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Press Release

Changes to Commerical Permitting Process

Release Date: August 31, 2011

Contact Information:
Teri Lewis email icon , LMO Official, (843)341-4698


The Town of Hilton Head Island has responded to the public's request to re-design the development and building permit process. This endeavor is the first step towards fulfilling a Town Council 2011 goal to 'foster greater flexibility, simplicity and revitalization' in the permitting process.

For the past 6 months, Staff has been working to simplify the process, beginning from the point where a person first has a conceptual idea for a new commercial project all the way through plan review, project approval, construction and receipt of a Certificate of Occupancy. Drs. Terry Ennis and Robert Gentzler have been instrumental in guiding staff through this effort. They have previously worked with several companies doing management consulting, including using best practices involving work simplification. This endeavor entailed:

  • mapping out the process by detailing the existing step-by-step procedure
  • seeking input from over 60 public stakeholders who have various experience in requesting or reviewing a new commercial permit
  • re-designing an idealized step-by-step approach based on comments and suggestions from the public stakeholders
  • changing the procedure and philosophy to provide flexibility, predictability, efficiency, and effectiveness. This also includes making the process as user-friendly and customer-oriented as possible.

Beginning October 1st, any customer applying for a permit to build a new commercial development or addition will undergo our revised permitting process. Major changes to the procedure include:

  • Dealing with a Single Point of Contact throughout the entire process - the Project Manager. The role of this staff person is to 'form a partnership' with the applicant to ensure the permitting process goes as smoothly and as quickly as possible. The Project Manager will be the applicant's 'Advocate'’ with accountability for setting priorities and resolving any issues to facilitate project approval.
  • Improving Predictability & Flexibility. The applicant will receive consistent information from staff as early as possible with minimal subjectivity on code interpretation.
  • Streamlining the process. The project will be a priority among all review staff, with elimination of unnecessary steps and time delays, resulting in cost savings to the applicant. Consolidation of paperwork and encouragement of electronic submissions will also be included.

The success of these changes will involve continual monitoring and solicitation of feedback from the applicants and the public throughout the next year. The Town welcomes suggestions from the applicants, business and property owners as they proceed through this new process in order to make continual improvements.

Commerical Construction Permitting Brochure PDF Icon