Planning and Zoning

The Town’s role in the process of development is largely executed through planning and zoning functions handled by the Planning Department, the Planning Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA). These groups collectively administer the Town’s Comprehensive Plan, Land Use Planning and Zoning Ordinance, and executed development agreements with the Kiawah Island Golf Resort and Kiawah Partners.

The technical services of the department include but are not limited to processing applications for zoning permits, subdivision of land, re-zonings, planned developments, variance requests, special exception requests, site plan review, zoning text amendments, Comprehensive Plan amendments, and appeals of administrative decisions. The planning department also coordinates long-range planning efforts through studies, analysis, and development plans and projects.
In addition to technical services, the department coordinates with police, fire, and emergency services departments to assure accuracy, consistency, and agreement of addresses, street names, and any newly annexed properties for use by the 9-1-1 emergency system.

Comprehensive Planning Button  Marsh Management Button  Active Development Projects (1) 

Development Agreements Button  Traffic and Transportation Button  Resiliency Button

Boards and Commissions Button  Zoning Maps Button  Copy of Comprehensive Planning

Access Online Services

The Town of Kiawah Island’s enhanced software provides online service abilities to accommodate better customer service requests, including permits, business licenses, inspections, contractor registrations, and planning and zoning applications.

  • Apply for Zoning Permits
  • Apply for Site Plan Review
  • Submit Board of Zoning Appeal Applications
  • Submit for Subdivision Review
  • Submit Comprehensive Plan Amendments
  • Submit Zoning Text and Zoning Map Amendments
  • Electronic plan reviews with status updates


Please contact Daniel Vincent, Planner I, at or 843-768-5112 to schedule a pre-application meeting prior to submitting development applications for Board of Zoning Appeals, Site Plan Review, Subdivision Request, or Comprehensive Plan or Zoning Amendments.

If you have any problems accessing or navigating the online portal, please contact Sharon Johnson at 843-768-9166 or

Have questions about an application process or procedure?

Check out the process flowcharts below:

Boards & Commissions

Meetings of the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Planning Commission are live-streamed (for viewing only) on the Town of Kiawah Island’s YouTube Channel

The Board of Zoning Appeals is composed of seven members appointed by the Mayor and Town Council. Appointments are for three-year terms.

The Planning Commission is composed of seven members appointed by the Mayor and Town Council. Appointments are for four-year terms.

Members of the community who are interested in volunteering on the Board of Zoning Appeals or the Planning Commission should click here to complete an application.


Planning Internships

The Kiawah Island Planning Department offers internship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, preferably studying City and Regional Planning, Environmental Studies, Urban Studies, or Public Administration. Interns will gain experience in planning and local government, environmental planning, while honing research and interpersonal skills. Interested candidates should click here for more information.

*New Landscape and Tree Preservation Standards

The Town Council has approved new Landscape and Tree Preservation Standards for all properties within the Town of Kiawah Island's municipal boundaries. These standards were created to consistently preserve and enhance Kiawah's natural environment and to protect significant trees and forests for present and future generations.

Background: This process began when the Planning Commission established a subcommittee to focus on formalizing tree preservation standards for the Town. This subcommittee set a priority to focus on tree preservation standards for the Phase I of the effort, with the intent to also develop landscape standards in the next phase of this proposed ordinance. The subcommittee considered existing tree preservation community concerns, the overall permitting process, staff resources, implementation of the ordinance, and the development process timeline, as a part of this review. Kiawah's Grow Native program was also an important factor considered, as promoting native species benefits Kiawah's wildlife. 

The approved Tree Preservation Standards does exempt single-family residential developments. 

Landscape and Tree Preservation Board: One important component of these standards include the establishment of the Town of Kiawah Island Landscape and Tree Preservation Board. If you have a design professional background and would be interested in volunteering for the board, read more below!

The open positions of the newly established Landscape and Tree Preservation Board, will include design professionals, as well as Kiawah Island residents and property owners. Design professionals may include architects, landscape architects, tree care professionals, builders or contractors who have credentials in their respective fields. These positions are appointed by Town Council and the term of office is three years. No member shall serve more than three consecutive terms of office unless there is a two-year break of service between terms. Strong candidates considered for this board should demonstrate understanding of the unique character of Kiawah Island and the concept of designing with nature, demonstrate knowledge of the diversity of issues concerning landscape and trees regarding the development process, demonstrate problem solving skills, and exhibit interpersonal skills.

Those interested in serving on this board should complete the application for appointment form and submit it to the Town Clerk, Petra Reynolds, at Submitted forms may be accompanied by a resume or CV.

Landscape Standards: Phase II, the development of landscape standards, has begun. For more information contact Patrea St. John at .  

Please see reference documents below:


Active Projects & Plans
The following are significant projects or plans under development or in the permitting process Projects listed do not represent approved development plans. For projects under the jurisdiction of the Town of Kiawah, interested parties may search the Town’s Online CitizenServe Portal review the current status of any permit, license, project or plan. 

Andell West

Andell West is a proposed commercial planned development adjacent to Freshfields Village in  Unincorporated Charleston County. The development will provide a full size grocery store for the Kiawah, Seabrook and Johns Island communities. In addition, the development will include opportunities for retail and services in-line with the grocery store and throughout. This request is a proposed rezoning of the subject parcel from the Low Density Residential (R-4) Zoning District to the Andell West Commercial Planned Development, PD-185.

Andell West Case Materials (ZREZ-06-23-00148)

Charleston County Council approved the third reading of this proposed rezoning on October 23, 2023. There are no current updates on a proposed timeline of permitting or construction. 

MUSC Medical Facility

The Medical University of South Carolina has announced plans for a sea island medical facility which would provide:
  • Access to life-saving medical care in a new free-standing Emergency Room, with trauma rooms, fast-track triage, CT scan and radiology services, full lab services, and helipad
  • State-of-the-art imaging and other technologies.
  • Convenient access to primary care and other outpatient services, as well as telehealth pods, onsite lab and diagnostic treatment, and physical and occupational therapy treatment rooms..
The proposed project with a target 2025 opening date, is adjacent to Freshfields Village near proposed Seafields Senior Living. MUHA has submitted for site plan review with the Town.

View Proposed Site Plan

View Update provided at the October 7, 2023 Town Council Meeting
Presentation starts at the 22:00 timestamp of the meeting linked above.

The West End at Beachwalker (Upper Beachwalker)

The West End at Beachwalker is a multifamily residential development proposed for northern parcels along Beachwalker Drive. This project is currently under the Town’s site plan review process. Below are documents submitted for review. No approvals have been granted.

The Town has hired a third-party engineer to review the submitted plans. 

Review Comments

Revised Plans
Landscape Plans
Support Documents 2
W&S Review Memo 01.05.24
Review Comments 03.08.24 
Revised Plans and Support Documents 03.18.24
Review Comments (06.03.2024)

Ocean Pines (Parcel 13 – Lot 1)

Ocean Pines is a multifamily residential development proposed for Lot 1 of Parcel 13 along Beachwalker Drive. This project is currently under the Town’s site plan review process. Below are documents submitted for review. Staff has issued review comments. No approvals have been granted. 

The Town has hired a third-party engineer to review the submitted plans. 

Night Heron Park Activities Building

Kiawah Island Golf Resort (KIGR) is proposing to build a new 7,200 sq. ft. activities building with a concrete-surfaced service yard, a refurbished parking area, and a new parking area adjacent to the existing parking area. Proposed uses included Nature Center - Community Services, Restaurant / Indoor seating, Arcade - Other Recreational Facilities, and Office.

View Proposed Site Plan

Cape Point Parking and Emergency Beach Access

The applicant intends to construct a new emergency beach access drive extending from Cape Point Road and 20 parking spaces, along with supporting infrastructure and one stormwater retention dry pond. This project will allow for the partial relocation of the existing Town emergency beach access easement that is located adjacent to the eroding Kiawah River bluff to a location that is inland along an improved access drive away from the eroding bluff. The parking spaces are intended for use by Kiawah Island Club members, guests and employees. The access driveway will also serve as a means of access for servicing The Cape beach club.

Letter of Intent
View Proposed Site Plan
Review Comments
Review Comments (06.03.2024)