City ready to reveal proposed Beaufort master code to public

emoody@beaufortgazette.comMarch 20, 2013 

  • MEETINGS ON MASTER CODE PLANNED

    Public meetings on Beaufort's Civic Master Code have been scheduled. All meetings will be in council chambers, City Hall, 1911 Boundary St., unless otherwise noted.

    • Planning Commission, in the planning conference room: 5:30 p.m. April 3
    • Workshop, Sector 2 (West of Ribaut Road and between Boundary Street and Beaufort Memorial Hospital): 5:30 p.m. April 10
    • Workshop, Sector 3 (South of Allison Road): 5:30 p.m. April 11
    • Workshop, Sector 4 and 5 (Boundary Street, Burton and Lady's Island): 5:30 p.m. April 22
    • Workshop, citywide: 5:30 p.m. May 1

The draft Beaufort Civic Master Code, which outlines a vision for the city's growth, will be presented to the public during a series of meetings through May.

The draft, also known as "Beaufort City Building," is available on the city's website, www.cityofbeaufort.org. Additional information about the planning process and public involvement will be posted in the coming weeks.

Redevelopment Commission Chairman Jon Verity introduced the master code to neighborhood representatives this morning.

"The idea would be for, over time, to give all of you a chance to see what we're doing and let us know what you think," he said.

In a presentation broken down by neighborhoods and sectors -- such as Beaufort Memorial Hospital, the Technical College of the Lowcountry and University of South Carolina at Beaufort -- he detailed the vision in the proposed code.

"This is not a plan that the landowners have said, 'Gee, this is exactly what we want,' " Verity said. "This is just a plan of what could go there."

The master code process began in 2009 and builds on previous planning initiatives. It parallels a form-based code review also under way that would shift the city from traditional zoning to codes based more on appearance than building use.

Workshops and meetings have been held to plan out the downtown and surrounding areas, and the process is wrapping up with the outlying areas along Boundary Street, in Burton and on Lady's Island.

While the master code envisions where specific development would go in the city, the form-based code would dictate how that development could be built.

"(The master code) should be guiding the zoning map, not the other way around," said Craig Lewis of architecture and engineering firm The Lawrence Group, which contracts with the city.

An advisory committee is meeting every two weeks to go through the draft form-based code. After months of struggling, the committee chose David Tedder and Terry Hussey as its new leaders on March 6.

Further, in response to requests from committee members and residents, a draft of the form-based code and a map, which will be updated periodically, have been added to the city's website at cityofbeaufort.org/the-beaufort-code.aspx.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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