October is National Community Planning Month, designated by the American Planning Association to celebrate the role that planning plays in creating great communities. 

Planners work to improve the quality of life by taking a comprehensive perspective that leads to safer, resilient, more equitable and economically strong communities. Our town has some of the best planners in our area and they have been working very hard on many projects from our strategic plan.

One of the main ways planners do this is through the Comprehensive Planning process. The Town of Bluffton is currently working with MKSK as the lead professional planning consultant to rewrite the town’s plan as required by the State of South Carolina. 

Our Comprehensive Plan Project has been titled “Blueprint Bluffton” and is anticipated to be complete and adopted by June 30, 2022. The title speaks for itself as it is exactly what is says – a true blueprint for how we want our town to evolve.

The first part of the project is community engagement, which included roundtable discussions, online surveys, and one-on-one meetings. This process has engaged more than 1,000 responses, and we continue to receive input. 

The input focused on perceived strengths, which included local restaurants and businesses, Old Town, the people, and the small town feel of Bluffton. 

Weaknesses and areas of improvement included traffic and the fast pace of development.

The final plan will include an analysis and goals for the following elements:

• Population

• Economic Development

• Natural Resources

• Resiliency

• Housing

• Land Use

• Cultural Resources

• Transportation

• Community Facilities

Project steps include: Research, review, and background; Initial Community Engagement; Needs Assessment; Visioning & Policy Direction; Plan Refinement; Plan Adoption.

Blueprint Bluffton will serve as the vision for the town and the community and will be used to guide development, review projects and guide future policy and projects.

Public input is key to making this project a success. There will continue to be requests for input, including online surveys, community meetings, and Planning Commission and Town Council meetings. 

More information is available on the Town’s website, townofbluffton.sc.gov/721/Blueprint-Bluffton-Comprehensive-Plan,

or contact Charlotte Moore, project manager, at 843-706-4561 or cmoore@townofbluffton.com.

Lisa Sulka is the mayor of the Town of Bluffton. lsulka@townofbluffton.com