ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD) – The owners of Tidal Wave Water Sports, docked at the Isle of Palms Marina, say that the future of their business is uncertain after the city voted last night not to keep their lease as is. The business has been in the same spot on Isle of Palms for years.
Michael Fiem, part owner of Tidal Wave Water Sports, says “We love the community”.
For more than two decades, Tidal Wave Water Sports has provided jet skiing, parasailing and other water activities at the Isle of Palms Marina. The owners say that their passion is providing a safe and fun experience.
Fiem says, “Parents in the summertime bring their kids down for birthday parties, they bring friends from out of town. We serve the community so much while serving the tourist base here as well.”
The owners say that their lease is up for renewal, which has typically never been a problem, until now. They say this is because, last year, DHEC notified told them that the dock they operate from has never been properly permitted. They say that they always thought the city held the permit but claim that DHEC told them it was the business owner’s responsibility.
Fiem says, “There is a permit issue with our dock. The last permit was actually in 1995, before the city even owned the dock. The city purchased the marina in 1999 and issue leases, and it was just overlooked. We had no idea that we required a separate permit. We just assumed that it was the city’s because it was the city’s property.”
The owners now worry that this permit mishap could be held against them as the city reviews their lease agreement.
Fiem says, “The real property chair is uncomfortable with this lease negotiations moving forward. I am a little frustrated by that, because it wasn’t a problem that we were aware of. We feel like the victim in this and we are just trying to get into compliance.”
The City of Isle Palms responded to our request for comment on Friday, April 26th. Their statement reads:
“On Tuesday, City Council voted to notify Tidal Wave Watersports of its intention to not automatically renew the existing lease as written. The existing lease expires in September 2020. Before entering into negotiations of a new lease for this operation, City Council wants to have a special meeting to discuss their vision for the marina property. Since learning of the compliance issues related to the TWWS dock, the City has been committed to working with the tenant as the City pursues a new permit to ensure that the existing dock is compliant with the regulatory agencies.”
DHEC has responded to our request for comment on Friday, April 26th. Their statement reads:
“DHEC notified Tide Wave Water Runners of noncompliance in September 2018. In March, the City of Isle of Palms notified DHEC that it would pursue the after-the-fact permit for the unauthorized structures/activities in coordination with Tidal Wave Water Sports.
Any time an owner/operator wants to amend what DHEC has previously permitted them for, it is their responsibility to notify DHEC and seek authorization before any modifications are made.”
The owners of Tidal Wave Water Sports say that, for now, they are still open for business. They hope that this can be resolved quickly so that they can continue operating as they have been for decades.