The Town of Hilton Head Island’s municipal code is composed of hundreds of local ordinances related to environmental control, zoning regulations, property maintenance, political and other nuisance signs, behavior on our beaches and at our parks, use of our pathways, sea turtle protection, plastic bag use, business licenses, proper lighting, illegal dumping – and the list goes on.
Our expectation is that residents and businesses will voluntarily comply with these codes. But we also have a community code enforcement program to help keep things in check. The purpose of the program is to promote a clean, healthy and safe environment for our residents and visitors.
Last year, we recognized the need to expand our community code enforcement program to keep up with the pace of monitoring, education and compliance necessary to ensure our laws are followed. Last June, when we adopted our fiscal year 2023 town budget, we approved the hiring of a director of public safety and four more community code enforcement officers.
Bob Bromage, who was a major and public information officer with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, was brought on as the director of public safety for the town. His charge is overseeing our new public safety office, including our community code enforcement program.
Prior to this year, the town had two code enforcement officers, Wendy Conant, who joined the town staff in 2017; and Todd McNeil, who joined the staff in 2019. In the past two months, the town expanded its community code enforcement program with the addition of two new code enforcement officers, Mack Brown and Morgan Thompson.
In the next year, we plan to add two more officers to the team. Together, this team of six will help support our community through education and compliance. Not only will they uphold community public safety standards, but they will serve as ambassadors for our community.
Before issuing a citation, they will take the opportunity to educate people about a violation or why we have certain standards in place for our community, and come up with possible solutions to resolve an issue. On occasion, they might have to deal with a homeless person, or a gathering where the noise is too loud. Either way, they are trained to assist as best they can or neutralize any situations. They know they can connect with local law enforcement officers to handle matters beyond their control.
We also want to make sure we have an experienced and trained team in place to assist with strategic action initiatives that are being implemented and that will be online in the coming months. Among town initiatives that have a community code enforcement element are our short-term rentals regulations that become effective Jan. 1, 2023, our parking master plan, our expanded beach services, and e-bike regulations.
Over time, more initiatives will emerge and will require this team’s attention. More importantly, our community code enforcement team is here to serve the public and respond to their needs.
If you have a question about town code violations, please reach out to our code enforcement team at 843-341-4600.
John McCann is the mayor of the Town of Hilton Head Island. JohnM@hiltonheadislandsc.gov