February 2012

February 2012: Mayors Drew Laughlin and Lisa Sulka

Author: Drew Laughlin and Lisa Sulka | Photographer: Photography by Anne

Interested In Hard Work And No Play?

Politicians promise a lot, don’t they? But I can make a promise to you that I will guarantee to keep. We need volunteers to become members of our town government boards and commissions so that we can continue to serve our fellow residents in the most professional way possible. The job is typically for a three-year term, no pay, and often technical in nature. That’s not exactly a sales job to induce your participation, but let me ask you this: Do you want to play a major role in the island’s future? Do you want to weigh in on recommending hundreds of thousands of dollars directed to island non-profit organizations? Do you want to earn the admiration of town council and fellow residents for giving to your community? I thought so. My promise is: hard work, no pay, but admiration from all. What a deal!

The list below briefly explains the duties of our various boards and commissions. You are welcome to call town council members or staff with any questions you have about the terms, duties, and responsibilities of each.

1. Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee.
Reviews applications and makes recommendations to town council about disbursement of accommodations tax funds.

2. Board of Zoning Appeals.
Hears and reviews Land Management Ordinance (LMO)-related appeals, variances, and special-exception use applications.

3. Construction Board of Adjustments and Appeals.
Considers variances from standard building code and hears appeals from the building official.

4. Design Review Board.
Considers aesthetics and design applications along designated corridors.

5. Parks and Recreation Commission.
Makes recommendations to town council for the establishment of an effective parks & recreational system for the town.

6. Planning Commission.
Prepares and updates Comprehensive Plan; reviews all proposed zoning changes, public projects, and traffic impact applications.

Current planning commission chairperson Loretta Warden was kind enough to offer her comments on serving the town. She said, “People often ask me about prerequisites for service in our town. My response is always twofold: passion and vision. One needs to be passionate about everything that makes our island special, and one needs to have vision to imagine the future of our island and, with the help of staff and the community, make it happen.”

So, apply today.

Applications are available online at hiltonheadislandsc.gov; at town hall between the hours of 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday; or by fax through the town clerk, call 341-4604.

Update On Town Of Bluffton’s Building Safety Office

In 2009, the Bluffton Town Council approved the development of our own building and codes department. Prior to this, building permits for the town were issued through the Beaufort County Building Department. The Building Safety Office is responsible for ensuring that construction within the Town of Bluffton complies with adopted building codes and other regulations related to construction within the town. Construction plans are reviewed and approved by staff, and inspections of job sites are conducted. The Building Safety Office is a part of the Town of Bluffton Growth Management Department.

Since 2009, the Building Safety Office has issued 2,100 building permits and, in the year 2011, over 250 new single-family permits were issued for the Town of Bluffton.

During calendar year 2011, inspectors conducted approximately 6,000 site inspections. Inspectors can spend more time in the field completing the heavy inspection load due to the use of field computers that allow for posting inspection results from the field. The Building Safety Office is also responsible for enforcing the town’s regulations related to unsafe and uninhabited structures. Through these efforts, 34 unsafe and uninhabited structures have been removed, thereby improving the safety and health of the community and enhancing the character of neighborhoods.

The Building Safety Office was originally located on Bluffton Road but moved to Town Hall at 20 Bridge Street in August. This move has improved customer service by consolidating various approvals and business processes into one location.

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