Zoning

The Town's Unified Development Ordinance is the legal document establishing the division of the Town into districts that cover a wide spectrum of use densities and intensity. Bluffton currently has thirteen zoning districts, including both traditional and Form-Based Code Transect zones, which include standards and permitted uses within each district. 

In order to help you better utilize our Unified Development Ordinance, the Bluffton Explorer can help you find your current zoning district.

How do I use this Map?

  1. Type the address of interest into the search box at the top right and click the red magnifying glass.



  2. The map will zoom to your desired location.



  3. Click on the property to display more information about the parcel. This information includes Town: Bluffton/County to determine if you are inside the Town of Bluffton jurisdiction or unincorporated Beaufort County.



Zoning Permits

The Town of Bluffton intends to provide procedures and standards for the review of Tree Removal to consider the following objectives:

  • Protect the Town of Bluffton’s tree canopy, historic trees, and significant individual trees;
  • Protect woodlands as important natural resources that provide natural beauty, preserve animal habitat, protect the groundwater recharge areas and maintain plant and tree diversity, as well as protect threatened, endangered, and imperiled species;
  • Minimize disturbance and structural changes to the vegetative community;
  • Prevent damage from erosion, siltation, and disease; manage Stormwater runoff to limit loss of animal habitat and vegetative cover, all of which, in the aggregate result in the destruction of the woodland character; and
  • Provide economic support to local property values and preservation of historic character of the Town of Bluffton.

Tree Removal Permit

A Tree removal permit is required regardless of the health or condition of the tree(s) to remove any tree, 8 inches in diameter at breast height (“DBH”) or greater or any American holly, dogwood, redbud, southern magnolia, or red buckeye 4 inches in DBH or greater.

Exemptions to a tree removal permit include:

  • Tree removals identified in a valid Silviculture Permit;
  • Tree removals identified in a valid Final Development Plan or Subdivision Plan;
  • Removal of trees less than 14 incres in DBH on property used as a single-family detached residential;
  • Removal of dead or diseased trees if the tree was not included in a previously approved landscape plan and the UDO Administrator determines that the tree is clearly diseased or dead;
  • Removal of hazardous trees provided the property owner submits an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Basic Tree Risk Assessment Form to the UDO Administrator that has been prepared by an ISA Certified Tree Risk Assessor, ISA Certified Arborist, or ISA Board Certified Master Arborist. The assessment shall be independent and not prepared by the same company that would remove the hazardous tree.

The review of Sign Permit Applications shall consider the following objectives:

  • Encourage a high degree of design quality in the context of the overall image and visual environment of the town of Bluffton, as well as encourage designs that are in aesthetic harmony with their location on buildings and surrounding area;
  • Promote the public welfare and property values by preserving the city qualities of the natural environment in Bluffton vernacular architecture and reducing visual clutter;
  • Protect pedestrians, motorist and property by ensuring that signs do not create hazards due to distractions, collapse, fire, collision, or decay;
  • Promote the efficient transfer of general public and commercial information by improving the legibility and effectiveness of signs through the control of their number, location, size, appearance and Illumination; and
  • Stimulate the economic vitality of the Town of Bluffton and encourage a business atmosphere that continues to attract new enterprises to the Town of Bluffton

Please note that the review criteria differ between zoning districts and Planned Unit Development. Signs in the Historic Districts require a Site Feature Permit; all other signs require a Sign Permit.

Sign Permit Application

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