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Media Release

Circle to Circle Committee – May Community Forums

Release Date: April 23, 2015

Contact Information:
Jim Gant email icon , Circle to Circle Committee Chairman

Initial Phase of Circle to Circle Planning

Executive Summary

During the sixties and early seventies, the Coligny Circle area became the commercial hub of the island. It was spawned by and grew because of its proximity to the beach, the concentration of cottages along North and South Forest Beach Drives, nearby hotels, and the growing population of Sea Pines Plantation.

The functional character of the area was that of a small town center. It was the "Downtown" of Hilton Head Island. This relaxed atmosphere and subdued architecture helped shape the first impressions of island visitors.

The Circle to Circle Committee has been chartered by Town Council to develop an area master plan for Coligny Circle through the Sea Pines Circle, and seeks your input in defining what this area should be 10-15 years from now. You are invited to learn more about this process and to provide input at a series of public forums scheduled during the month of May. Your input is critical in molding the future character of this area. You may also provide input via the Town website.

The Committee is asking for your input on the questions identified below, as well as any other input you wish to offer.

Community Forum Schedule

Town HallCouncil Chambers4 pmMonday, May 11
Beach/ColignySt Luke’s Church6 pmTuesday, May 12
Palmetto ElectricCommunity Room7 pmTuesday, May 19
Sea Pines*CSA Community Room10 amWednesday, May 20
Hilton Head Plantation*Plantation House4 pmWednesday, May 27

*Not open to general public.

Background and Context

Role of the Circle to Circle Committee

The Committee was formed by Town Council and directed to develop a master plan for the area from Coligny Circle through Sea Pines Circle and on to the location of the old Food Lion on Palmetto Bay Road. The Committee's charter includes developing a vision for the area, projecting future development, and making recommendations to address infrastructure requirements.

While the scope of the Committee's charter is broad, there are some Town Council decisions that are beyond the scope of the Committee. These include the decision to redevelop Town land near Coligny Circle, and the decision to build a USCB Campus on Office Park Road. However, the impact of this redevelopment activity on traffic and parking along with other growth in the area will be reviewed by the Committee.

Purpose of the Area Master Plan

An area vision/master plan is intended to articulate how the community sees itself in the future, and how it expresses the character and values of the community. It should identify actions that the Town must take to encourage reaching that vision, and obstacles that must be overcome. The Town's role is to enable that vision through appropriate regulations and public investment so that private development is stimulated and occurs in line with the vision.

Island Values and Island Character

Hilton Head Island has been successful for many years thanks to its focus on natural resources and understated development. It is important for the future of the island that we continue to follow these values:

  • Living in Harmony with Nature, Protecting the Natural Beauty, and Creating a Unique Sense of Place
  • Sustaining community prosperity through a diversified, strong local economy based upon resort, retirement, and non-hospitality businesses
  • Providing meaningful experiences that cherish our history, the arts, cultural diversity, and enrich the lives of our residents and guests
  • Striving for excellence in everything we plan, build, do and maintain
  • Providing a serene, safe, and healthy living environment for residents, guests and visitors
  • Working together and volunteering for the greater good of the Hilton Head island community

Changing World

While residents and guests alike value the Hilton Head Island style and ambiance, their wants and needs change over time in relation to the island’s maturity, economic conditions, and interests of visiting tourists. For example:

  • Tourism which slumped during the recent recession is currently at or near pre-recession levels and growing. The Chamber of Commerce indicates that 2.6 million people visited HHI in 2014. YTD 2015 tourism is 9.8% above last year
  • Traffic and parking challenges are increasing due to growing tourism and businesses in Coligny/Sea Pines Circle area
  • As the Bluffton area continues to grow, will there be an increasing demand for day trips to visit the beach?

Questions/Considerations for Community Input

  1. What is the long term (10-15 year) function/purpose of the Coligny and Sea Pines Circle area and how can its unique experiences be made better for residents and visitors?
    1. Things to consider:
      1. pedestrian friendly/walkable
      2. types of business development to encourage - for example should the Town encourage new business in vacant office space
      3. the Hilton Head "brand" is embedded in environmental stewardship. How does that get addressed/sustained?
  2. What are the most important changes needed to achieve the long-term function/purpose?
    1. Things to consider
      1. are the area's amenities, activities and services adequate to meet changing trends in experiential vacations of younger families vs simply "going to the beach". What’s missing?
      2. how do the area's amenities support the resident population?
      3. what role can/should the Town play, if any, in stimulating refurbishment of outdated commercial space and condos?
      4. are there ways to make this area less car-centric
  3. What are the biggest threats to meeting that goal?
    1. Things to consider:
      1. traffic and parking are clear issues - what are your thoughts on how to address these and are there others?
    2. is continued growth in Bluffton and day tourism to beaches an obstacle or opportunity?

How will community input be used?

The Committee will collect all citizen input and develop common "themes". A community feedback session will be scheduled to review the common themes and ensure the themes represent the community input. This information will be reported to Town Council/Planning Commission and published to citizens via the Town website. The themes will form an integral part of defining the vision/master plan for the area.