Residents of outlying areas express concerns about Beaufort's master plan

emoody@beaufortgazette.comApril 22, 2013 

Beaufort residents in outlying areas of the city learned Monday how their communities could grow in the next 100 years.

Some residents were concerned about environmental effects and that private landowners have a greater say in the plan.

The work session Monday on the draft civic master plan the city is working on focused on Sectors 4 and 5, which comprises Boundary Street, Burton and Lady's Island. A final citywide presentation is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. May 1 in council chambers at City Hall at 1911 Boundary St.

Karen Vanduser questioned the environmental effect of continuing the concrete Spanish Moss Trail through outlying areas. She said she lived in Maryland and saw rivers damaged by pollutants from runoff and does not want to see that in the Lowcountry.

Dr. John Gray, who owns hundreds of acres in the Burton area, asked about preservation of green space. His wife, Molly, asked that drawings of additional roads connecting Old Jericho be removed from the plans. The Historic Beaufort Foundation has fought for the route -- once an oyster-shell path that connected Beaufort to Parris Island -- to be considered an endangered historic place.

Merritt Patterson asked how many private plans by landowners have been incorporated into the civic master plan, as many of the large owners have their own development ideas.

Developer Dick Stewart said it's important growth is controlled so S.C. 170 and Lady's Island don't become like U.S. 278 and Hilton Head Island.

City Redevelopment Commission Chairman Jon Verity cautioned the audience of about two dozen that the renderings in the plan are only concepts.

Craig Lewis with the city's Office of Civic Investment said that most of the areas highlighted for development are ones that developers have asked about, and these plans help give the city direction.

City officials said the meetings are designed to collect feedback from residents to be considered when working on a final draft of the plan. Comments, edits to the plan and suggestions are available for viewing on the city's website: www.cityofbeaufort.org.

The civic master plan requires a vote of City Council before it could take effect.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

Related content:

Beaufort residents push back on Master Civic Plan, April 11, 2013

Beaufort residents worried plan puts houses near Southside Park, April 8, 2013

City ready to reveal proposed Beaufort master code to public, March 20, 2013

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