What's Happening on Hilton Head after Hurricane Matthew?
The short answer is that our unwanted visitor has come and long gone but the work continues. The amount of effort that has been put forth by the Town of Hilton Head and all staff coordinating the cleanup with everyone from local communities to FEMA and the outside contractors has been amazing! Here are just some of the stunning facts!
The 2 stories tall pile of trees has resulted in 395,216 CUBIC YARDS of mulch which has been hauled out to various locations including a paper mill, farm, and to Savannah to be shipped overseas. The Oakwod Landfill, firewood supply company, lumber supply company and a hardwood sawmill have also been the recipients of some of the mulch. Interesting fact - some of the logs were hauled to the Port of Savannah for logs to be exported to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam!
(P.S. the island smelled so lovely during the holiday season with all the fresh pines; this is basically a way to at least have some positive feelings)
Emergency building permits issued - 642
Regular building permits issued - 563
There are still many roads in Hilton Head Plantation but fewer in Sea Pines, where the debris/logs/stumps/branches are still piled up along the road. Many enterprising folks during the holidays painted the ends with pictures of Santa, Christmas trees, and just brightly colored to make them seem less gloomy.
WHAT ABOUT FEMA
Fema was wonderful! There have been some grumblings about FEMA not allowing some claims, or the claims being lower than a homeowner expected but as far as the coordination and hauling and communication with local entities, FEMA seemed to this layman to be performing very well. They were on the island meeting with homeowners and facilitating claim forms within the first 10 days of the disaster.
Back to the ends of the stumps/logs being painted. This does NOT apply to the red "X"s painted by Tetra Tech who monitor to be sure that FEMA guidelines are not violated due to piles being ineligible for FEMA reimbursement. The debris from commercial properties (and apartments and condos), undeveloped lots or designated open spaces are not eligible. THe property owner is responsible for this clean-up and removal; having said that, many of the communities have been very lenient and have helped homeowners at least clear driveways so that access could be gained.
WHAT ABOUT THE BEACH
The waves certainly created beach erosion as well as the erosion of some of the rip rap and protective barriers at the shorelines throughout the island. Thankfully, the Town was in the process of a beach renourishment project and when the storm was approaching, the equipment was removed from the beaches and ocean for safety but because it was already permitted, the equipment is back up and running and working its way up the beach to the north end of the island. Had some of the renourishment not been already completed; especially on the Port Royal Sound in Port Royal Plantation, the damage to homes waterfront would have been much worse.
Now, save for some of the palms that are still looking a bit sparse, the beaches are open and, if you dare to get into the water at 60 degrees now, the depth of the water does not seem to have changed much.
IS IT SAFE TO COME BACK
A resounding YES! To be honest, I've been here 20 years and it looks fresher, more open, more light, you can see streets and buildings easier to get around. Also, it's a great time to come to buy since you can see at a glance whether or not a property had been impacted by water, or whether there had to be trees cleared, or the new view! There's always a rainbow after the storm!
The information was gathered compliments of John McCann, Councilman for the Town of Hilton Head. If you're interested in Hilton Head becoming your home I'd highly recommend signing up HERE for his newsletter.