Two days after Tropical Storm Irma hit Beaufort County, the towns of Hilton Head and Bluffton have begun damage assessments.
The town of Hilton Head will be inspecting structural damage from Irma over the next couple of weeks, according to a Tuesday news release from the town.
Since Irma arrived in the Lowcountry as a tropical storm and not a hurricane, it caused less damage to the island than Hurricane Matthew, which hit in October last year. And therefore, unlike Matthew, the town will only assess parts of the island where damage is the worst.
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Inspectors will leave behind color-coded placards at the homes they’ve inspected:
▪ Green indicates the building is safe. There may be minor or superficial damage, such as repairing roof tiles or replacing a garage door. The building’s owner will not need to obtain a building permit before repairs.
▪ Yellow indicates “more than minor damage” to the building, according to the release. Only partial entry and occupancy is allowed until the repairs are made. The building’s owner “should contact the Emergency Permitting Office to obtain a building permit before going forward with repairs,” the release stated.
▪ Red indicates that a building is unsafe and seriously damaged, and that “entry could result in injury or death,” according to the release. The building’s owner will be required to obtain a permit from the Emergency Permitting Office before repairs or demolitions.
If residents believe they have damage to their buildings, but have not obtained a placard by Sept. 22, they should contact the town at 843-341-4757. In addition, the town has suspended normal building inspections through this Friday in order to make time for Irma damage assessment.
The town of Bluffton announced it will be assessing damage through this week, according to a Wednesday press release.
Occupants who find yellow or red notices posted on their buildings must obtain permits for repairs. They can do so by calling 843-706-4522.
If Bluffton residents or business owners do not find a yellow or red notice on their buildings, but believe they have more than minor damage, they should also contact the town with the number above. In addition, Bluffton residents who must remove trees that “do not present a current hazard” may be required to obtain a permit, the release stated.
Homeowners who finds structural damage should provide the town with photographs of the damage. The town will assess the damage on a case-by-case basis.
Residents are not required to have a permit to remove debris or to repair minor damage due to Irma.
Contractors from out of town must contact Bluffton’s business license office at 843-706-4526.