Guest Blog: Ken Gort Talks Emergency Permitting on Hilton Head Island; Part II

Click Here to Read Part I

Here are a few examples of how I have helped over 100 of your island neighbors in securing their Emergency Permit and protecting their properties:

Fresh Market Shoppes on Wm. Hilton Parkway: The EP allows them to reconstruct 45 parking spaces currently located in the buffer that extends 50′ into the property from the R.O.W. per the latest Land Management Ordinance design standards. The potential loss of these spaces would have resulted in the retail shopping mall to have been approved to rebuild 5000-6000 fewer sf of rental space. The LMO determines the amount of allowable retail space based upon the number of parking spaces provided. Secondly, their primary property identification signage is nonconforming in both size and location. However it can be rebuild as it exists today due to the EP.

The Sokol Residence at 23 Driftwood Lane in North Forest Beach: Their home was built in the early 1800’s on an oceanfront lot. They currently have nonconforming buffer and setback issues on all 4 sides of the property. They also exceed the amount of allowable impervious surface area which includes roofs, drives, parking, decks and pool. The EP granted even allows them to rebuild a portion of the deck that extends beyond their property line into the South Carolina public beach strand.

The Hilton Head Boathouse Restaurant and Marina on Wild Horse Road: This property has significant nonconforming setback and buffer from the SC Coastal Council critical line along the wetlands. The property also has impervious surface, on site storm water detention and parking non conformities that would render the property impossible to be developed under the current LMO for its present mixed use.

In addition to securing Emergency Permits, Digital Docs also offers a service called “documenting what’s valuable”. We will visit your business and/or home to digitally photograph all your possessions. The fee for our standard package is $595. The services and product includes on site interior digital photography, all the photographs will be displayed in a presentation album with space available for the owner to identify and describe each item.

I can be contacted by email or by phone 843-384-6566 to answer your questions and provide a quotation of the fee to secure an Emergency Permit for your property.

Thank You,

Kenneth L. Gort, Architect, Owner of Digital Docs





Guest Blog: Ken Gort, Architect, Talks Emergency Permitting on Hilton Head Island; Part I

Click Here for Part II

Hopefully, a catastrophic weather event will never visit Hilton Head Island. Imagine not being allowed to rebuild your property as it previously existed? This is likely the case with your property as changes to the local codes and ordinances have established new and more restrictive design standards.

The Town of Hilton Head Island’s Land Management Ordinance (LMO) offers a pre-disaster recovery procedure called Emergency Permitting. This procedure allows the rebuilding of existing homes and businesses including all their non conforming features “to a state or condition that existed prior to the disaster without the necessity of a full review….under the Land Management Ordinance”. A non-conforming property feature may be its use, building size, setbacks, a deck, signage, buffers, parking, pool, etc. All new vertical construction must comply with current building codes and FEMA regulations.

Digital Docs Emergency Permitting services have been successfully performed by our licensed professionals with over 25 years of land planning, building design and construction experience on over 100 Hilton Head Island properties. We are very familiar with the LMO requirements and the town staff administering the procedure. We will efficiently and accurately assemble the required drawings and documentation to protect your property.

Features & Benefits of an Emergency Permit:

  • Right to rebuild all structures to pre disaster conditions
  • Grandfather all non conforming site and building features
  • Duplication of physical features necessary for business success
  • Transferable with the sale of the property
  • Property Value includes land plus rights to rebuild structures
  • Commence Design and Drawings immediately
  • Accurate record for an insurance claim and settlement
  • There is no cost if we are unsuccessful in securing an Emergency Permit. The procedure takes about 2 weeks.

Act now before a disaster to avoid several months of LMO approval delays, tens of thousands of dollars in fees and costs and the uncertainties involving the increasingly more restrictive Land Management Ordinance.

I can be contacted by email or by phone 843-384-6566 to answer your questions and provide a quotation of the fee to secure an Emergency Permit for your property.

Thank You,

Kenneth L. Gort, Architect, Owner of Digital Docs

Be sure to look out for Ken’s next guest blog where he shares the other service that he offers, and a few examples of some residential and commercial properties that have benefitted from the feature of an Emergency Permit.



Guest Blog: Align Your Philanthropy with Your Values and Passions By Todd Rhine

Todd Rhine is a 25 year veteran of the financial service industry, founding member of The GenUs Collaborative and Regional Director of The Heritage Institute.  He is a regular speaker among financial, estate and generation planning professionals and carries an impressive resume of degrees and designations. You can view more information on his website 

It will probably come as no surprise to learn that the amount of discretionary / disposable cash available to individuals and families has been declining steadily for some time.  Among the many effects of this trend-line is a decline in how, when–and even if– we engage in philanthropy at the level we would like to.  This shrinking participation in charitable giving plays out as a decrease in total overall giving, a decrease in the number of organizations that individuals are able to support, or a combination of both.  In my own business I’m seeing more people who once supported as many as 6 to 8 non-profits when times were good who now are giving a reduced amount to just 1 or 2 organizations.

We certainly haven’t run out of valid reasons to give. Tax strategies, the call of our faith, a tradition of family philanthropy, or simply a way to make a difference in our community are all powerful motivators for giving.  Another factor boils down to a simple question: does my philanthropy represent my real passions, and what matters most to me?  Am I truly motivated by my donations or am I ‘just going through the motions?’  According to many not for profit organizations, more donors than ever are just going through the motions. Non-profit officers report fewer donors who have a strong personal passion or motivation for the giving they are doing. This trend is also evident in declining participation and support for traditional charitable events like golf outings, charitable dinners, silent auctions and other fundraisers.

Given these trends, it is more important than ever to focus on methods by which we can we align the personal philanthropic desires of donors with their ability to give.  Even in the most turbulent economic times, people want to do all they can to support the causes and organizations that they are passionate about.

National experts are weighing in on the issue. Jack Beatty, founder of CORE Group USA, and a recognized authority on communication, mindset and decision-making, has recently published a research summary on Alignment Theory that highlights the critical need to attach passion to purpose when it comes to helping cash-strapped donors to continue the charitable giving that matters most to them.

Rod Zeeb, co-founder and CEO of The Heritage Institute, has pinpointed additional reasons for creating alignment between donor passion and purpose in philanthropy in his white paper on how to create multi-generational transformational philanthropy. (Transformational philanthropy is philanthropy that impacts the giver as much as the recipient of the gift.) And in his book, The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising, Larry Johnson cites alignment as the key component that motivates donors and delivers the true satisfaction they seek to achieve through their giving.

The experts share this conclusion in common:  organizations looking for long-term, sustainable support must help to foster passionate connections between what truly matters to the donor and the organization that receives their support.

To identify and align passion with purpose requires a process of relationship building far different than the traditional donor-organization relationship.  In part, it’s about helping the donor to discover, identify and articulate what is most important in his or her life. (Leaving the money OFF the table!)  This process identifies the values that are most important to the donor, and in doing so, points to pathways available that can help them to weld their passions to their charitable desires.

Is such a process easy? Consider this: in your own personal experience, do your philanthropic activities truly align with what matters most to you, including being a reflection of your values and life lessons?  Can you easily identify and write down eight core values that you hold dear?  If you answered no, then you are in the majority.  Understanding your values takes some effort to clarify, and more importantly, to translate into action moving forward.

This discovery and articulation process requires a blend of science and art. Some advisors and non-profit organizations enlist the assistance of professionals trained in this kind of process. Self-discovery processes are also available, like the one that is used by the main character in the novel, What Matters.   Eighty-two year old Martin Forrestal is dying, but he has one last gift he wishes to share with his family. He takes a pad of paper and writes “What Matters” across the top of the page.  Then he writes down every value that has been important in his life.  Such a list will be unique to each person. It could be faith, work, honor, family, responsibility, loyalty, etc.  When Martin completed his list, he recorded a personal story describing how each value was modeled for him by others, how it played out in his life, and why he wanted his children and grandchildren to understand it.  Those of us who have done this exercise ourselves should add this disclaimer:  it can be a highly enjoyable and meaningful exercise, but don’t expect it to be finished with your first cup of coffee! (That fact, plus the issue of, “OK, I’ve got my list and my stories, now what?,” explains why some people enlist the help of a qualified Heritage professional to translate the list and the stories into a multi-generational family experience.)

The bottom line is that once an individual has gained clarity and has articulated what matters most to them (for their reasons), their philanthropic activities and their relationship to the organizations they wish to support, take on a whole new level of involvement and impact. That involvement tends to be multi-generational, too, as the donor’s family participates in family meetings and other activities that (in the spirit of transformational philanthropy) help to strengthen the family itself.

It is said that a donor gives because of what it does for the charity, while a philanthropist gives because of what it does for them.  The benefit of aligning one’s donations with one’s values is that any person, no matter the size of the gifts they can give, can experience the same level of personal satisfaction and family involvement that the multi-million dollar philanthropist experiences. In aligning passion with purpose, the scope, longevity and multi-generational opportunities and rewards for individuals, families and the causes and organizations that matter most to them can come into perfect alignment.