Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka recently announced the signing of a public-private partnership agreement between the town of Bluffton, the Bluffton Public Development Corporation and Southeastern Development Associates (formerly known as Blanchard & Calhoun Commercial) that will further develop Buckwalter Place Commerce Park.

The new Bluffton Gateway shopping center, scheduled to open at the intersection of U.S. 278 and S.C. 46 in early 2017, will be anchored by a Walmart Supercenter and a Sam’s Club. The two anchor tenants were recently released by Atlanta-based developer Jaz Development. The 66-acre site was home to a former printing plant that closed in the 1980s.

THE UNIQUE COMMUNITY SPIRIT ALONG BLUFFTON’S BEACH MAKES A TRIP TO THE BLUFFTON CHRISTMAS PARADE SOMETHING TRULY UNIQUE.

One of the many beautiful things about Bluffton is its people. And in a town known for its eclectic characters and Southern charm, none are more notoriously quirky than those living just outside town limits in Alljoy.

Alljoy is home to several descendants of the original families who moved to the area a long time ago to enjoy the bounty and beauty of the majestic May River. Harry and Antoinette All built the All Joy Hotel in 1926 and the area name came from it being Mrs. All’s pride and joy, her All Joy.

It’s been a long time coming, but the Calhoun Street Promenade is finally nearing completion.

Jerry Glenn, former owner of Cinnamon Bear Country Store and Legends Sports Gallery, is moving off Hilton Head Island and is set to open an eclectic country store named Reminisce in February.

blufftontowncBluffton Town Council will welcome two newcomers to Town Hall, as Dan Wood and Harry Lutz won seats in the Nov. 17 three-way candidate runoff.

Lutz overcame a 173-vote deficit from the Nov. 3 general election to oust incumbent Ted Huffman.

Wood, the leading vote getter from the first vote, led the way again with 723 votes (39.5 percent). Lutz garnered 623 votes (34.1) and Huffman won just 483 votes (26.4).

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley thought she coming to the Lowcountry for a Republican fundraiser on Nov. 12. That’s before U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio mentioned her as a potential vice presidential running mate at a Hilton Head campaign stop earlier in the day.

But Haley downplayed the latest flurry of rumors that have been circulating since the summer. She told the Beaufort County Republican Party that she is not considering such a move at this time.

cottages

Bluffton real estate investor Eugene Marks recently proposed developing six residential cottages and six mixed-use buildings on a three-acre lot he owns in the Stock Farm development in Old Town Bluffton. The cottages would be similar to the buildings located throughout Old Town, with metal roofs and wooden porches, and would range in size from 900 to 2,800 square feet.

The town of Bluffton is considering changes to development rules that would result in bringing the rapidly growing town more affordable housing. A draft of changes to the Unifie Development Ordinance was recently released. The change would encourage developers to build more affordable houses in a responsible way. In exchange for building new housing developments with the same materials used in “market-rate” units, builders would be allowed to place homes on smaller lots than currently allowed of “market-rate” homes. Changes to the UDO will be discussed further by Town Council during a workshop in January.

nonsmokingIn 2007, Beaufort County forced smokers to take it outside. Now, the town of Bluffton is just one step away from passing a smoking ban near the playground equipment at Dubois Park. Town Council gave preliminary approval for the ban in October. The code change is pending a final vote this month. If passed, smoking will be banned within a 50-foot radius of the playground equipment designed for children. Smoking bans on other current and future Bluffton parks will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

As one of the nation's fastest-growing towns, Bluffton is facing many challenges, from traffic congestion and a developing infrastructure to industry diversification and meeting the needs of a young community. How the town will address these challenges is up to the winners of the upcoming mayoral and Town Council races.