As the town continues to develop, it is important to relay information on the processes we use regarding any development projects.

Ninety-two percent of the town is located within a planned unit development (PUD), leaving only 8 percent of the properties to be governed solely by the Unified Development Code (or UDO) in terms of land development and zoning, such as permitted uses, densities and, subsequently, the review process.

Bluffton Explorer is a great tool to use to search a property to find out the applicable zoning district. This is located on our website,

The review process is based on the location and the applicable zoning and is indicated in the applications manual that is posted on our website.

Each application has an established procedure that outlines the staff and technical review meetings, as well as public meetings where public comment is strongly encouraged.

The process for all projects starts with a pre-application meeting with town staff and other agencies that have a regulatory role, such as the United States Post Office (USPS), utility companies, and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC).

The purpose of this meeting is to discuss an idea or proposed project, including discuss the feasibility, applicable standards and next steps.

The next steps are determined based on the zoning and specific request, and might include the following meetings and opportunity for public comments for consideration:

  • Development Review Committee (DRC) or Historic Preservation Review Committee (HPRC): This is a public meeting with all parties to discuss technical review comments;
  • Planning Commission or Historic Preservation Commission: This is a public meeting or hearing to review the application and associated staff report, and to receive comments from all parties, including the public, and make a recommendation or decision based on compliance to all applicable regulations and plans; and
  • Town Council: These are public meetings or public hearings to consider final approval of applications, which take into account the technical review, recommendations from the Planning Commission, public comments, and compliance to all applicable regulations and planning documents.

There are many processes and review bodies, depending on the location of the development and the development project itself. All town meeting agendas and application information are posted on the town’s website, along with all of the development agreements and applicable review documents.

Monthly detailed reports for each department, which include all public meeting agendas and reports on all applications, along with the specific project information, are included at every regular town council meeting and also posted on the town’s website.

Town staff is always available to answer any questions and provide additional information as well as attend meetings to make informational presentations on latest development trends or other related topics.

As always, if you have any questions call Heather Colin, the town’s director of growth management, at 843-706-4592.

Lisa Sulka is the mayor of the Town of Bluffton.