Throughout my involvement with the Town government, there is one thing I know for sure – we will always have to manage growth on Hilton Head Island.
Our traffic, the strain on our roadways, our increasing population, and the building of new communities indicate that growth management strategies are critical for the island. As Town leaders, we identify and implement ways best suited to manage and balance growth for the short- and long-term.
One strategy we recently employed was the purchase of a 12.019-acre tract of land along Jonesville Road, between The Paddocks and Graham Lane. Ownership of this property strengthens our commitment to managing growth and essentially pauses some development in the Jonesville Road area. In the coming months, Town Council will work with the community to determine the best use for this property.
Another strategy underway is reviewing and proposing amendments to the Town’s Land Management Ordinance, commonly called the LMO. Town staff worked with consultants to thoroughly review the LMO and address residential and commercial development design standards, natural resource regulations, and administrative procedural improvements. This strategy will align the LMO with the Town’s Comprehensive Plan, called Our Plan, incorporate a growth framework strategy and district planning recommendations, and provide for land use policy recommendations.
At Town Council meetings in March, we approved several amendments that resulted from this review. In addition, on the Town’s website (hiltonheadislandsc.gov), we have added a specific page about the LMO. It details these amendments and future work that will take place as part of the LMO overhaul.
Balancing and slowing growth requires a thoughtful and thorough approach, which is why this next strategy is so important. When Town Council met for its strategic plan workshop in January, we identified establishing a growth management strategy including creating and adopting island-wide district plans as one of our top 15 priority projects.
Town staff is already working on this growth framework project that includes an assessment of demographics, economics, workforce, real estate, natural environment, housing, governance, and community engagement. This information will provide a baseline to establish acceptable levels of service, consider island capacity, and provide critical data for the growth framework and district planning for island communities. We will also use this information to create a growth framework map, a tool to guide a sustainable future for island development.
With these approaches, we hope to have a better handle on projects that impact the quality of life in communities across the island and on the island itself. At various times, we may come to community residents for input. Or, if you have feedback on growth management that you would like to share, please reach out to me at AlanP@hiltonheadislandsc.gov or your Town Council representative.
Alan Perry is the mayor of Hilton Head Island.