March 2014

March 2014: Mayors

Author: Drew Laughlin, Lisa Sulka | Photographer: Photography by Anne

Join the Team
The Town of Hilton Head Island, like many towns and cities in South Carolina, relies on residents to work on various boards and commissions. Most of the appointed positions are for three years (starting July 1) with the possibility of a second, three-year term. The job of board and commission members is critical to our work and success. As we say “the pay is low (okay, we don’t pay) and the work is hard” (okay, that is true), but it can be very rewarding.

We have the following boards and commissions: 1) Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee (ATAC); 2) Board of Zoning Appeals; 3) Construction Board of Adjustments and Appeals; 4) Design Review Board (DRB); 5) Parks and Recreation Commission; and 6) Planning Commission (PC). Some members of these boards and commissions are eligible for re-appointment, and some must be replaced because they are at the end of their second full term. We need to replace two members on the ATAC, two members on the DRB, and three members on the PC. So, let’s take a look at these three bodies, and you can determine whether you have the background or interest to make a difference for your town.

The ATAC is composed of seven members with a majority being selected from the hospitality industry. At least two of the hospitality industry members must be from the lodging industry. One member must represent a cultural organization i.e. from arts, historical preservation, museums and festivals. The ATAC makes recommendations to town council of expenditures of revenue generated from accommodations taxes.

The DRB is composed of seven members. To the extent practicable, we try to have one attorney and at least two but not more than three design professionals such as architect, landscape architect and graphic artist. We will be looking to appoint one attorney and two design professionals.

The PC is composed of nine members. The PC prepares and updates our Comprehensive Plan: reviews proposed zoning changes, public projects, conditional uses, street and development name changes, and traffic impact analysis applications. To the extent practicable, we try to have one attorney and one design professional. We will be looking to appoint one attorney.

We also need to nominate a resident to Beaufort County Council to fill a position on the Southern Beaufort County Corridor Beautification Board. The board advises and makes recommendations to the county council in the planning, design, implementation, fundraising, and promotion of corridor beautification.

A town council personnel committee, composed of three town council members, interviews selected candidates from our pool of talent bank applications and then makes recommendations to the full council. The committee will begin contacting selected persons soon, and council hopes to make appointments by June.

If you want to be involved in the town’s future, let us know. To download an application, visit our web page at http://hiltonheadislandsc.gov/boards/boardmembership.cfm.


Cyclists Welcome in Bluffton

As more people discover Bluffton’s unique charms, it shouldn’t be a surprise that different modes of transportation are used to explore our lovely town. Early in our history, traveling by boat or horse & carriage was quite common. Nowadays, automobiles are the primary mode of transportation, but we are seeing a notable increase in traffic of the two-wheeled variety. Cyclists are getting to key destinations using pedal power, and we welcome them.

When cyclists visit places of interest, it is important that they have a safe place to park their bicycles. The Town of Bluffton has gone to great lengths to install bike racks on public property to accommodate those cyclists. Does your bike have a fishing pole strapped to the back? Well, there’s a bike rack at the Calhoun Street Dock near the Church of the Cross. Want to buy some oysters or shrimp? There’s a rack near the Oyster Factory by the benches overlooking the May River. Have business at Town Hall? Look out front. Going for a frolic at DuBois Park? Check by the playground past the pavilion. Even beyond these key places, the Town has installed bike racks in more locations ranging from the Tom Herbkersman Commons by the Promenade to the Buckwalter Place Greenway Trail to the sitting area at the corner of Pritchard Street and Bruin Road.

Of course, other public agencies are in on the act as well. Just up the road from the sitting area noted above is a bike rack at the Beaufort County Public Pool. There are other locations, too, should you choose a more sedentary experience. Take your time searching for a good book at the Beaufort County Public Library over in Bluffton Village, and your bicycle will be safe and secure in the rack outside.

Many bicycle enthusiasts in Bluffton and the Lowcountry use this mode of transportation for more than exercise or visits to recreational venues. Some people go out shopping at the many eclectic stores or dining at our wonderful restaurants. If you don’t see a bike rack at your local merchant’s place of business, you might want to mention it to the proprietor. It seems certain that the private sector will get behind this trend as well.

With more bicyclists entering the public transportation network, it is important for all travelers to co-exist on our roadways. State law provides guidance for motorists and bicyclists alike. For example, if there is a bicycle lane adjacent to the roadway, motorists cannot block that lane and they must yield to a cyclist before entering or crossing the bike lane to make a turn. If there is no bike lane or there is only an adjacent recreational bicycle path, then cyclists may ride on the roadway itself. Of course, cyclists must ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, and they may not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles. While state law provides this information and more, the best approach is a simple one: share the road. Just as we all share the great destinations in this town, from the May River to the Historic District, so too should we share the roads and paths that get us there.

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