Series of public workshops on Beaufort Civic Master Plan wraps up

emoody@beaufortgazette.comMay 1, 2013 

City of Beaufort officials met with residents Wednesday to discuss the proposed Civic Master Plan.

STAFF PHOTO

After a two-month series of meetings to gather input from residents about Beaufort's proposed Civic Master Plan, some remained concerned with parts of the long-term vision for the city.

"There is nothing that is going to come out of this master plan that is going to lure our children -- the next generation that will take care of us -- into staying here," Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen said during a work session Wednesday night.

Other audience members, like new resident Dennis Harvey, said he appreciated the care and effort that went into the plan.

Wednesday's was the final meeting in a series of public workshops to discuss the plan, and while previous gatherings have addressed specific areas of the community, the final meeting encompassed all areas of the city.

The presentation and audience touched on more than a dozen significant planning issues that have been discussed during the last year or two.

That ranged from how areas around the Spanish Moss Trail and Boundary Street will be developed, to how to grow the University of South Carolina and student housing, to how many lanes Ribaut Road should have, to the extension of the Beaufort County Airport on Lady's Island and public transportation.

Beaufort Memorial Hospital president Rick Toomey questioned how much the conceptual designs in the plans will regulate how the hospital grows in the future. Redevelopment Commission Chairman Jon Verity said city officials will work with the hospital on the plans.

Karen Koenig, whose house is in the path of a parallel road the city intends to build as part of the Boundary Street redevelopment project, questioned whether the plans will build a better Beaufort.

"It just doesn't fit with Beaufort," she said. "It needs to stay the same, nice, little place it has been all these years."

Verity said that some changes are already decided, including that housing will not be built on city-owned property on Southside Park, and that Old Jericho Road is being considered for a lower-impact, multi-use path instead of a more significant thoroughfare.

A list of changes that will either go into the plan or be considered for inclusion is available on the city website: www.cityofbeaufort.org.

Resident Kathy Lindsay, who has repeatedly asked for changes to the plan, asked Craig Lewis of the Office of Civic Investment for clarification of when those changes will be complete.

"We want to know if we have to keep fighting the same battle over and over," she said. "We want to know it's dead."

The changes discussed during the series of meetings will be incorporated into the plan and another meeting held in June for additional feedback before a final draft is created.

City Council must aprove the plan before it could take effect.

"This is not over," Verity told the audience. "This is not your last chance (for feedback) at all."

Related content

  1. Residents of outlying areas express concerns about Beaufort's master plan, April 22, 2013
  2. Beaufort residents push back on Master Civic Plan, April 11, 2013
  3. Beaufort residents worried plan puts houses near Southside Park, April 8, 2013
  4. Beaufort couple fights to keep home endangered by city project, May 1, 2012

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