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 klgort@aol.com 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

 

 

 

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Beacon Insurance Group Expands Coastal Homeowner’s Insurance Offerings

The coastal insurance marketplace for consumers just improved in South Carolina.  Beacon Insurance Group recently finalized contracting with three additional carriers who will be offering choices for South Carolina homeowners insurance.

The new homeowners insurance companies are all rated A or better by either A.M. Best or Demotech rating agencies.  The insurance and financial marketplace, along with decreasing reinsurance costs have allowed companies to expand into coastal homeowners insurance writings in South Carolina areas such as Hilton Head Island, Charleston, and Myrtle Beach.  This most recent influx in companies and capacity should put pressure for more competitive rates.  Homeowners will still find that newer, better constructed homes and higher credit scores will obtain them the best possible rates.

Not every coastal homeowners insurance carrier targets the same types of homes or distance from coastal waters. A thorough review of each homeowner’s situation needs to performed and evaluated. When choosing a carrier, a homeowner should consider the claim paying ability of the insurance carrier. Not all insurance carriers have the manpower or capacity to offer swift claims responses in a catastrophic situation.  During testimony before a Senate hearing on Superstorm Sandy, it was claimed the lack of available catastrophic adjusters was an issue in delaying the payment of claims.

Most of the newer companies just began writing business in August 2014.  “We have been comparing rates on the new companies with existing companies we represent and we are quite pleased with the competitive options they provide our clients and prospects”, stated Ken Groff, partner at Beacon Insurance Group.

About Beacon Insurance Group:

Beacon Insurance Group is an independent insurance broker located in Bluffton, South Carolina. Beacon is a compilation of experienced insurance professionals who develop innovative solutions for South Carolina Insurance and risk management needs. The South Carolina agency utilizes both innovative and alternative risk methods in strategic planning for their clients. Beacon Insurance Group works hard to understand needs and problems which assist them in providing solutions that are designed specifically for their clients. Beacon’s forward looking approach helps protect their clients from seen and unseen risk factors.

Beacon Insurance Group – the right people can make a difference in your insurance program.

 

Beacon Insurance Group Expands Coastal Homeowner’s Insurance Offerings

Top 10 Events to Attend in May

May is definitely one of the most beautiful months in the Lowcountry. The temperature is rising and people are coming out to enjoy the beautiful weather. If you are looking for things to do here in Bluffton, Hilton Head or even Beaufort, look no further! We’ve got our Top 10 Events to Attend in May right here:

1. Friday, May 2 & Saturday, May 3: The 15th Annual Taste of Beaufort

The 15th Annual Taste of Beaufort will be held at the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in Beaufort, SC. Join in for Music, Arts, and Seafood Festival. Arts and Crafts as well as Fresh Markets which open at Noon on Friday followed by the festival at 6pm. There will be live music performed by the Carolina Soul Band. Local restaurants will also be selling seafood as well as many other types of cuisines. Beer, wine and soft drinks will also be available and the festival ends at 10pm. On Saturday, the 5K Bridge Run/Walk will start the day at 8am followed by the Kid’s Fun Run ages 7 and under beginning at 8:45am. The festival will begin at 11am with entertainment, food and drinks. Don’t miss this fun event!

2. Saturday, May 3: 2nd Annual Hilton Head Island Community Beach Bike Ride

Did you know that May is National Bike Month? Come to Coligny Beach Park at 10am and ride the beaches for a 6 mile round trip. For more information, please contact Marcy at marcyb@hiltonheadislandsc.gov or visit http://www.hiltonheadisland.org/event-calendar/details/_2nd-annual-hilton-head-island-community-beach-bike-ride/

3. Sunday, May 4: The Hilton Head Humane Association Annual Dog Walk on the Beach

The 17th Annual Dog Walk on the Beach starts at 8:30am and will be held at Coligny Beach. Join other canine lovers along with your favorite canine companion. There will be live entertainment, food, dancing, giveaways, and the event will have DJ Alan Palchak as MC and entertainer. For more information, please call 843-681-8686 or visit www.hhhumane.org.

4. Sunday, May 4: 10th Annual Yacht Hop

This fundraiser benefits patient care programs at Hospice Care of the Lowcountry and will be held at the Harbour Town Yacht Basin in Hilton Head Island, SC. There will be live entertainment by the Headliners as well as silent and live auctions. Step aboard several beautiful yachts and enjoy delicious hor d’oeuvres prepared by the areas local chef’s. The day will close with dessert and a champagne toast. For more information and to buy your tickets, please call 843-706-2296 or visit hospicecarelc.org.

5. Saturday, May 10: The 36th Annual Bluffton Village Festival “Mayfest”

This event will take place in downtown Bluffton from 10am-5pm. Coordinated by the Rotary Club of Bluffton, the festival will be all things southern and is know for it unique art and crafts, music, and southern cuisine. Don’t miss the 26th annual Ugly Dog Contest or the second annyual Pie Eating contest that takes place during the day. Get out of the house and meet your Bluffton neighbors, this event is surely a hometown favorite! http://www.blufftonvillagefestival.com

6. Friday, May 16: Beach Bum Parade

Starting at 6:30pm, parade floats will have tons of different water-throwing devices. Spectators will line up along Butler Avenue on Tybee Island also with water guns, buckets of water and more. It’s a water-filled battle! Don’t miss it! For more information, visit http://visittybee.com/events/?event_id=59.

7. Monday, May 19: USCB Golf Tournament Fundraiser

The May River Golf Club at palmetto Bluff is holding USCB’s annual Golf Tournament starting at 10:30. Come support USCB while enjoying a fun day of golfing, eating, and drinking. For more information and admission details please visit http://www.uscbathletics.com/splash.aspx?id=splash_8.

8. Friday, May 16: Bluffton Sunset Party Pizzapalooza

Come to the Bluffton Oyster Factory Park from 5pm-9pm with your favorite furry friend! This is a kid and pet friendly Sunset Party with live music, craft beer, and food and activities for all. The events benefits Palmetto Animal League, a No Kill Animal Rescue and Adoption organization. For more information, please visit http://www.bearfootsports.com/blufftonsunset.htm.

9. Saturday, May 24-Sunday, May 25: 6th Annual Hilton Head Island Art Festival

For all you art lovers, join over 150 local and national artists at the Shelter Cove Harbour Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5pm. There will be works or art including mixed media, paintings, glass, jewelry and pottery. All ages are welcome. For more information, please visit www.ArtFestival.com.

10, Saturday, May 31: BBQ & Bluegrass

The Heyward House Historic Center in Bluffton hosts BBQ and Bluegrass from 3pm-6pm. The Lowcountry Boil Band will also be performing! For more information, please visit http://heywardhouse.org/events/.

Top Ten Things to do in January

Now that the weather has officially cooled down (most days), what is there to do in the Lowcountry area? I’ve found some great events to attend, and things to do on your own time while that bikini stays away for just a few more months!

Wanting to attend something already scheduled? Here is a list of fun events to attend during the month of January.

1. Tuesday, January 7th- Exploring Pinckney Island

Whether you go on your own time or decide to take a scheduled tour, Pinckney Island is a beautiful place to visit and appreciate. To learn more about the island, attend this tour by starting off with a  brief historical and natural history overview. That will be followed by a walking tour which includes the salt marsh as well as maritime forest. You may come across alligators, birds, perhaps some deer and much more. The tour is from 9:00-AM-11:00AM and is run by the coastal discovery museum. Be sure to make a reservation at 843-689-6767 or online at www.coastaldiscovery.org.

2. Saturday, January 18- 3rd Annual Resolution Run/Walk 5k

What better way to start the New Year than to stay active? This race begins at 10AM and is located on the beautiful Dataw Island. This walk/run benefits the LowCountry Habitat for Humanity. The registration fee is $25. To register, visit www.lowcountryhabitat.org or call (843) 522-3500.

3. Saturday, January 25- 1st Annual Chowder Challenge and Silent Auction

Who doesn’t love a good chowder this time of the year? Stop by Reiley’s Plaza on Greenwood drive to taste some delicious chowders from 10 locally owned and operated restaurants on Hilton Head Island. There will be live music, a silent Auction and a Kids Zone. Bring the whole family to this fun event from 12:00PM to 4:00PM!

4. Saturday, January 25th- Bluffton Rotary Annual Oyster Roast

After you have attended the Chowder Challenge, make the short drive to Bluffton for some oysters! The event will take place at Bluffton Oyster Factory from 5:00PM-8:00PM. Help support Bluffton Rotary’s efforts in the community as well as around the world. Live music will be performed by Lowcountry Boil and admission is $25 for advance tickets and $30 the day of the event.

5. Saturday, January 25-February 1-Chamber Restaurant Week

Don’t miss this awesome deal! A selection of local restaurants will be offering a special menu for a special price during this time. The options are endless! Visit here http://www.hiltonheadisland.org/restaurantweek/ for a full list of restaurants and menus. Check daily because new places might be added!

6. Any Saturday! – Palmetto Running Company’s free Running Club

Every Saturday at 8:00AM, Palmetto Running Company welcomes runners and walkers of all abilities for long group walks and runs in Beaufort and Bluffton. They meet at their stores in both locations. What a great way to get outdoors and get in shape!

 

While there are plenty of planned events to attend, if you don’t want to be on a time schedule, here are some fun things to do on your own time.

7. Visit Hunting Island

What a neat place! Visit the many trails whether you like to bike, ride horses, hike, or just enjoy nature. If you like to fish, rent a boat, fish on the pier, and enjoy freshwater as well as saltwater fish. You can also do some boating. Bring your own boat, rent a pedal boat, canoe, or kayak. There is also a lot of history on Hunting Island. Attend a guided tour if you want to learn a little more, or just wonder around on your own. Learn about Native Americans, the Revolutionary War, and Civil War. You can also visit the Museum, zoo, farm, and nature center. Hunting Island also welcome campers if you’re wanting to stay a little longer than a day! Visit their website to learn more here.

8. Take your Dogs to the Beach

There are plenty of beaches to let your best furry friend run free until Memorial Day. Meet other dog lovers and have fun! I can’t think of a better place to take a man’s best friend.

9. Head to Savannah

Do some shopping, people watch, and just enjoy the day. There are plenty of restaurants and shops to stay busy for hours! Stroll along River Street and browse antique shops, stop in at a pub, or watch the ships sail by. You can also head to the Historic District and peruse the cobblestone streets, enjoy the outdoor cafes and gourmet restaurants, view museums, mansions, monuments, forts and churches. So much to do in just one day!

10. Head to Beaufort

There is plenty to see in the beautiful town of Beaufort. Head to the waterfront and enjoy the scenery, visit the “Big Chill” house, walk to the point and look at the old homes, head to a drive in movie, or do some shopping. It’s a great place to go to get away.

Hoping these events and ways to spend your January provide some fun for you, your friends and family! Happy January everyone!

-Morgan

It’s Oyster Season! Here are some tips about Oyster Safety!

Steam them, roast them, cook them, fry them or eat them raw; this time of the year you can’t go wrong when eating these scrumptious delicacies.

The lowcountry is the perfect place to enjoy some of the best local oysters around! Oysters enjoyed around the Bluffton/Hilton head area come from the May River and can either be purchased, or if you are feeling adventurous, hand-picked by you! Be careful though, oyster beds are very sharp and dangerous and must not be walked on. It is also very important to know where oyster beds are located when boating, they could do a lot of damage!

Here are some tips about being safe when purchasing, storing, and shucking oysters!

• Make sure they are fresh. If an oyster is open, don’t buy it!
• Keep them cold but do NOT immerse live oysters into water! Layer them with ice in a cooler OR store them in the refrigerator at 40 degrees
• To shuck an oyster, hold it tightly with one hand and hold an oyster knife in the other. Slip the top of the knife between the shells near the hinge of the oyster, moving your way up in a twisting motion. Be careful though, it’s easy to slip so be extra cautious!

Many people like to eat them just the way they are, but if you want some extra flavor, add some hot sauce, or my favorite combo, horseradish and cocktail sauce! Many people also make a mini oyster sandwich with some Saltine crackers. Whatever your preference may be, you can’t go wrong!

Get out there and get some oysters before the season is over and it’s too late! You won’t be disappointed! Shuck on!

-Morgan