As Hilton Head Island officials and the community continue to try to figure out the town's role in redevelopment, we offer this advice: The town should avoid specific solutions for unknown business situations.
Every deal will be different. What is needed to spur development in one part of the island may be irrelevant elsewhere. What a developer wants or needs from the town may differ from one project to the next.
A newly formed committee has been given 90 days to come up with the parameters for forming an economic development group and redevelopment opportunities. That's a relatively broad mandate, but that's as it should be. Too much specificity will limit the town's ability to respond to changing circumstances and changing markets. Complaints have revolved around the town's perceived inflexibility.
It would be better for the town to firm up broad policies that can attract new businesses to the island and encourage redevelopment -- or at least not stop it.
Are there tax issues -- within the town's control -- to be addressed? Are there public projects that would spur businesses to invest? Are there specific areas of the island -- "investment zones" -- that should be targeted.
The town has addressed complaints about cumbersome redevelopment rules and a staff more inclined to say "no" than to work through problems.
When frustration over the redevelopment issue came to the fore in October, we said Town Council was going to have to define the role town government will play. The important thing will be to come up with a game plan that has the ability to adjust to a changing economy while maintaining the standards that set Hilton Head apart.
Perhaps this new committee can give the council the guidance and clarity it needs to make some decisions. But if anyone is looking for a single answer to Hilton Head's redevelopment quandary, it will be in vain. Too many factors are out of the town's control.