the current offer – regarding quality of life and economic fairness issues - are substantial and the financial implications to the Resort of potential resolutions are relatively insignificant in the context of a $100 million investment and greatly enhanced future revenues.
The Alliance members do not necessarily oppose the approval of the additional 90 rooms to the Inn, but believe it should be the result of an open process that achieves a comprehensive and equitable outcome for all Sea Pines property owners. The support of the ASPPPO and CSA boards for approval of the Inn expansion and passage of the referendum is entirely understandable. A prosperous and vibrant Resort is in all owners’ best interests and the revenues generated by expansion and enhancements are sorely needed by CSA to maintain and improve the infrastructure of Sea Pines. Nobody disputes these potential benefits. But the contention of supporters that failure to pass the current referendum will result in the loss of all the potential benefits is nonsense. Should the referendum be defeated - as appears likely at present - the only plausible result would be postponing the referendum vote and renewed negotiations. But should this occur time would be wasted and the benefits to all parties would be delayed.