October 2012


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

At The Touch of a Key
As the Town of Hilton Head Island continually strives to improve its delivery of information and services to our residents and visitors, our website at hiltonheadislandsc.gov has become a valuable tool in this effort. In 2012, the site has averaged 1,186,261 visitor hits and 106,059 page views per month. The goal is to provide services and information to the public in an easy and convenient way.
The following is a sample of the services and information available on our website:

• E-Subscription Service and Emergency Alerts. This service enables you to subscribe to topics of interest such as press releases, meeting agendas, newsletters, employment opportunities, and hurricane season information, and to receive e-mail notifications when information is updated or added on the website. Emergency alerts subscribers will receive instant notifications by e-mail or text message in emergency situations.

• Building Permits and Inspections. This service provides the ability to view inspection results and research town permits obtained since October 1998. Additionally, registered contractors can apply online to obtain simple permits and schedule inspections on their open permits.

• Business License Renewals. This service enables you to renew your business license securely and will calculate your fee based on the current business information and the company’s gross revenue that is provided.

• Parking and Traffic Tickets. This service enables you to securely view specific case information such as fine amount and court date/time as well as pay parking and traffic tickets.

• Public Meeting Agenda Packets and Minutes. The public meeting calendar contains all scheduled public meetings and the ability to link to and view full agenda packets and approved minutes for those meetings.

• Beaches, Parks and Pathways. This service provides an interactive search by park, facility type, or by amenity. Pages include photos and maps of parks and pathways.

• Flood Hazard Zones. In addition to flood awareness information, an interactive search provides the ability to determine the flood zone of a property by simply entering an address.

• Wards and Voting Precincts. Interactive search allows you to enter your address and determine your town council ward and voting precinct.

Additional resources:
• Publications, including forms, applications, maps, brochures, newsletters, adopted plans, press releases and public notices
• Hurricane preparedness, evacuation and disaster recovery information
• Municipal code, land management ordinance (LMO) and comprehensive plan
• Licensed business search
• Requests for bids/proposals
• Employment Opportunities
• Town council and staff contact information

The town’s website offers a vast amount of information on a wide array of topics and is continually expanding the information and services provided. Please visit hiltonheadislandsc.gov and begin experiencing the convenience of electronic government.

Update on the May River
I was shocked by the comments made last week while I was at the grocery store. A gentleman approached me and asked how everything was going with the town and then proceeded to tell me how disappointed he was that we were doing so little with the May River. He must have noticed my mouth drop to the floor. Then I realized that if our citizens don’t come to our monthly council meetings or follow our updates on the web, then they really don’t realize how much money, time and effort the town is spending on this critical issue. Continue reading and you will see some great news that has come from all of the hard work by our staff and community.

The stormwater division has a staff with diverse skill sets dedicated to protecting our waterways. This team has been equipped with the latest gear and specialized software to develop a computer model of the May River Watershed, which helps us understand the current condition of the river and predict future effects of new projects and best management practices.

These tools also help us check the effectiveness of the various stormwater projects already in progress, which include new construction, retrofit of existing infrastructure, and measures to reduce volume and treat stormwater before it reaches the May River. Some projects wouldn’t be possible without the cooperation of forward-thinking landowners.

Credit also goes to the many residents and stakeholders who served on various committees leading up to Town Council’s approval of the May River Watershed Action Plan, with an advisory committee to guide ongoing programs. Experts from all levels of government give willingly of their time and knowledge along with representatives from higher education and the non-profit sector. The Town of Bluffton and Beaufort County continue to work together with these partners on watershed protection.
Homeowners and businesses participate in activities such as rain gardens, rain barrels, buffer gardens, pet waste stations, and community education. One such event, The Annual Beach/River Sweep is September 15 at Oyster Factory Park, 9 a.m. This program unites volunteers around the state in the largest one-day event dedicated to the preservation of our waterways.

With all of the work in progress, it is about time to get some great news. DHEC’s shellfish manager noted seven special permit holders, including the Bluffton Oyster Factory, were allowed to start harvesting oysters on September 1 to be followed by the regular season beginning September 15. According to DHEC, a portion of the previously restricted shellfish harvesting area from eastern Gascoigne Bluff to near Linden Plantation Road is being opened. This area totals approximately 21.5 acres of harvestable shellfish grounds that have been re-opened in the May River. With the help of dedicated citizens, volunteers, and staff, we can work together to return the May River to its full glory and ensure protection of all watersheds here in the Town of Bluffton.

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