DINA accepting officer nominations for leadership, committee positions in leadup to Feb. 2 leadership transition
By Charlie Morrison
The time has once again come for the change atop the leadership pyramid of Daniel Island’s only island-wide neighborhood association, and volunteers are needed. The close of 2016 brings with it the end of the two-year terms of Daniel Island Neighborhood Association (DINA) President Glenn Williman, Vice-President Bob Graham, and Secretary Nicolette Stocker. Each has opted not to seek second terms and thus, up until next meeting on February 7, the group is pushing for its members to submit nominations for their replacements, the next two-year administration of Daniel Island’s oldest and most important citizen group.
DINA is not only seeking new officers, but is also accepting nominations for volunteer positions on a trio of important citizen committees that have a major impact on the island’s quality of life, the DINA Land Use and Zoning Committee, Safety Committee and Membership Committee. At their upcoming, February 7 meeting, the members of the organization will be, by secret ballot (when necessary), voting on various nominees to not only fill the three officer positions but vacancies on those committees as well.
Since its formation in 1998 DINA’s purpose has been to represent the interests of all Daniel Island residents in communications and interactions with the municipalities that govern the island, the City of Charleston and Berkeley County. The role of the organization is to foster communication, cooperation, and community on the island and to present a unified front, when necessary, on issues of import that come before the respective municipal governments.
To understand the importance of DINA one must know it’s history, how the organization came to be, and the purpose it serves. Also relevant to the story of DINA is that it wasn’t an easy organization to create, the citizen body that formed the organization faced resistance throughout the process.
That process began in earnest back in 1997 when, frustrated by the communication process between the Daniel Island Company, residents, and the City of Charleston, a group of early island residents banded together and began exploring options for organizing. It was right about that time that former Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley, Jr. announced his plan to create an organization of neighborhood organizations throughout the City. The plan was adopted by City Council in September of 1997, and the group on the island took notice.
“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,” said McQuillan. “After three, sometimes contentious, meetings the Neighborhood Council approved our association covering the entire 4,000 acres on Daniel Island.”
Since that time, the organization has prodded and prompted the City and Berkeley County to act on behalf of island residents, on issues large and small. As of 2014, some of the accomplishments DINA was responsible for include the completion of Governor’s Park, the establishment of one-side parking, the completion of tree trimming of street trees, and the negotiation of an improved street lighting agreement with the City. Additionally, DINA initiated the study that ultimately led to the Berkeley County School Board committing to keeping an elementary school on Daniel Island.
“What gives us some importance is that we’re recognized by the City (of Charleston) and that’s a great thing. We do get heard by the City, and so when we put in a request in theory it has more sway than a request put in by a private citizen. And it’s the same with the (Berkeley) County, said Williman in an interview with The Daniel Island News.
Having held the position for nearly two full years now, Williman has an idea of what qualities he’d like to see in nominees to both leadership and committee positions within the organization. “I think they have to want to serve, they have to take some pride in where they live and the fact that we’re trying to make our home better or at least as good as its been,” he said.
One of the DINA committees that needs volunteers is the Land Use and Zoning Committee. The mission of the Land Use and Zoning Committee is to monitor development on the island. Whether it be the construction of new buildings, the creation of parks and recreation areas, the enhancements to those parks, or the effects of those projects on the population of the island, the Land Use and Zoning Committee is the place to go for residents with concern about how property on the island is being utilized.
Williman beams when discussing the activities of that body, which serves as the neighborhood association’s de-facto watchdog when it comes to major development and infrastructure projects coming to the island. “We certainly ramped up our communication on the land use and zoning stuff, we attended several zoning board meetings, we actually successful in getting one thing turned around, and on others at least made our voices heard,” said Williman of the committee’s last two years of activity.
A second committee needing new volunteers is the Membership Committee. The DINA Membership Committee is dedicated to enhancing citizen participation on the island and enhancing Daniel Island’s sense of community. The committee was formed to grow the organization’s membership and communicate DINA’s role in the community at meetings, with realtors, and through their public presence at events.
The final committee accepting new members in 2017 is the Safety Committee. The DINA Safety Committee coordinates with residents, businesses, civic and municipal organizations, and law enforcement to promote safety and security across the island. The Safety Committee is the hub around which public communal public safety efforts are coordinated.
“On the safety side of things, we did a number of good things, I think, on the island in terms of traffic calming. A lot of single-side parking, which I think improves traffic flow quite a bit, and we have introduced a number of still pending requests for crosswalks and things like that,” noted Williman of the Safety Committee.
Williman stresses the importance too of the membership committee and the role it plays in not only growing the size of DINA, but also communicating what DINA does and what the organization doesn’t do. “I still think there’s an education problem. People are moving on the island all the time and a lot of times people don’t understand the difference between DINA and the Daniel Island Property Owners’ Association. They don’t understand the different organizations,” he said.
If you want to learn more about how to nominate someone for a DINA leadership or committee post, the organization itself, or how to join, see DINA’s website at http://www.dineighborhoodassociation.org.