This is a brief summary of the Dewees Island architectural guidelines.  It is not the complete covenants and restrictions.  For all of the ARB guidelines, click here .

When you are going through the review process, you will generally go through 3 rounds of architectural review, although in some circumstances the first two submittals can be combined.  The ARB meets on the 3rd Friday of each month, but your plans to be on the agenda and any required documents are due by the previous Monday.

In 1975, the owners of Dewees Island placed the entire island into a conservation easement with the state through the Department of Natural Resources.  It limits development to the approved Master Plan (150 single family homesites) and requires the preservation and maintenance of the rest of the island in its natural state.

Our philosophy of development focuses on preserving the native environment and natural character of the island.  We believe people can have a positive impact on the environment and ecosystems.  Homes should minimize their impact on neighbors and the environment.

Dewees owners work with an architect and the Dewees Island Architectural Resource Board to insure that each project is environmentally sustainable. We encourage choices which preserve the natural character of the environment.

Humans build habitat similar to the way other species of wildlife nest within their selected habitats:


  • Homes should nestle within the tree canopy and natural environment.
  • Homes are oriented to take advantage of passive solar warmth and cooling breezes.
  • The maximum roof height, excepting chimneys, is 52 feet above sea level.
  • For each homesite, a maximum of 7500 square feet can be permanently disturbed.
  • Homes can be a maximum of 5000 square feet.  We encourage homeowners to build smaller homes by providing extra guest rooms at Huyler House.
  • Dewees island environmental guidelines
    Homes nestle into the tree canopy and take advantage of cooling breezes as well as views.

Building materials are environmentally friendly, sustainable, and natural whenever possible, requiring fewer resources:


  • Roofing materials are high quality, standing-seam metal, copper, slate or approved tile. (no asphalt or fiberglass shingles)
  • Siding materials include wood, cement board or other environmentally compatible materials.  High-quality, weather resistant woods such as cypress, cedar or treated pine are preferred.  Endangered species should definitely be avoided.  Tropical woods should be certified as plantation grown.
  • Natural ventilation is the norm.  Mechanical systems should provide maximum efficiency with the lowest energy use/ expense.
  • Ceiling fans should ventilate major living spaces, and utmost care should be taken to properly seal the house against infiltration of unconditioned air.
  • Paints and finishes are non-toxic, with low or no Volatile Organic Compounds.
  • Non-toxic products are used to improve air quality and aid with recycling.
  • Appliances are Energy Star rated to reduce energy and water consumption.  In-sink garbage disposals and trash compactors are not permitted.
  • All lighting is as energy efficient as possible.  Low-voltage lighting is recommended for porches, decks and stairs.

Attention is paid to the longevity and safety of home structures:

  • For all window and glass door openings, a hurricane protection system is required.
  • Monitored smoke detectors are required.
  • All homes have residential grade fire sprinkler systems which are monitored and maintained.
  • Heat detectors are installed on the ground levels of each home.
  • Beachfront homes are set far back from the ocean, reducing damage from erosion cycles.

We believe in working with and preserving the natural environment:

  • We use electric and biodiesel powered vehicles and equipment on shell roads, reducing run-off from paved surfaces.
  • Irrigation may only be a drip method system utilizing rainwater collected in cisterns. No individual wells are permitted.
  • Fertilizers and pesticides are limited to organic types and practices.
  • Composting is recommended.
  • All vegetation introduced to the island must be native to the Coastal Plain of South Carolina.
  • Only porous materials like natural sand, pine needle mulch or crushed oyster are used for walkways. Boardwalks may be utilized for crossing uneven, sandy or wetland terrains.
  • Site lighting is kept to a minimum, used solely to provide night visibility for pedestrians.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. james urban

    Thanks- this is the type of community I have been looking for! Can I build with a self contained 20x9x9 repurposed shipping container? It is 100% 0 impact on the environment.

    1. Our architectural guidelines require that the houses have a lowcountry look about them, which could easily be accomplished with a shipping container by adding a metal roof and porches. To be absolutely sure, you’d want to go through the ARB.

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