DINA is a City of Charleston recognized neighborhood council made up of volunteers who work jointly with the city and county on the island’s issues.
Our purpose is to act as a liaison between all residents and Berkeley County and the City of Charleston. We communicate information from our governments and strive to keep you informed on significant developments affecting Daniel Island. We also do the reverse and communicate the interests of residents to Berkeley County and the City of Charleston.
Our mission is to be a civic voice and to foster a sense of community and cooperation for Daniel Island and all its residents. The strength of DINA rests on the commitment of its membership. Together, we can speak with a louder voice to accomplish more for our community.
President: Marie Delcioppo – president@
Vice President: Bob Graham
Treasurer: Stewart Miller
Secretary: Margaret Case Little
DINA – A Brief History
To understand the genesis of the Daniel Island Neighborhood Association (DINA) one must go back to 1997 to garner what was going on at that time. There were approximately 25 houses occupied and a like number in various stages of construction. The residents and people building homes referred to themselves as pioneers and were becoming a close knit group. These houses were spread over the first two neighborhoods on Daniel Island, Codner’s Ferry and Etiwan Park. The pioneers were optimistic and excited about the development but realized they had no say in what was to be developed on the island. The developer maintained, and still does today, total control of the property owners association. They decide what amenities will be built, where they will be built and how they will be funded. The developers position at that time was that they were spending most of the money so the individual homeowners really had no rights to a voice. There was little communications from the developer and residents did not receive notification of any pending action in the existing neighborhoods or the entire island.
The residents needed to protect their interests so the group formed a loose association and started to look at alternatives and options. It was at this time that one of the members discovered that during this period Mayor Joseph Riley, Jr. had recently formed a Citizen’s Participation Plan that was adopted by City Council in September 1997. The following is taken directly from the plan document:
Purpose: Charleston City Government recognizes the need and desirability of involving its citizens more directly and on a continuing basis in its decision making process. To meet this need, this Citizens Participation Plan is designed to achieve improve communication, understanding and cooperation between Charleston citizens and city officials through increased personal contact at City Hall and local neighborhoods. Citizen participation is crucial if efforts to preserve and revitalize the community are to be effective. The goals of the plan include the following:
1. Provide for the institution and operation of an officially recognized process for citizens participation in the City of Charleston governmental decision making.
2. Provide assistance to citizens seeking access to the municipal government officials processes and documents.
3. Provides citizens with timely and current information concerning:
a. public policies;
b. plans and programs for the utilization of public resources;
c. other activities and events of importance to citizens.
4. Provides city officials with timely and current information of citizens feelings concerning:
a. community problems, plans and projects;
b. Their relative priorities;
c. self-help community development action being carried out by citizens;
d. recommendations for action by the City.
We approached the City Neighborhood Association and gathered information about how we could form our own Neighborhood Association for Daniel Island. We discovered it was not going to be an easy process. To initiate the process we had to draft by-laws and then contact the City of Charleston’s Neighborhood Council and make our request public. The Council posted notice in the Post and Courier Tuesday, May 26, 1998 that there would be three meetings held in City Council Chamber to accept public comments. The dates were June 10, June 24 and July 8.
The citizens were surprised when the developer representative, Frank Brumley showed up at the first meeting to oppose the formation of an association using the name Daniel Island. His view was that we should have an association representing only the first two neighborhoods. Of course this would have not allowed the residents to have any official voice with the City about projects island wide. Residents showed up in force to support the newly elected officers: President, Mac McBride; Vice-President, Al Vitalo, Secretary, Em Stracke and Treasurer, Sue Detar. After three, sometimes contentious, meetings the Neighborhood Council approved our association covering the entire 4,000 acres on Daniel island.
It is worthy to note that relationships between the developer and residents had a marked improvement almost immediately. Communications from the developer began to flow better and the POA representative, Joy Cunefare was invited to attend the monthly DINA meeting so she understood our position and she could relate it first hand to her management team.
Several years have now passed and we believe all parties have been well served by having DINA with an official voice with the City. Matt Sloan has stated that DINA can often get more of a response from the City than he can. He has to be careful about how hard a position he takes because the City has the power to make it difficult when the DI Company seeks any zoning or variance changes.
Over the last few years DINA, the POA and the developer have worked in concert to get the City to begin and/or complete several improvements on the island. None of these improvements would likely have happened without all three entities pulling on the same end of the rope. They include the following and more:
1. The completion of Governor’s Park.
2. One side parking that has greatly improved safety and traffic flow in the neighborhoods.
3. Tree trimming of street trees which has made a major improvement in the views and ease of walking.
5. Negotiated an improved street lighting agreement with the City which has resulted in many more street lights being lit.
6. An active Safety Committee has initiated many projects to improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety. The result is more street striping and strategically located stop signs.
7. Convinced City to reverse the direction of short street beside the Fire Station.
8. Initiated a much needed study to determine which county Daniel Island should be in. This has already had at least one positive impact with Berkeley County School Board committing to keeping K through 8 grades on DI.
All of this has been accomplished by a few residents.
Written by Mac McBride, 2014