September 2014

A Word from Our Mayors

Author: Drew Laughlin & Lisa Sulka

Mayor Laughlin

We have three more months to go in the 2014 Hurricane Season. Prepare for hurricane season by bringing your building plans, as-built surveys, or site plans (commercial or residential) to the Community Development Department to be stamped for emergency permitting. In the event of a disaster, the Town of Hilton Head Island encourages all property owners to rebuild as quickly as possible. If you would like to rebuild your building as it is today, you can expedite the planning approval by having your plans stamped, free of charge.

To rebuild your house
It may be impractical to rebuild in full compliance with the current regulations in the Land Management Ordinance. The town has established a procedure to build back exactly what you had prior to the storm with some conditions.

To expedite the plan review process, bring the following items to the Community Department staff for review (The purpose of the documents is to verify what exists on the property and what is proposed to be rebuilt post-disaster.): Photographs of your home (all sides) or two copies of building elevations (all sides), to show the height; two copies of a site plan, showing all structures on the property in relationship to property lines, or two copies of an as-built survey of the property. If your home is located in one of the Neighborhood Character Overlay Districts, Folly Field, Forest Beach or Holiday Homes, please bring verification of the gross floor area. Please note that this process is not applicable to mobile home placement.

Note that photos of property layout (all sides) to show where any structure(s) sit on the property may be submitted for homes damaged less than 50 percent of the appraised value of the structure.

To rebuild a multi-family or business structure
You can bring the following items to the Community Development Department staff for review: two copies of approved site plans and notice of action (if possible), or two copies of an as-built survey of the property. If your property is located in the Corridor Overlay District (COR), please bring two copies of Design Review Board-approved plans and notice of action and two copies of Design Review Board-approved building elevations or pre-disaster photos of each structure (all sides) on the property. If the property is located in the COR and was developed prior to 1986, the property is exempt from the COR submittal requirements.

All of the above information may also be submitted in digital format (CD/flash drive). These plans will be stored with town records, and paper records will be returned to you. All information will be reviewed by town staff and, if acceptable, the plans will be stamped for the purpose of emergency permitting.

All post-disaster construction shall comply with current building codes, and compliance with the flood ordinance will be required. Additional drawings and plans may be required post-disaster, depending on the extent of the damage.

For more information, please call the Community Development Department Information Center at (843) 341-4757 or visit and follow hurricane season links.

Lisa Sulka
The Old Town Master Plan laid the groundwork for improvements to roadways in Old Town. Improvements have been made along May River Road and Bruin Road, including the addition of on-street parking, sidewalks, drainage improvements, curb and gutter, landscaping, lighting, and hardscape (benches and trash receptacles). Some of this work was accomplished with grant funding of $200,000 from SCDOT.

The final phase of work on May River Road is now underway. This project will add parking, curb and gutter, sidewalks, lighting, landscaping and hardscape from Pin Oak to Whispering Pine. Sidewalks will be added from Whispering Pine to Buck Island Road on the north side of May River Road. The town was successful in obtaining grant funding through SCDOT for this project, which has doubled from $200,000 to $400,000.

This last phase is in final design, and the landscaping design work is underway. Lighting has already been conceptually designed. SCDOT and Federal Highway Administration grant funds come with a heavy load in paperwork requirements and detailed step-by-step approvals, but this lengthy process is well worth the $400,000 savings to local taxpayers.

On a related note, town staff has gained recognition from SCDOT in terms of our ability to manage these projects locally; approval processes, which took over a year on the last project, have taken just a few months with this grant. While the grant funding for this project is a relatively new program under the Federal “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” (MAP 21), the SCDOT has systems in place to manage the grants, and the town has experience and relationships to facilitate a quicker and smoother grant-funded project.

At this point, the project is moving toward easement acquisition. No purchase of property is necessary, but some easements will be required for pedestrian access, drainage, and grading/construction access. Once this process starts, cooperation from property owners will assure the construction process moves forward more quickly. Approval of the easements and approval of the bid documents by SCDOT will be necessary before the Invitation for Bids (IFB) is advertised. Both SCDOT and Town Council must approve the successful contractor before construction begins. Immediately following the infrastructure construction, lighting will be installed. Landscaping will occur right after the lighting installation to assure the other work does not harm newly planted material.

The grant funding will come on the front-end infrastructure work this time rather than at the end of the job. We are confident this scheduling will provide a quicker transition from infrastructure construction to finishing touches with landscaping. As always, town staff is available to discuss the plans with any interested citizen; Karen Jarrett can be reached at (843) 706-7802 for more information.

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