December 27, 2017 was an auspicious day for the town of Hilton Head Island and the very satisfying culmination of three years of intensive effort on the part of many officials, staff members and volunteer residents.
On that day, Audubon International certified the Town of Hilton Head Island as the First Public Audubon Sustainable Community in South Carolina. This award demonstrated the outstanding achievements and dedication to planning for a sustainable future.
What is the Audubon Sustainable Communities Program?
The Sustainable Communities Program (SCP) is an international, science-based, third-party certification program that guides communities through a customized journey to become healthy and vibrant places in which to live, work, and play. That vision is founded in the three pillars of sustainability:
- a healthy local environment
- quality of life for citizens
- economic vitality
In 2010 The Town of Hilton Head Island began participating in the Audubon International Sustainable Communities Program.
Phase One, The Green Community Component, encompasses four action steps, which include:
- forming a steering committee
- completing a community baseline survey & site assessment
- conducting a treasuring home survey & pledge
- completing a demonstration project
Making It Happen
In order to assure that all elements of the community necessary to make the journey successfully to the designation of Sustainable Community, the town recruited representatives from the leaders in each of the town’s critical functional areas.
The first visible deliverable called for an Audubon International educational demonstration site and Jarvis Creek Park was designated the demonstration site. Informative signs were installed in August of 2011, describing how the elements of the park work to process storm water runoff and provide water habitat. Upon completion of this demonstration site, the Town of Hilton Head Island received the Green Community designation.
The town then moved onto the Planning of the Sustainable Communities Program.to include creating a sustainable policy statement; completing a sustainability portfolio table, conducting a variety of community meetings to establish community support and solicit community input; and finally, creating a long-term sustainability plan.
In August 2012, work on the planning process began. A sustainable policy statement was created and approved by Town Council in October 2012, followed by completion of the Sustainable Portfolio Table, which addressed community resources and identified priority areas to address in the 15 focus areas of the program. Community meetings were held in January and February of 2013 to comply with the program requirement of conducting community meetings to establish support and solicit input.
The final action step in Planning was to create a long-term sustainability plan after community input was received.
The Hilton Head Island Green Blueprint was presented at Town of Hilton Head Island Planning Commission and Public Planning Committee meetings in the spring of 2015 and received approval by resolution at the April 21, 2015 Town of Hilton Head Island Town Council meeting
It was time to begin implementation.
To become certified, Sustainable Communities Program members must develop and implement management practices that address focus areas including:
- pollution prevention
- improving air quality
- increasing access to local foods and transportation options.
A First in South Carolina
As noted in my opening, on December 27, 2017 Audubon International certified the Town of Hilton Head Island as the First Public Audubon Sustainable Community in South Carolina.
Hilton Head Island had a bit of a head start towards defining and maintaining progress in the defined management practices. In the words of Sally Krebs, Sustainable Practices Coordinator, "Development on our Island was born in a climate of sustainability, and the Town of Hilton Head Island strives to continue our partnership with nature via public education, public-private partnerships, the use of green building techniques and a deep respect for our natural environment and the many natural services it provides our residents and visitors."
Ms. Krebs summed up our “Paradise Island’s” secret to success, from the beginning we have managed our development to maintain Hilton Head Island as the destination for the short or long-term place to be for an all-round quality of life.
Interested in learning more about living on Hilton Head Island? Please contact Bill True online or call 1-843-384-9088 for all the latest information on the local real estate market.