I want to give you a brief look in to the Growth Management Department, which consists of three divisions: Planning and Community Development, Building Safety, and Customer Service.

Planning and Community Development includes review of all development-related activities and permits, preparation and implementation of plans for the Town, historic preservation, the Neighborhood Assistance Program, and affordable housing program.

Building Safety includes the review of all building permit applications and the associated inspections.

Customer Service includes the acceptance of all applications and permits and provides information to the public and Bluffton community.

The Customer Service division focuses on the customer and their needs (as all divisions do). The department includes four staff members – the manager, two customer service assistants, and a planning assistant.

They are responsible for the input of all permit applications and plans in the permitting software (Energov). The next steps are:

  • Forward plans to the appropriate reviewers
  • Ensure that all required documents are included in applications
  • Take payments for all permits
  • Assist with meeting coordination and inspection scheduling
  • Answer questions concerning everything and anything
  • Operate as the Town’s front desk and concierge

Although one division is titled “Customer Service,” ALL departments and divisions within the Town operate on an “I’m here to help” attitude and culture.

When reviewing a development project and related building permits, staff becomes a member of the development team – to assist to get the project built and operational as quickly as possible, while meeting all of the required rules and regulations.

Staff’s customer service role is to help you identify the next steps and how to proceed forward, assist with questions, provide related information on outside agencies and related information, identify challenges and solutions, and to inspect the site and make sure that everyone proceeds with no additional hurdles.

Staff reviews plans as quickly as possible and will let you know anticipated timelines at the initial stage. Clear expectations are key to the process.

There is a customer service commitment to Town of Bluffton customers and community through the processing and reviewing of applications, building and site inspections for safety and quality assurance and always as kind, happy and respectful as possible.

Staff is here to help and request comments and feedback along all steps of the process. It is important to know if things need to be addressed and changed, as well as what things are we doing that we should keep doing and remain unchanged.

If you ever have questions or feedback on the Town’s processes and customer service, contact Heather Colin, director of growth management, at 843-706-4592.

Lisa Sulka is the mayor of the Town of Bluffton.