From staff reports
The green space known as Oak Island on St. Helena Island is now protected from development thanks to a group of anonymous donors from Dataw Island.
The group, Oak Island Preservation LLC, comprises an unknown number of Dataw Island residents who purchased the land and donated it to the Dataw Island Owners Association (DIOA) with significant restrictions to assure it will remain protected from development.
Oak Island is accessible only by water and via a bridge inside the gated community of Dataw Island, and it has changed ownership several times. The most recent private owner aborted plans to build condominiums and gave the parcel to The Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy determined its best plan for the island was to re-list it for sale with restrictions requiring much of it to remain natural and for only a few estate-sized compounds to be allowed to be developed.
After a short time, Oak Island Preservation LLC came forward with an offer to purchase the land. An acceptable offer initiated a months-long negotiation with The Nature Conservancy and the Beaufort County Open Land Trust to author a set of easements and guidelines that would please all parties.
Negotiations were held between Barbara Holmes of the Beaufort County Open Land Trust, Jim Grimsley and his team at Tupper, Grimsley, Dean and Canaday and The Nature Conservancy.
“I’ve never known another attorney or firm to be as responsive and proactive in helping to complete a challenging closing during an even more difficult period in a short period of time,” Ted Bartlett, general manager of Dataw Island, who acted on behalf of the DIOA throughout the process, said in a release. “Dataw appreciates the stewardship and leadership of Grimsley during the negotiations and the subsequent closing. He and his associates were a solid partner and a real asset during the transition, as was the Beaufort County Open Land Trust. It’s an arrangement that we can all be happy about. A true win-win-win.”
The transaction has closed and the property has been transferred to the DIOA to maintain as a passive recreation area. Plans included some minor trail maintenance, addition of benches, and a dog exercise enclosure.