The area we call Forest Beach consists of 8 different “subdivisions,” all of which started out as property owned and developed by The Hilton Head Company (THHC), The Hilton Head Land Company (THHLC) and The Lighthouse Beach Company (TLBC), dating back to the early 1950s. Charles Fraser knew that his plan for development, done in harmony with the natural environment, needed protections from overdevelopment and placed a variey of covenants and restrictions on the land when it was sold so that his vision would not be lost. In the early sales and development most of what we now consider to be the “covenants” were written directly into the transfer deeds of the property. These restriction remain on those parcels to this day. To aid in a uniformity of conditions, THHC, THHLC, TLBC, etc. wrote and recorded covenants that mirrored nearly the exact language that appears in these early deeds, making the covenants applicable to all properties that were at any time owned by them.
Since the 8 subdivisions were developed at different times, multiple covenants exist, at least one set for each subdivision and in some cases multiple covenants that are applicable. The oceanfront subdivisions have additional covenants that apply specifically to what is referred to as the “beach strand” areas, land that resides between the oceanfront lots and the mean high water mark of the Atlantic Ocean. Add these to covenants to lots where duplex structures were permissible (no longer allowed under Town code) and an all-encompassing “master” set of covenants applicable to most all properties, and the path to understanding any specific property’s covenant restrictions becomes even more complex.
Now, add the dissolution by bankruptcy of THHC, THHLC, TLBS, et al and the sale of the declarant rights to the covenants and properties owned by THHC, THHLC, TLBC, etc., and the story gets more confusing. Not all of the declarant rights to the covenants and remaining, undeveloped properties within the various subdivisions were sold to any one entity, although the Forest Beach Owners’ Association, Inc. does own the declarant rights to most of covenants. However, even the ones that we own the declarant rights to have certain sections where ownership and rights to enforce were retained by others before they came into the possession of the Association.
So that this story is not considered over, add in the various legal decisions that have clarified the application of the covenants and restrictions, ownership rights and the validity of rights of enforcement, and we truly have a mired past. In a nutshell, all restrictions placed upon a property by deed in Forest Beach remain and cannot be “erased” by failure to include them in a future transfer deed. All of the covenants placed on the land by THHC, THHLC and TLBC et al, remain in full force and effect. Many sellers tend to gloss over these points, as do some Realtors and closing attorneys. If you have questions, please email us at email@example.com and we’ll gladly assist you in deciphering the map known as Forest Beach covenants and restrictions.
We have provided, where possible, the original copy of the covenants, as filed with the Beaufort County Register of Deeds. Where the scanned document is not easily read, we have re-typed the document in a Word Document form for ease of access.
The Association assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of any re-typed document and recommends that you seek advice from your legal counsel should the need present.