1. What is Commercial Access?
Commercial access is the process of granting access to contractors, vendors, and service providers who engage or intend to engage in any business, occupation, or profession within the Seabrook Island Development (SID). In addition to building contractors, any business owners or operators providing services or estimates for services such as landscaping, pool maintenance, HVAC repairs, house cleaning, home health assistance, dog grooming, etc., are also included.
2. How do Contractors/Vendors gain access to the SID?
The Rules & Regulations provide two options for access. Contractors can purchase annual vehicle barcodes for their employees’ work vehicles. Each barcode is assigned to a specific vehicle and is not transferrable. The barcode allows the contractor to enter the gate via the right lane during contractor hours to go to job sites. This is an easy and economical option for contractors who work on the island for more than 21 days/year and helps reduce traffic backups. The other option is for the contractor to purchase a daily pass to go to their work location.
3. Are there fees to the Contractors/Vendors for Commercial Access?
Yes. Commercial access regulations went into effect in the mid-1980s. Access fees have been in place for decades. After considerable committee review and input from Property Owners, the SIPOA Board approved charging for commercial access effective January 1, 2000. The access fees have been reviewed several times since then.
4. What is the purpose of the access fee?
Access charges are a revenue-generating tool where income is set aside for maintenance and eventual replacement of our roads, plus staffing for Gate Access control and Patrol services.
5. If I enter my contractor as a “visitor/guest” in the Gate Access system, do they get free access to the Island?
No. Visitor/guest passes may not be used for commercial/contractor visitors.
6. Are there any “free” contractor passes?
No. There are no complimentary contractor passes regardless of whether the pass is arranged by the owner through the Gate Access system, or the contractor requests a pass at the gate. This ensures equitable charges for all contractors working in the SID. Before your contractor arrives, ask them if they need a daily pass or if they have a commercial access barcode. If they have a valid barcode you don’t need to enter them on your guest list and there is no additional charge to them for entry.
7. How do I enter contractors on my guest list?
Adding a contractor and arrival dates to your guest list speeds the pass process. When adding a contractor to the Gate Access system, check the “vendor/contractor” box for that person or company. This allows the system to issue a “contractor” pass for proper identification of the vehicle and verification of the work hours the vehicle can be on the island. You can email or text a QR code to the contractor. When the contractor arrives to obtain their pass, the QR code will be scanned, and they will be charged the daily access fee. Additional instructions on how to arrange gate passes are available HERE.
8. Why should I pay directly or indirectly for costs caused by commercial vehicles?
All vehicles, regardless of size, cause wear and tear to our roads. The fee is based on the number of axles on each vehicle and is paid by those performing commercial activities in the community. Most gated communities charge for commercial access. SIPOA’s rate is equal to or less than other similar-sized communities.
9. Do all contractors pay the same fee?
The barcode and per-axle fees are the same for all contractors driving a specific category of vehicle.
10. I employ house cleaners/home health aides who come to my house on a regular basis. Do they pay the same amount?
The daily pass rate is the same as for all other contractors. However, the Access Fee schedule includes a special barcode rate that applies to sole-proprietor domestic services and home health aides. The cost of this barcode is $50/year. The barcode can be obtained at the SIPOA Commercial Access Office on Landfall Way. The application is available HERE.
11. Are there any exceptions to contractor access fees?
Yes. Utility companies, public service providers, government vehicles, SIPOA-contracted vendors such as the trash/recycling contractor, UPS, USPS, FedEx, DHL, Amazon, and newspaper deliveries are not charged for access. Owners with ID arriving in taxis or ride-shares can obtain an owner’s pass for free access. Other consumer delivery services such as Lowes, Home Depot, Best Buy, and PODs are not charged for access and are able to access the SID between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays and weekends. Moving vans pay the daily access rate per number of axles.
12. How do Gate Officers identify contractors?
Contractors who obtain barcodes must submit driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations to SIPOA annually before a barcode is issued or renewed. Contractors who obtain daily passes must present a valid driver’s license before each pass is issued. Gatehouse cameras record videos of the contractor, their vehicle, and license plate. In addition, many contractors work on the island regularly, and Gate Officers are familiar with them and their companies.
13. Can my contractor purchase a daily pass for multiple days?
Not at the present time. Passes are issued to a specific driver of a specific vehicle, and a daily pass ensures that the pass remains with that driver and vehicle. We are researching new technologies that may provide other options.
14. Are there penalties if I choose not to designate a contractor as a “contractor/vendor” on my guest list
Yes, repeated failure to comply with the commercial access rules may result in a violation assessment.
15. What are the contractor’s work hours?
The Rules & Regulations specify contractor hours and holiday hours HERE.
16. Am I required to use the Gate Access system to enter passes?
No, but for accuracy and to assist in rapid access through the gate, it is strongly recommended. The system and mobile app are easy to use. Instructions can be found HERE. SIPOA Admin staff is also available to assist with Gate Access orientation.