Design Review

Design Review is an aesthetic review of new development and renovations of existing development to protect what we call "Island Character".

What is "Island Character"?

"Island Character" is that sense of place, the uniqueness that is Hilton Head Island and sets our town apart from Bluffton, Myrtle Beach, Key West or anywhere else.

The Town adopted a Design Guide that gives examples of "Island Character". Decisions by the Design Review Board and staff are based on the Design Guide.

What parts of the Island require Design Review?

Those areas along major or minor roads, along the water and marsh front, resort areas, and around Sea Pines Circle and Coligny Circle.

When is a Design Review required?

  • New development (2 reviews required - Conceptual and Final)
  • Changes to existing development, including a building's exterior color or material
  • Freestanding signs over 40 square feet
  • Major changes or additions to landscaping, walls, fences, pavement and site lighting

The Design Review Process

A Principal Planner will assist with the application and guide you through the process.

Step 1. Submit Your Application

Download the application and submit it with all required materials and filing fee.

Minor Corridor Review Application

Major Corridor Review Application

Filing Fees:

  • New Development-Conceptual - $175
  • New Development-Final - $175
  • Alteration or Addition - $100
  • Minor External Change - $50
  • Signs (including temporary signs) - $25 plus $25 per sign face

Application Deadlines

Step 2. Staff Review

Minor Corridor Review

  • Small changes to existing development can be reviewed and approved by staff.

Major Corridor Review

  • New development and changes to the color or material of the exterior of an existing development needs review and approval by the Design Review Board.
  • Staff will prepare a report that includes a recommendation to the Board.
    Note: This is only a recommendation. The Design Review Board makes the final decision.

Step 3. Design Review Board Meeting

What can I expect at a Design Review Board Meeting?

  • The review of your application at the public meeting.
  • Principal Planner will present the application for the Board's review.
  • You have the opportunity to answer questions that board members may have.

The Design Review Board can:

  • Approve as submitted;
  • Approve with conditions discussed during the meeting; or
  • Deny the application.

View the Application Specific Review Procedures - LMO section 16-2-103.I

View our Community Development Application Process Table


Contact Alexis McIlwee, Principal Planner, at or 843-341-4676.