June 2012

JUNE 2012: Mayors Drew Laughlin and Lisa Sulka

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

Mayor: Drew Laughlin – Hilton Head Island


Here we are on sunny, delightful Hilton Head Island, enjoying a quality of life measured by a menu of amenities the envy of many. We enjoy a sense of security, peacefulness, and serenity. And that is good. At the same time, we live on a barrier island along the East Coast, vulnerable to hurricanes that have devastated other coastal communities. While we do not possess the ability to change the risk of experiencing hurricanes and tropical storms, we do possess the ability to prepare for them and increase our ability to recover from them.

Former Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight was asked in an interview, “Why is it, Bobby, that your basketball teams at Indiana are always so successful? Is it the will to succeed?” He replied, “The will to succeed is important, but I’ll tell you what’s more important—it’s the will to prepare.” Too often, hurricane victims’ ability to recover and rebuild are hampered by the fact that they were not prepared to recover and rebuild. We can do better, and the tools do so are at hand.

The Town of Hilton Head Island’s emergency reserve account, established many years ago so that funds would be readily available to begin recovery efforts should a storm occur, remains in place and strong. The ability this would afford to begin working immediately to restore our services, infrastructure and economy is a tremendous advantage.

Another key to our ability to respond effectively and rebound quickly is you. Our residents and business community are our most vital partners, and the plans you make to protect yourself and your family, home, and business do more than safeguard your loved ones and investments. Your effort also truly assists in speeding our overall recovery and the restoration of our quality of life. To assist you in preparing, we are pleased to provide several resources and services:

- The Citizen’s Guide to Emergency Preparedness folder is available at Town Hall, our fire & rescue facilities, and on our website (hiltonheadislandsc.gov/publicsafety/citizensguideemergencyprep.cfm).

- An Emergency Permitting and Repair/Rebuilding Guidance brochure is available at Town Hall and on our website (hiltonheadislandsc.gov/publications/brochures/emergencypermittingbrochure.pdf).

- Our free E-Subscription Service allows you to receive emergency alerts via e-mail or text. Subscribe for this free service through our website at hiltonheadislandsc.gov/publicsafety/emergencyalerts.cfm.

- Media releases and announcements will be issued frequently during weather events to keep you informed. These will be transmitted via our E-Subscription service as well as available on our website (hiltonheadislandsc.gov) and the recorded Hurricane Hotline (800-963-5023).

Let’s all take a few moments to prepare in case Mother Nature has something other than a peaceful summer planned for us!

Mayor: Lisa Sulka – Bluffton


With the recent approval of the demolition of the Graves House in Old Town Bluffton, I thought it appropriate to remind everyone who has an interest in preservation what we have done in the past in reference to our Old Town. We are in the process of reviewing our code to ensure that future requests will be handled much differently, and we are still hopeful that preservation will win out in the end.

In 1996, the Old Town Bluffton Historic District was designated a National Historic District. The Church of the Cross is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Additionally, there are currently 86 contributing structures (updated in 2008) in the Old Town Bluffton Historic District. Contributing structures are locally designated significant structures 50 years or older and located within the National Historic District.

In 2005, the Town of Bluffton was established as a Preserve America Community, a designation indicating the Town of Bluffton is committed to preserving and promoting its heritage and shares common goals of strengthening regional identities and local pride, increasing participation in historic preservation, and supporting economic vitality.

In 2006, the Old Town Master Plan was adopted, which serves as a guiding document for future growth and preservation of the Old Town Bluffton Historic District and sets forth principals to protect the National Register Historic District. Over 100 implementation strategies were identified in the Old Town Master Plan. Many have been completed, and many more have been adapted into routine application reviews and other daily operations.

Since adoption of the Old Town Master Plan, there has been significant private and public investment in the Old Town Bluffton Historic District. The estimated public investment is approximately $7 million, including streetscape improvements along Calhoun Street, May River, Bruin, and Bluffton Roads; improvements to Oyster Factory Park, DuBois Park, & Pritchard Park; creation/implementation of a wayfinding signage program designed to promote the Old Town Bluffton Historic District; The Wharf Street redevelopment project; and expansion of sewer services.

The estimated private investment is over $40 million and includes development of the Calhoun Street Promenade, Carson Cottages, Stock Farm, and Tabby Roads; new and expanding commercial businesses; restoration and rehabilitation of contributing structures including, but not limited to, Seven Oaks, the Pine House, and Preston Pottery; construction of the M.C. Riley Early Childhood Center; construction of new single-family residential structures; and hosting of many Old Town festivals.

The Old Town Master Plan update presentation, which provides additional information on the growth of the Old Town Bluffton Historic District, is located on the Town of Bluffton website, townofbluffton.sc.gov, under “News and Announcements.”

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