A South Carolina appeals board has voted to reduce the stiff fine applied by state regulators on the condo association for Wild Dunes Ocean Club Villas on the Isle of Palms barrier island near Charleston, reports news website TheState.com (see: "SC regulatory board reduces seawall fine with conditions," by Joey Holleman). "The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control's board on Thursday suspended all but $110,000 of a $749,000 fine against an Isle of Palms property owners' group that knowingly built an illegal seawall," the website reports. "The remainder of the fine would be reinstated if the Wild Dunes Ocean Club Villas violate any other coastal management requirements in their effort to protect their buildings perched on a highly erosional beach."

The Charleston Post and Courier covers the story here (see: SC environmental officials reduce fine for illegal Wild Dunes seawall," by Jeremy Borden). The reduction didn't satisfy the condo association, the paper reports: "'We had hoped it would be considerably less than that,' condo association president H.E. 'Buddy' Derrick said Friday, adding community leaders are considering appealing the decision to an administrative law court. Derrick said the condo association was faced with building the seawall or possibly having the complex condemned because of beach erosion while waiting for a renourishment that began this fall."

But DHEC director Catherine Templeton told the Post and Courier that the condo owners deserved the "punitive" fine. Said Templeton: "Honestly, the issue here was the knowing, willing circumvention of the law in a context where the state has been working to help this beachfront (community) for decades. They knew they couldn't do this and they did it. They sort of shrugged their shoulders and were ... uncooperative."